Boston Bruins: 3 players with the most to prove in the 2021-22 NHL season

Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /
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Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

No. 1: Jake DeBrusk

There’s really no way around it; the 2020-21 season was a lost year for Jake DeBrusk. After posting at least 35 points in his first three seasons, DeBrusk only managed 14 in 41 games last season. He was so bad at times he was made a healthy inactive by coach Bruce Cassidy, leaving fans to wonder what happened to the talented winger.

DeBrusk was a revelation through his first three seasons. He looked capable of spearheading the next generation of the Bruins offense alongside David Pastrnak, and formed an elite partnership with David Krejci on the second line.

But everything went haywire last season. DeBrusk struggled early on, was booted off the second line to the third line, and then promptly held out of games at times throughout the season despite not being injured. It was mind-boggling that DeBrusk, who once looked capable of being an elite goalscorer, had fallen so far.

As a result, it’s clear DeBrusk is the Bruin with the most to prove this upcoming season. It’s a make-or-break season for the young winger, as the Bruins front office has decided to give him one last shot to prove he belongs. He’s clearly got talent, but you can only wait so long for that talent to actually develop.

Next. Losing David Krejci could be the final straw for Boston. dark

If DeBrusk can find his form again, he has the ability to lead the Bruins third line, which received a makeover with a couple of new veteran free agents this offseason. DeBrusk may have more freedom as a playmaker, and assuming he won’t be changing lines midway through the season, he will have a chance to establish himself early and often. If DeBrusk can get things figured out, the Boston Bruins will have a good shot at having a successful season.