BOSTON — Jake DeBrusk is happy to remain with the Bruins.
The forward requested a trade out of Boston last November but the Bruins never were able to find a suitor for DeBrusk. They signed him to a two-year extension ahead of the NHL trade deadline and he became an important part of the team down the stretch.
DeBrusk found success on the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron and really found his game during the second half of the season. With his success, many wondered if he’d end up changing his mind regarding his trade request.
The 25-year-old said he was unsure what the future held once the Bruins were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but less than two months later, it didn’t take long for reports to come out that DeBrusk indeed rescinded his request.
“I think at the end of the year I said I would talk to my family and kind of think things over. I think the biggest thing, honestly, was the support I got from the guys in this room last year,” DeBrusk said after Tuesday’s captain’s practice. “I think that was one thing where it felt like a lot of stuff was kind of coming my way, for obvious reasons, and the guys in this room really kind of kept it tight and kept it as one.
“That’s something I’ve always loved about this team. I’ve always loved the boys, and also the city and everything else. This is what I know. This is what I’m comfortable with. It wasn’t honestly that hard of a decision to make. And saying that, obviously building off last season. It was one of those things, I talked about it for a little bit and I was leaning that way, and then that’s when it happened I guess.”
Prior to last season, Cassidy revealed he and DeBrusk had a good chat with one another about what they needed from each other and seemed to be on the same page. Cassidy never was afraid to call out his players and healthy scratch them when he felt he wasn’t getting the performances his players were capable of. But it was to wonder whether Cassidy leaving the Bruins organization had anything to do with DeBrusk wanting to stay.
“It’s been speculated enough, I think,” DeBrusk said. “I think you guys know I see stuff. Obviously that’s an easy answer, but it’s one of those things we could talk and talk about. I respect you guys, obviously your job is to ask those questions. Obviously, it’s one of those things where it’s kind of interesting, you have a lot of hot topics or different things about the situation, even when I asked for a trade.
“But I am just looking forward to this year. I think I said that near the end of the year. It was against Montreal that I was looking forward to not having to answer those questions anymore. It’s one of those things that’s in the past, and this whole summer has been focused on getting right and getting ready for this season. That’s kind of how I view that question.”
Well, DeBrusk didn’t exactly say no, but he didn’t say yes, either.
It will be an interesting start to the season for the Bruins, who will be down Marchand, Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy in the early goings. DeBrusk figures to slot back on the top line with Bergeron and newcomer Pavel Zacha.
DeBrusk likely will have several eyes on him and how he performs under new head coach Jim Montgomery. But one thing’s for certain: his focus is on the season ahead.