The Boston Bruins enter NHL free agency with north of $21 million in cap space and several players within the organization that general manager Don Sweeney must decide to re-sign or let walk.

At the top of the list is unrestricted free agent forward Jake DeBrusk.

Sweeney said at the Bruins’ end-of-season press conference that DeBrusk is a “big part” of the team’s future and hopes to retain the 27-year-old.

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery believes DeBrusk is entering his prime and has been a game changer for the franchise.

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“I think his NHL future is bright. His career has been really good so far, and he’s coming into his prime,” Montgomery said on the “NHL Wraparound Podcast.” “You look at how good he was for us in the playoffs this year … after playing with some injuries during the year.”

Montgomery continued: “One thing you notice, that I really noticed is that every time I talked to him one-on-one, he was very honest about where he thought his play was. We talked a lot about consistency when Jake was on top of his game. Jake was a game breaker for us. He’s someone that could change the momentum of a game in one or two shifts because of his tenacity, speed and skill.”

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In 465 games for the Bruins, DeBrusk scored 138 goals and added 128 assists. He had a career-high in points (50) with 27 goals and 23 assists in 64 games during Boston’s record-breaking 2022-23 season.

His production was down in the 2023-24 season with 19 goals and 21 assists in 80 games but DeBrusk admitted he broke his hand during the season that didn’t heal until right before the postseason. Once the playoffs arrived, DeBrusk led the team in points (11) and goals (five).

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DeBrusk admitted his number one priority going forward is to win a Stanley Cup, but he still sees a path to achieve that goal with the Bruins.

Featured image via Hannah Foslien/USA TODAY Sports Images