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Jump in Offense for Bruins’ DeBrusk Could Lead To Hagel-Like Contract

As the Bruins turn to DeBrusk to elevate his game and provide leadership amid significant roster shifts, he stands to gain financially.

The upcoming season presents a challenge for the Boston Bruins, as they grapple with the departure of key stars and point-generating forwards. With significant gaps in the roster due to retirements and departures, players will be called upon to rise to the occasion, none more so than Jake DeBrusk.

Since his NHL debut in 2017, DeBrusk has exhibited his scoring prowess, amassing 119 goals and 226 points across 385 games played. In the previous season, he matched his career-best with 27 goals. The approaching season carries greater expectations, as DeBrusk aims for a breakout performance, setting his sights on exceeding the 30-goal threshold for the first time in his career.

Jake DeBrusk Bruins trade talk
Jake DeBrusk Bruins trade talk

A successful attainment of this goal could lead to a notable increase in DeBrusk’s annual cap hit of $4,000,000. Drawing from comparisons with similar players, it’s plausible that DeBrusk is poised for a well-deserved raise. If he takes advantage of the opportunity that is about to be presented this season, he could cash in. And, with just a year remaining on his current contract, the timing could be ideal for negotiations.

Notably, Brandon Hagel’s recent eight-year, $6.5 million AAV extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning may serve as a benchmark for DeBrusk’s future deal, writes Bruins reporter Joe Haggerty. This week the Lightning locked in the 24-year-old forward to a long-term contract extension for $52 million. They believe he will be a big future piece of their organization.

Hagel and DeBrusk Could Make For Fair Comparables

As Josh Erickson points out, DeBrusk and Hagel have displayed relatively comparable performances over the past two seasons — both are top-six stars with DeBrusk scoring 52 goals and 92 points in 141 games, while Hagel’s posted 55 goals and 108 points in 158 games. But, their contract situations differ slightly because DeBrusk is two years older than Hagel and heading towards unrestricted free agency next summer.

Unsure if DeBrusk would explode given a new opportunity or if he’ll drop off without the presence of David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron as his center, the team could take a cautious approach. The team likely won’t jump into a Hagel-like contract until they’ve seen how DeBrusk responds. In fact, if he struggles, the Bruins might contemplate trading or even allowing DeBrusk to walk into unrestricted free agency, particularly if his contract demands parallel those of Hagel.

Next: Matthews’ Evasion of Long-Term Deal with Maple Leafs Calculated

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