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Jake DeBrusk talks joining the Canucks, power play ability, playing for Tocchet, and more

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Photo credit:Hannah Foslien-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
11 days ago
While it was a slow start to free agency for the Vancouver Canucks – and by slow, I mean 30 minutes after the free agency window had opened – the club exploded with four signings: Danton Heinen, Kiefer Sherwood, Derek Forbort, Vincent Desharnais and their biggest fish, Jake DeBrusk.
DeBrusk, 27, was one of three Boston Bruins first-round picks in a row. He was drafted in the middle as the 14th overall pick in the star-studded 2015 NHL draft class. The Alberta native made his NHL debut in 2017-2018 and has since played 465 games, scoring 138 goals and 266 points.
After the Bruins failed to commit long-term to DeBrusk – signing two two-year deals back to back – he was pleased that Vancouver offered him a free-agent max-term deal at seven years. DeBrusk met with members of the Canucks media today to discuss his excitement for joining the Canucks, what he brings as a player to the organization and playing for Rick Tocchet.
 Q: What’s it taken to get to his point and how’re you feeling about becoming a Canuck?
“It’s been a crazy process going through free agency for the first time, but in saying that, in terms of Vancouver, they were very aggressive. I knew I had a really good feeling about them. As soon as I got confirmation that I was coming here I was a bit overwhelmed for the whole day. It’s been really exciting and it’s something that I jus can’t wait to get to the city and get started. I feel very, very lucky and honoured to be a Vancouver Canuck.”
Q: What have you seen out of the Canucks that made you excited to join this particular group?
“I like the way they play. They’re a hard team to play against; they’re similar in that way. I feel like that gives me confidence to know that it’s going to be similar systems, but also, they have really good players. I think the biggest thing for me is looking at the centremen and I think that’s a good opportunity for me to come in and excel. They’ve got lots of punch there and I just always found that they were a hard team to play against.”
“Being from Edmonton, I’ve watched Vancouver over the years too, so I understand what the fan base is like. It’ll be really really cool to see that in person. There’s a lot of things that came into it. Playing against them and seeing the steps they took this last year. I’m just coming in a position where I want to come and help and try to change the outcome.”
Q: Where do you see the areas of your game that you think you can still be better? Where’s the growth for you to come?
“I think, honestly, everywhere. It’s the best league in the world, and there’s lots of areas to improve. I think last year, I took good steps in my defensive side of the game. I still want to improve on that. Obviously, it’s not as pretty when it comes to points, but when you’re playing against the top lines every single night, you’ve got to outscore them to win. So I like focusing on that.”
“Speed is the biggest part of the game nowadays. I think that’s one of my best attributes. But I’m constantly working on that because everyone else is getting faster as well. And just overall consistency. I know that’s something a lot of people like to talk about when it comes to me. So even if say production isn’t necessarily there, I know I can help out the team in different ways.”
Q: You’ve had some success on the man advantage in Boston. You’ve alluded to the high-end centres [Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller] but also guys like Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser, how exciting could that opportunity be to a part of that group on the man advantage be for you?
“There’s lot of weapons in different places which is really exciting for me to come play in. I usually play net front, I played a little bit of half wall, something bumper here and there. I think over my career I’ve probably played everywhere. I’d probably say net front is where I’ve been the most. I think that’s one thing, I’m versatile in a sense where I can help you in different ways if things go wrong or things change.”
Q: How familiar are you with Rick Tocchet? What have you heard about him and joining a team with a reigning Jack Adams trophy winner?
“Yeah, I’ve heard lots of great things about him. He’s a coach that asked for effort and execution. That’s something I think I thrive in. I’ve had that in coaches even from junior that were [cut from] the same cloth. It’s one of those things that’s really rewarding as a player. I’ve talked to him a couple times and he’s really eager for me to get started.”
Q: What excites you about playing for Rick’s [Tocchet] system? Because it seems like you could seamlessly fit in with him?
“I think his track record speaks for itself. Anytime you can come into a place like that, with a coach like that, you can get better, and you can excel, and that’s someone you want to listen to. With the systems, it seems like it’d be pretty seamless.”
Q: It seems like your penalty killing minutes have really gone up a lot. So I’m curious how that developed over your career and how you got to that point of wanting to be a penalty killer?
“I’m not exactly sure how it started off, but I got to ask if I’d want to penalty kill and I didn’t want to miss any rotations necessarily. There’s certain times I felt I was on the bench, and I got asked if I’d do it because I’ve got speed and I’ve got a good stick. And I was like you know, why not give it a try? I think that’s something I’ve grown with as they years have gone on and [my minutes have] gone up and up and up and I think I’ve become an effective one. I want to be apart of that on the defensive side.”
“I think that being around a guy like Patrice Bergeron, a really good two-way player, probably the best ever. I have a lot of respect on him and I really leaned on him when I first started penalty killing.”
Buckle up Canucks fans, cause Jake DeBrusk is here to stay for the next seven years! Are you happy with this signing? Let us know in the comment section below!

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