The 2021 season was a tough one for Jake DeBrusk. He’ll tell you that, and so too will Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
DeBrusk, who lives alone, struggled with all the isolation last season. That was coupled with a down season production-wise, which saw him getting moved all around the lineup, including, at times, out of the game-night group of 12 forwards.
But he’s back on his natural left side, playing on the third line, and with new linemates in Nick Foligno and Erik Haula, two established veterans.
“He seems a little more engaged with the group, both on and off the ice, in the gym, in the meal room, everything,” Cassidy said following Saturday’s morning skate. “He sure seems (to be in a better place) to me, and hopefully that translates onto the ice. If you’re feeling good about yourself, you’re probably acting that way in whatever you’re doing.”
It cannot be overstated how much of an X-factor DeBrusk is for the Bruins. In his first NHL seasons, he hit the 40-plus-point threshold. If he can return to that form this season, that will be a huge asset for the Bruins on the third line, especially with all the offensive firepower there is in the top six.
DeBrusk’s first opportunity will come Saturday night at TD Garden, as the Bruins will host the Dallas Stars. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET.