In his last 40 games, including the playoffs, Jake DeBrusk has six goals and four assists. It is no secret that the Bruins lack scorers beyond their first line. When they have guys rolling on their bottom three lines, they are almost unstoppable. As arguably the most talented scorer on those three lines, DeBrusk is expected to contribute. Unfortunately, that has not been the case this year.
Every player has their strengths and weaknesses (well, not Patrice Bergeron, but that's another story), but for DeBrusk, they are especially clear. He is incredibly streaky. When he's hot, he is an incredibly dangerous player. He becomes confident with the puck, starts skating better, and shoots a lot. When he's cold though, he tends to drift. He lacks purpose, looks lost, doesn't contribute defensively, and is easily taken off the puck.
By all means, Jake DeBrusk is not hot right now. But the question is, how long can a guy be cold before you start thinking that this is more of a permanent thing?
When you're cold, you have to play your way out of it. You have to throw a few hard hits. You have to back check hard. You have to perfect all of the aspects of your game that you can, and eventually the scoring will come. The problem is, Jake DeBrusk isn't doing that, and he never has done that.
When he isn't scoring, he loses his whole purpose on the ice. His whole game goes to hell because he has absolutely no confidence in any of it. He has to stop waiting to get a goal or few, and start attacking the other parts of his game. That way, even if he isn't scoring he is still having an impact night in and night out.
That is exactly what other young guys on the Bruins like Trent Frederic and Jack Studnicka are doing. They aren't scoring at very high rates, but they are much more impactful than DeBrusk. They play every shift like their lives are on the line, and DeBrusk simply doesn't.
Now I'm not saying that DeBrusk won't break out of this slump. It's likely that he will, and will get hot at some point this year. But streaky players are not ones that win championships. The Bruins need him to be a threat every night, and I just don't see that happening. That is unless he makes a drastic change to his attitude on the ice.
It looks like he is just waiting for a bounce to go his way, and then he will get hot again. That may have happened in the past, but it is not something you can rely on. If he keeps that attitude, you might see this Jake DeBrusk a lot more than the goal scorer DeBrusk.
And the truth is, 40 games with 10 points is not a slump. It is not playing well. DeBrusk has the skill set, but right now he lacks the intangibles.
If he does figure things out, it would be a huge boost for the Bruins. Without a doubt he is the x-factor on this team. They can win a round or two relying on the top line, but to bring home the Cup, they are going to need depth scoring. They are going to need Jake DeBrusk at the top of his game.