The Boston Bruins are facing an important decision regarding the future of forward Jake DeBrusk. DeBrusk, 26, is currently in the final year of his two-year contract, carrying an average annual value of $4 million, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season. While he has expressed his desire to remain with the team, recent changes to the Bruins’ roster have added an element of uncertainty.
During a media briefing, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney provided some insight into the team’s perspective on DeBrusk’s future. He made it clear that the organization is interested in signing the 26-year-old to a long-term contract extension. And, while Sweeney emphasized the Bruins’ intention to engage in ongoing discussions with DeBrusk and his agent to work toward a mutually beneficial extension, he phrased it in an intriguing way.
Related: DeBrusk On Contract Talks With Bruins: “I Haven’t Heard Anything”
Sweeney’s comments suggest that he either hasn’t closely monitored DeBrusk’s public remarks or he anticipates that the winger will be open to signing a team-friendly deal. He stated, “We’d like to know if Jake indeed does want to be here. Hopefully, we can find common ground. We’d like to see Jake remain with the Boston Bruins,” implying that the ball is in DeBrusk’s court to propose contract terms that the Bruins would eagerly accept.
DeBrusk himself has previously expressed his desire to have a long-term future with the Bruins. He recently noted that he’s heard nothing from the Bruins, meaning that, based on Sweeney’s comments, the organization is waiting for Jake to make the first move.
Both sides seem aligned in their interest in continuing their partnership but Sweeney suggesting he’d like to know if DeBrusk really wants to stay is an odd take. He has to have heard DeBrusk’s comments, either first or second hand and he has to know that Jake is open to sticking around. Currently, the Bruins are operating close to the salary cap for the upcoming season, but they are projected to have approximately $28.5 million in cap space available next summer, assuming no cap increases. This should be an easy deal to get done.
Is Sweeney Holding DeBrusk to the Fire Already?
The DeBrusk situation has seen its share of ups and downs, with a significant turning point occurring in November 2021 when he was benched by former Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, leading to his initial trade request. However, DeBrusk later withdrew his trade demand and had a strong bounce-back season, recording 27 goals and 23 assists in 64 games. Sweeney commended DeBrusk’s maturity and performance, acknowledging his importance to the team’s upcoming season.
That’s he so complimentary of DeBrusk’s professionalism makes Sweeney’s comments even more perplexing. He clearly likes the player. He understands it was a tough time and DeBrusk handled it well. He’s got to know by know that the forward has changed his mind and likes it where he is. Why keep pressing the matter?
Bruins Should Get This Done Now Before DeBrusk Explodes Offensively
The potential for a new contract could alleviate one of the team’s concerns as they navigate a season that follows their President’s Trophy-winning campaign in 2022-23, which ended with a historic upset by the Florida Panthers in the playoffs. Subsequently, the Bruins experienced significant roster changes due to free agency and player retirements, putting more responsibility on DeBrusk to contribute. If he does, DeBrusk will only up his value.
While negotiations will likely continue throughout the season, the potential for DeBrusk to secure a long-term extension with the Bruins presents an opportunity for both the player and the team to solidify their future together after a period of uncertainty. If Sweeney has some leverage, why insistent on more? Especially if the alternative is DeBrusk going on a run and shifting all of the leverage onto his side of the negotiating table.
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