David Pastrnak wins NESN’s 7th Player Award.

David Pastrnak was the winner of the this year’s NESN’s 7th Player Award. The award is voted on by the fans, and is awarded to the player who has performed beyond expectations. Pastrnak has certainly done that this year for the Boston Bruins.

Pastrnak is nearly in a class by himself this year. He is one of just two players from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft to play in more than twenty-five games this season. The only other player on that list is Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad was the number one overall pick last year, so he’s in pretty good company for talent this season.

The Bruins have asked a lot of the eighteen year old Czech native.  They pulled him of European ice and told him to jump into North American hockey. Then they asked him to bounce back and forth throughout the season between Boston and Providence. (The first time I met David Pastrnak is when I bumped into him at a downtown 7-11 one night after a game.) Next, the Bruins asked him to be able to play physical hockey. For the most part, he’s risen to that challenge. While he’s certainly not build like a Milan Lucic or a Dennis Seidenberg, he’s tossing his body around there and has surprised fans and commentators with some of his hits.

He’s met all the challenges the Bruins team has given him. He’s added weight to his frame as well. At forty-one games, the young rookie has netted twenty-seven points (eleven goals) for the Bruins.  Every NHL team would be happy with a player generating .658 points per game.

In regards to his overall point total, it puts him even for points with Chris Kelly, someone who has played thirty more games than him. He’s only one game and one point behind his idol, Bruins center(now wing and fellow Czech) David Krejci.

What’s more amazing is that he’ll get better. He still has so much more to learn, and it will be a couple of seasons before he’s really in his prime. If he continues to play like this, and contributes like this throughout his career, his number might follow Patrice Bergeron‘s to the rafters of the TD Garden.

Over the last few years, I felt the fan base didn’t quite get it right with this award.  I felt if the voting got overrun by young fans who voted for whoever was the cutest, and not the player that had truly exceeded expectations. This year, the fan base got it right and it’s great to see such a great award go to a player who truly deserved it.