Jake DeBrusk signed a two-year, $7.35 million contract with the Boston Bruins on Monday.
The 24-year-old forward was a restricted free agent. He scored 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists) in 65 games with the Bruins last season and four goals in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"I'm very happy and excited to be back in Boston," DeBrusk said Tuesday. "It's an honor to be signed here."
He said now that he's signed, his goal this season is to improve his skills on the forecheck.
"We have great penalty killers and great special teams since I've been in the League. I think that especially on the forecheck, I'm one of the fastest guys on the team, and when I'm playing well, I'm skating," DeBrusk said. "I could definitely put more pressure on D-men and be more physical in those corners too. It's not necessarily the right idea if I'm not pushing the pace of play and pushing the forecheck. Obviously, just getting my stick in there."
The season is targeted to begin Jan. 1, with camps opening in mid-December.
DeBrusk is in Edmonton and isn't sure when he will return to Boston for the season.
"I've just been preparing myself to just be ready, no matter what. Just be ready for January, be ready for even earlier, or whatever," DeBrusk said. "I've been going pretty hard so I didn't really want to have that on my mind, as necessarily feeling like I'm not ready to go for camp, if that makes any sense. I'm pretty much prepared at any moment here.
"I've been able to skate and work out consistently here. I've been on the ice probably three or four times a week and then working out four or five times. I've been pretty busy here."
As for getting DeBrusk signed before training camp, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said, "The landscape is just, there's a lot of unknowns associated with where we're going in the immediate future and hopefully things -- with all the positive news associated with vaccines and the hopeful climate that could potentially exist -- that we get back on track. … We had explored a longer-term deal and it's probably on me that it didn't come to fruition, and we focused on a shorter-term given the landscape and a little of the uncertainty."
Selected by Boston in the first round (No. 14) of the 2015 NHL Draft, DeBrusk has scored 120 points (62 goals, 58 assists) in 203 regular-season games and 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) in 49 playoff games.
"I think Jake has a chance to continue to expand his game," Sweeney said. "He has an innate ability to score goals. ... With his speed and his ability to drive play in all three zones, I think Jake should recognize that he has at least one more if not two more levels to get to."
NHL.com staff writer Amalie Benjamin contributed to this report