In the first whatever happened to series I looked at Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, who as of today, is still looking for somewhere to play hockey. I hate to be the one to rehash old wounds (for many they are still very fresh) and bring up that infamous 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
But my venture today leads me down that path of darkness for many Bruins fans as we wonder: Whatever happened to Jesse Gabrielle?
Gabrielle was the Bruins fourth round pick – 105th overall – in that 2015 draft. In case you need reminding who the Bruins selected, here’s a little refresher: Jakub Zboril (13th) is still trying to find a permanent spot with Boston, Jake DeBrusk (14th) the second best Bruin selected, Zach Senyshyn (15th) can never seem to stay healthy when he gets a callup, Brandon Carlo (37th) top notch shut down defender, Forsbacka-Karlsson (45th), Jeremy Lauzon (52nd) lost to Seattle in the expansion draft, Daniel Vladar (75th) traded to Calgary in the offseason, Gabrielle (105th), Cameron Hughes (165th) now in Providence and Jack Becker (195th) chose to spend a fifth season in the NCAA.
During Gabrielle’s draft season of 2014-2015, he played in a total of 66 games split evenly between the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Prince George Cougars. Combined, he notched 23 goals and 21 helpers. Many of Bruins fans immediately became intrigued after reading about his style of play.
The following season, Gabrielle appeared in 72 games for the Cougars and reached the 40-goal plateau to go along with 75 assists. Following the WHL playoffs in which he scored once and assisted on another in 3 games, he would appear in 3 games for the Providence Bruins but went pointless.
During the 2016-2017 season, Gabrielle had shown enough to earn an Entry Level Contract with Boston, signing his contract on December 16, 2016. The contract included a $92,500 signing bonus, just in time for the holidays.
But things started to go south during the 2017-2018 season. DeBrusk was getting his opportunity in the NHL on the second line with David Krejci while Gabrielle was destined for Providence. In my humble opinion, this is where his ego started getting in the way.
You see, I met Gabrielle at a summer league game outside of Toronto, Ontario that summer in a league that is predominantly NHL players. In a conversation he said “I don’t know why everyone is talking about Jake *bleep* DeBrusk playing with Krejci. I’m a better *bleep* hockey player than Jake *bleep* DeBrusk.”
Nonetheless, Gabrielle began the season with the Providence Bruins and he had just 1 goal and 3 assists in 21 games. On January 5, 2018, the Regina Pats had acquired Gabrielle’s rights from the Cougars just days before the WHL trade deadline. You would think that the way things played out that the Bruins had a hand in this. Shortly after the trade was announced, rumors began to surface that the Bruins were sending Gabrielle back to the WHL.
Rumors began to surface that Gabrielle had asked GM Don Sweeney for a trade and that Sweeney wanted Gabrielle to work hard and build some value because he “wasn’t going to give him away.” Those rumors were never substantiated.
Gabrielle went on to score 13 goals and 6 assists in 27 games to finish out the season for the Pats.
The 2018-2019 season saw Gabrielle begin the year with Boston’s ECHL affiliate, the Atlanta Gladiators. He appeared in 25 games and scored 5 goals and added 10 helpers. He was then assigned by the Bruins to the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL where he added 4 more goals along with 2 assists in 11 games.
On May 27, 2019, Gabrielle left the Thunder to join CBR Brave of the AIHL, appearing in 20 games and scoring 39 goals and 28 assists (yes, you read that right).
For the 2019-2020 season, Gabrielle joined the HK Nitra squad in Slovakia appearing in just 4 games and had a goal and an assist. He went on to join Hisj Hokil den Haag of the Beneliga in Belgium for 7 games and notched 7 goals to go along with 9 helpers.
During the COVID season of 2020-2021, Gabrielle played just 2 games with the Grenfell Spitfires of the Qu’Appelle Valley Hockey League in Saskatchewan, Canada. The QVHL is a Provincial Senior Men’s league.
As of today, Gabrielle does not have a home to play hockey for the 2021-2022 season. He once ran his own hockey school, but that has been quiet since July 2019.
Gabrielle was pegged as an agitator in the mold of Brad Marchand in the early days. For whatever reason, it just didn’t pan out for Gabrielle.
Here’s to hoping he finds success at whatever comes next.