Coming off of offseason hip surgery, David Pastrnak only missed the first two weeks of the 2020-21 season. I say “only missed” because he was supposed to be out until mid-February but returned at the end of January.
Pasta started off his 2020-21 season red-hot, continuing his success from his Rocket Richard-winning 2019-20 season in which he scored 48 goals. In each of his first four games this season, Pastrnak recorded a point, scoring five goals (including a hat-trick) and eight points during this time.
Pasta’s quick start would continue, but once the calendar turned over to March, it was like he had hit a wall.
From Jan. 30 to Feb. 28, Pasta recorded 18 points (nine goals and nine assists) in 12 games — a remarkable 1.50 points-per-game pace. During this time he recorded two hat-tricks (both against the Flyers), six multi-point games, three multi-goal games, and three multi-assist games, and only didn’t register a point in three games, and was a +6.
David Pastrnak’s significant cool down significantly impacts his grade.
However, once March hit, Pastrnak basically forgot how to play hockey. Over the next 36 games, Pasta would score just 30 points (11 goals and 19 assists) and would be a +4. This is still good as he averaged 0.83 points per game during this time, but it’s no where near what he was doing when he first came back.
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To put things into perspective, as I mentioned earlier, Pasta recorded six multi-point games through his first 12 games of this season. He would record just another six multi-point games over the next 36 games. Pasta went from recording a multi-point game every other game to recording one every sixth game.
As I said previously, Pasta didn’t score in only three of his first 12 games. Over the next 36 games, Pastrnak didn’t record a point in 14 games. So, over his first 12 games of the season, he didn’t score in just 25% of the games, but over the next 36 games he didn’t score in nearly 39% of them.
When the season first began, it looked like Pastrnak was going to continue his incredible success from the prior season. However, he significantly cooled down to what I expected him to do this season before the season started.
So, if Pasta would have started off slow and gotten better as the season progressed instead of starting off hot and significantly cooling down, he would’ve gotten a higher grade as he wouldn’t have increased my expectations for this season.
But, since he didn’t heighten my expectations with a hot start and then cool down in a very important time of the season, Pastrnak will be receiving only a slightly above-average grade. He played poorly, which included costly turnovers, missing open nets, and just making bad plays and being invisible at times down the stretch. This is why, despite actually putting up another point-per-game season, I will be giving Pasta just a B as his grade for 2020-21.