( Photo Credit: Chris Christo / MediaNews Group / Boston Herald )

By: Mike Sullivan | Follow me on Twitter: @_MikeSullivan

Jake DeBrusk will have an exceptional opportunity at the beginning of the season to cement himself as a top-six forward for the Boston Bruins Organization. Unfortunately, Jake’s career in Boston has been shrouded in criticism from Bruins media and faithful who expected more from the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NHL entry draft.

The Edmonton native’s best season came in his rookie year of 2017-2018, where he scored 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points. He followed that season up with 42 points, then 35 points in 2019-2020, followed by an abysmal 14-point season in 2020-2021 and 42-points last year.

DeBrusk requested a trade from Boston in 2021-2022, but no deal was done. He was instead signed to a two-year, four-million-dollar contract extending until the end of the 2024 NHL season, where he will become a free agent. One has to wonder if Bruce Cassidy and Jake didn’t get along as the trade request was rescinded following the departure of head coach Cassidy. To DeBrusk’s credit, his game did not take a step back after it was known to the public that he was hoping to be traded.

DeBrusk continued to play vital roles for this team and did not complain or whine once. He let his request be known, and he left it at that. He didn’t bring any drama to the team. He didn’t allow his personal choice to affect his play or distract him when it came time to drop the puck. That speaks volumes about his character.

With Brad Marchand out with injury until mid-November, Jake DeBrusk will have a fantastic opportunity to play top minutes alongside one of Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci. He will likely see power play time as well. However, with a new head coach in Jim Montgomery, you have to wonder if his coaching style will play more into Jake’s strengths as a player.

Jim Montgomery’s coaching style is rumored to be more favorable to the team’s youth. Unlike Cassidy, Montgomery won’t handcuff players to a systems-style play. Jim Montgomery will have the group freer to generate chances off of their creativity alone. For Jake DeBrusk, I think that plays right into his wheelhouse. The confidence that I have around Jake DeBrusk’s upcoming season is high.

For the former first-round pick to have what will be deemed a successful season, he will have to surpass his career high of 43 points. I believe when the season ends, DeBrusk will not only have surpassed 43 points, but he will have a 55 or more-point season. With more minutes and playing alongside team stars such as Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, or even David Pastrnak or Taylor Hall on his wing, Jake will have more opportunities to become an offensive threat.

However, if he still struggles to reach the 50-point mark, the season will be considered just another below-average year for a guy who was drafted ahead of stars such as Kyle Connor or Mathew Barzal.