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  • Bruins suspect that Jake DeBrusk will hit the open market

    Tim Rosenthal June 27, 2024

    LAS VEGAS — Contract negotiations between the Boston Bruins and Jake DeBrusk hit a snag during the 2023-24 season. Now, the two sides look like they hardly engaging in any dialogue.

    On Thursday, during his pre-draft media availability, Don Sweeney provided a little more insight on where talks stand with DeBrusk. And barring any unforeseen development the next few days, the tenth-year Boston GM expects the lone holdover from his first draft class to hit the open market.

    “I don’t have any update at his point in time,” Sweeney said of the latest surroundings involving DeBrusk. “I suspect that Jake will head to the UFA and test the market.”

    From his two-goal outings at the 2023 Winter Classic and Game 7 against Toronto in 2018 to his contentious relationship with former coach Bruce Cassidy that resulted in him requesting a trade out of Boston, the Edmonton product encountered more than his share of highlights and lowlights during his first seven seasons.

    After embarking on a career year during Jim Montgomery’s first season in 2022-23, DeBrusk envisioned himself finally landing a long-term deal. Amid another round of ups and downs, while playing through a broken hand during the 2023-24 regular season, DeBrusk upped his stock over the spring after leading the Bruins with 11 points during the postseason.

    Without an extension in hand, however, DeBrusk admitted his future in Boston had crossed his mind ahead of the trade deadline. He survived the latest round of trade talks, but a few months later, he admitted that feeling of uneasiness again during the team’s breakup day.

    “Obviously I think that that’s something that creeps in your mind,” DeBrusk told The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride. “It sucks. Not a good feeling to think about.”

    Between DeBrusk’s comments about his future all season long and Sweeney’s remarks at his year-end press conference. While both felt there’s a path for a new deal, neither side felt optimistic about coming to an agreement.

    “We’ve [taken] an aggressive position with Jake, which is no different than other players that have chosen not to resign and explore; that’s within his right,” Sweeney said. “Do I see a path? Yeah, there’s a path. I told him that at our exit meetings. He’s been a big part of our group, he elevated in the playoffs, and I would prefer to have Jake DeBrusk as part of our team. But he has some opportunity in front of him that he may pursue otherwise. I don’t have a clear answer for you today, but I know the position we’ve taken. We feel very comfortable, but it didn’t get to the finish line.

    “Again, negotiation is a two-way street.”

    Apparently, Sweeney’s approach will head in another direction.

    DeBrusk reportedly is looking for a deal north of $6 million per season. Following the Linus Ullmark trade, the Bruins have north of $21 million in projected cap space in hopes of landing a top-six center and an added left-shot blue-liner — all while trying to ink pending RFA Jeremy Swayman to a long-term deal.

    Boston’s wing depth would take a significant hit if DeBrusk signs elsewhere. While Jake Guentzel and maybe Jonathan Marchessault could provide an upgrade from DeBrusk, the center and defensive priorities and a new contract for Swayman trump any plans to replace their longtime embattled top-six left winger.

    “We remain consistent that we have been in negotiatons with Jake — haven’t had any productive talks in quite some time,” Sweeney said. “But at the end of the day, that’s his prerogative to see what July 1 brings to him.”

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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