Pastrnak: To Make Noise This Season?
While playing at such a high level in the NHL when you’re only a teenager is surely a tricky task, the Bruins first-round pick, 18-year-old David Pastrnak, continues to display attention-grabbing, almost professional skills.
The great hockey qualities of Pastrnak came to surface during Bruins development camp in July. We also saw the youngster boasts his capabilities on the once this past Friday, when Pastrnak torched Canada’s u-20 team at the world junior development camp, en route to the Czech Republic’s smooth-sailing defeat, 5-2. Pastrnak was the main reason the Czech Republic beat Canada, as the speedy winger notched two goals and an assist to account for 60 percent of his country’s scores.
The Bruins drafted Pastrnak early in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft because he was notably electric and savvy on the puck. But putting his development camp and recent international success aside, it’s hard to gauge what kind of impact he would have in Boston this season, if he were to win a roster spot.
He played in the Swedish second-tier professional league, Hockey Allsvenskan, and could hold his own, fairly productive with a tally of 24 points in 36 games last year. That said, the NHL runs at a faster pace, and the physicality level is heightened as well. With Pastrnak’s slight frame–5-foot-10, 165 pounds–he will have to rely on his quickness and finesse to outperform his opposition. Plus, the defensive side of his game is far from fully-developed.
So that’s his biggest question mark: can his one-dimensionality survive in the NHL, with so little experience at the professional level?
Most likely, he will get a shot in preseason to strut his stuff, and he will show flashes of excellence. Still, to regularly appear in the Bruins lineup in the regular season, he will have to be better than the other Bruins forwards–Ryan Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Fraser, and Jordan Caron–hoping to snag a position on the fourth line.
However, his offensive skills aren’t worse than any of these players. In fact, one could argue that he would bring the best goal- scoring creative spark out of all of these men. It’s the two-way aspect that may leave in the dust, though, since the Bruins bottom-liners heavily lend towards defensive strength. Purely based on how he separates himself from many in his age group, Pastrnak does hold a solid opportunity to gather minutes here and there. His entry-level deal allow him to play nine NHL matches before a year of his contract is burned.
If injuries start to plague the B’s in 2014-15, we could witness Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien evolve Pastrnak’s role, neglecting both his uneven defensive power and contract stipulations.