Boston Bruins: David Pastrnak Decision Looms


Nov 24, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing David Pastrnak (88), playing in his first NHL game, looks to take a shot during the third period of the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

As the Boston Bruins prepare for a Saturday matinee with the Philadelphia Flyers, a larger question hangs over their heads. With Loui Eriksson’s status in doubt, the team could be tempted to start David Pastrnak alongside new linemates David Krejci and Brad Marchand for the second game in a row.

Starting Pastrnak would move the Boston Bruins one game closer to having to make a decision to either keep him with the team for the remainder of the season or send him down to Providence or even the Swedish Elite League. The Bruins could be reluctant to keep Pastrnak as it would take a year off his entry level deal and push the 18-year old Czech closer to arbitration.

Perhaps Peter Chiarelli would have been more inclined to protect his asset in Pastrnak if it were not for the ongoing struggles demonstrated by the Bruins throughout the year. One only has to replay the comments made by new Bruins chief executive officer Charlie Jacobs to see that failure to make the playoffs would be seen as nothing less than a catastrophic failure.

With this in mind, the decision to either keep Pastrnak will reflect whether or not the Bruins are truly committed to using all resources available to lift this team from the chasm it has seemed to be stuck in all season. For right now keeping Pastrnak might be the only option as making a trade has proved difficult due to the teams’ cap situation and the likelihood they will have to subtract some parts before they are able to add anything of real value.

With 27 points in 24 games playing for the Providence Bruins and coming off a World Junior Championship where he led his native Czech Republic in points including a overtime winning goal that demonstrated the finish the young Pastrnak possesses; Pastrnak has proven to be worthy of more than just a look by Bruins management.

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Pastrnak’s scouting report calls into question his commitment to defense and his size forces him to be more of a perimeter player. Two things to consider here, anyone who has been watching should notice Pastrnak has been engaged in the corners and as of now isn’t afraid to put himself close to the net to make a play. Regardless of the Bruins two game winning streak; their offense still ranks in the bottom third of the league and scoring is at a premium on most nights.

If the Bruins want to send a small message of commitment to their fanbase and CEO Charlie Jacobs, they will begin by allowing an offensive-minded and gifted young player to participate in their march towards the playoffs. Other moves need to be made prior to the trade deadline to address the needs the Bruins have. Who knows though; Pastrnak might be a bigger difference maker than we actually think, but it will require Chiarelli to do something deep down he does not want to do.