Hockey

Jake Debrusk: A 1st Round Bust For The Bruins, Or Potential New Hometown Hero For The Oilers?

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Before we dig in to Jake Debrusk, it’s important to look back at where it all began.

For six seasons, Louie Debrusk was a fan favorite with the Edmonton Oilers. He didn’t score a lot, his highest total in a season was 8 goals, but he was a punishing enforcer. In a city, that had fallen in love with the late Dave Semenko, who protected Wayne Gretzky back in the ’80s, Debrusk was loved.

Now retired, Louie Debrusk works for Sportsnet, doing the color commentary for the Edmonton Oilers broadcasts and other Sportsnet hockey broadcasts, including the prominent Hockey Night In Canada. Oilers fans continue to love Debrusk, as he delivers entertaining insight, in a relatable and intriguing way. 

Now, Oilers fans want to see Jake Debrusk come home.

Jake Debrusk was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and grew up playing in Western Canada. Debrusk laced up for the Swift Current Broncos and Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1st Round, 14th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He broke into the NHL in the 2017-18 season, picking up 16 goals and 27 assists. His best year was his 2nd, where he scored 27 goals and picked up 15 assists for 42 points. Jake appeared to be well on his way to being a solid top-six forward for the Bruins.

However, over the past two seasons, Jake Debrusk has seen his numbers drop. In 2019-20, he dropped to 19 goals and 16 assists for 35 points, and this past season, he collected just 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points. Though it should be noted, Debrusk did battle with COVID and was limited to just 41 games.

Aside from the drop in points, Debrusk has also been in the doghouse with head coach Bruce Cassidy. His playing time has been cut back and he was even moved to his off-wing, after the arrival of Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline. All of these developments have put Jake’s name in the rumor mill and the word is that the Edmonton Oilers are very interested in acquiring him.

Homecoming could be exactly what Jake Debrusk needs. I think Edmonton fans will love and embrace him, just like his dad. Working in Jake’s favor is offensive skills that his father didn’t possess. Jake would have an opportunity to play in the Oilers’ top six, taking feeds from Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. An opportunity that would surely see his offensive numbers return.

If his numbers continue to drop, perhaps Debrusk isn’t a top-six forward, he may be better suited to 3rd line duty. If that’s the case, the Oilers would have a year to determine that for themselves. Debrusk has 1 year remaining on his 2-year contract with the Bruins, his contract carries a $3,675,000 cap hit. 

It looks like the Boston Bruins are leaning towards bringing back Taylor Hall, who would officially take Debrusk’s spot in the line-up if they still want to deploy Jake in the Top 6. It’s pretty clear to see, a fresh start would probably be best for both sides.

The Oilers have pieces that the Bruins could be interested in. Zack Kassian, a top 9 forward with some offensive skill that plays a physical game. His game has been off since signing his new contract, but a change of scenery could be exactly what he needs. He has 3 years remaining on his contract at $3,200,000, so the money can work. Another name of potential interest is defenceman Ethan Bear, he has 1 year and $2,000,000 remaining on his contract.

There is a deal to be made if both teams want to make it happen. I, for one, would love to see Jake Debrusk come home.


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