Every time a team rebuilds fans search for players to latch onto. Most fans and writers have been drawn to the fabulous talent of Charlie McAvoy. Rightfully so though, because McAvoy is a special player. But another young prospect on this team with exceptional talent has been flying under the radar. Jake Debrusk has been highly touted since being drafted number 14th overall in the 2015 NHL draft. For the first time Debrusk has flashed the talent that scouts have been raving about since his youth hockey days.
Jake Debrusk has always had the heart and passion for the game. But early on in his hockey journey he lacked a scoring touch to go along with his determination. Jake Debrusk is the son of former New York Ranger Louie Debrusk. He has always been viewed as the guy who will do the dirty work in the corners. Through the early stages of his development this was crucial for him because his exceptional goal scoring ability was still developing. He is not a physical hockey player, only being 6 feet tall and weighing in at 188 pounds. However, he does have the grit and determination to do whatever it takes to get high percentage shots. This eventually got him drafted by the Swift Current in the 7th round (137th overall) in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
In 2013-2014 the hard-working mentality of Debrusk helped him lead all Swift Current rookie forwards in goals (15) and assists (24) through 72 games. Debrusk’s speed and shot began to develop to catch pace with his exceptional hockey IQ. However, it was not until the 2014-2015 season that Debrusk flashed his full potential. The young left winger opened the eyes of scouts everywhere, scoring 42 goals and adding 39 assist to account for 81 points, which ranked 4th in the WHL among left wingers. Debrusk showed that scoring ability that so many scouts around the league had been waiting for making him a highly touted prospect. In his final two regular season games he propelled the Broncos to a playoff spot scoring 7 points, 3 goals and 4 assist.
After the winger’s stellar season he rapidly rose draft boards across the league. Many projected that he would be a late first round pick. The Boston Bruins thought highly of the Edmonton native, drafting him with the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft. However it was not all smooth sailing. Debrusk’s pro career started off on the wrong foot. The ex-Bronco failed a conditioning test only a few months after the 2015 draft. On top of that the young sniper’s WHL season was a bumpy one. With injuries plaguing Debrusk causing him to play only 24 games for the Broncos. The once potential NHL superstar was rapidly losing stock as each day passed.
Debrusk took the same approach off the ice as he would on the ice, grinding out every shift. Despite the sobering start to his pro career, the rookie continued to push through and thrived in the AHL. Posting impressive numbers across the board with 19 goals, 40 points, and a +11 rating. His hardworking nature and exceptional sniping ability had transferred to the pro game better than anyone believed it would. The wing once thought to be bust all of the sudden was the next great forward in the Bruins’ farm system.
Entering the season Debrusk was put into a top 6 role by Bruce Cassidy due to his exceptional scoring ability. After a rather pedestrian start the rookie looked tepid at times. In the past few weeks Debrusk has shown why he was such a highly touted prospect. Using both his speed and strength along the puck to create prime scoring chances for him and his line mates. Debrusk has always head the work ethic and the brain to play at the NHL level. But now with his rapidly improved offensive game, the sky is the limit for number 74.