Jake DeBrusk

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- If you told Jake DeBrusk in September that he would reach the end of the 2023-24 season without a new contract, he would not have believed you, but that's where things stand for the 27-year-old forward who is poised to enter unrestricted free agency after his seventh season with the Boston Bruins.

Despite the uncertainty around his future, he's hopeful he'll remain with the team that selected him with the No. 14 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"I understand that business is business," DeBrusk said Sunday. "I've been here for a while. I've seen [a lot] of deals get done with guys and things, so I kind of understand, I guess, what their side is and how they usually operate. So I wasn't necessarily completely surprised, but I thought it'd be done and things would all work out earlier, I guess. But in saying that, getting to this year was really stressful on me and it took a lot, so I'm just looking forward to getting away, to be honest."

It was an up-and-down tenure for DeBrusk, who has played his entire NHL career for the Bruins. He played a supplementary role in Boston's run to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, a seven-game loss to the St. Louis Blues, as a 22-year-old. A bit more than two years later, he requested a trade, which he rescinded at the beginning of the 2022-23 season. He went on to set NHL career highs in goals (27) and points (50) in 64 games for a Bruins team that broke NHL records with 65 wins and 135 points.

DeBrusk's production was limited during the final season of a two-year, $8 million contract. He had 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) in 80 games, taking a significant step back in points per game (0.50) compared to last season (0.78), but led the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with five goals and 11 points in 13 games.

After the Bruins were eliminated with a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round, DeBrusk revealed he played the latter half of the season with a broken hand that didn't heal until right before the playoffs.

"I think for me personally, it ended off pretty well in the playoffs," DeBrusk said. "[I] wish I still could have done more, but in saying that, I think that I did, I guess, what I wanted to do."

As of Sunday, DeBrusk said he has not spoken to Bruins management about his future in Boston, but that he understands his worth and market value. Whether or not he'll get another chance at the Stanley Cup there remains to be seen. For now, he's leaving the door open until it closes on him.

"I think that's something that creeps in your mind," DeBrusk said. "It [stinks], it's not a good feeling to think about. … I still have hope that it will all work out."