On Tuesday, Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak registered his ninth four-point career game, collecting a goal and three assists in a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Moreover, it was his third four-point night this season and his 21st multiple-point contest in 47 games.
The Bruins’ upper management celebrates whenever he earns a point and then probably breaks out in a cold sweat, knowing the clock is ticking on Pastrnak’s expiring contract. Furthermore, every time he skates and the Bruins win because of his heroics, they see his value increase, which will most likely lead to the largest contract in team history.
Speaking of the past, most people would assume that the bulk of the Bruins team records is safe, locked away with the memories of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Cam Neely, and Ray Bourque. However, in 2022-23, Pastrnak is having a season and is on pace to not only destroy his career bests in goals, assists, and points but he could also challenge some of the franchise’s most cherished records.
David Pastrnak’s Career Year in 2019-2020
Pastrnak made his NHL debut at 18 during the 2014-15 season. After a humble beginning, with just 25 goals through his first 95 games, he’s become one of the game’s deadliest snipers with 277 goals through 557 games. As he continues to climb the team’s all-time scoring chart, currently ranked ninth, he had his best season as a professional in 2019-20 with 48 goals to win the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the first time in his career.
During the 2019-20 season, Pastrnak registered the only five-point game of his career, assisting on all the Bruins’ goals in a 5-0 win over the New York Rangers on Oct. 27, 2019. Additionally, he scored all four goals in a 4-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 26, 2019. When the season ended, he had collected four hat tricks, four two-goal games, 29 multiple-point games, and 53 games with at least a point.
Meanwhile, in 2022-23, he’s got three four-point games, one hat trick, seven two-goal games, and 21 multiple-point contests. Moreover, he’s earned a point in 39 of the 47 games he’s skated in thus far. Statistically, he’s on pace to break all his previous career-best numbers, and his inspired play couldn’t have come at a better time than at the end of a six-year deal that paid him a bargain $6.6 million a season.
Pastrnak’s Pursuit of Bruins Scoring Records
Anyone old enough to remember will know that Epositio was an elite goal scorer who owns the Bruins’ records for goals in a season (76) and points (152), set back in the 1970-71 season. Additionally, along with stars like Orr, Gerry Cheevers, and John Bucyk, the team won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 31 years. Thus far, no one had ever challenged Esposito’s records except Neely when he was one of the game’s elite power forwards in the 1990s.
Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since a Bruins player has scored 50 goals in a season, with Pastrnak’s boss, current club President Neely, the last one to achieve the feat in 1993-94. Since then, many have tried, like Pastrnak (48), but came up short at the final buzzer.
Although the Bruins still have 35 games left, the Czechia winger already has 37 goals, lighting the lamp at a .078 goals-per-game rate. Should he play in the remainder of the games and continue at his current pace, he could end up with 64 goals, which would be the third-best season in franchise history.
Many people will argue that he’ll eventually slow down, go through a dry spell, and struggle to the magical 50-goal plateau. Interestingly, that’s the same thing everyone has said about the entire team’s performance thus far, particularly that of Linus Ullmark. It may sound crazy to some, but there is no way to tell exactly how many goals Pastrnak will finish with at the end of the year. However, he continues to find the back of the net and should easily reach the half-century mark after returning from the All-Star Game on Feb. 4, meaning he has a chance at 60 or maybe even 70 goals when it is all said and done.
Pastrnak’s Next Contract Will Determine His Place in Bruins History
Pastrnak has yet to sign a new contract with the Bruins, securing his future with the club for the next decade. However, rumors exist that the two sides are progressing in the negotiations. If this megadeal gets done, which could be anywhere from $9-12 million a season for eight years, Pastrnak will continue to pursue his quest to become the Bruins’ all-time leading scorer.
Furthermore, he is currently 12 goals away from Ken Hodge (289) for eighth on the all-time list. Considering Pastrnak has scored at least 30 goals in five of the last six full-length seasons, he’s got a chance at catching Neely (344) in seventh-place next year.
Then, he’ll end up chasing his current teammate Brad Marchand, sitting in sixth with 366. However, Marchand is on his journey through the record books and sits just 29 goals behind the legendary Bourque (395), so when Pastrnak catches them, they most likely will have swapped positions.
At his current pace, Pastrnak could score his 400th goal at 29 years old during the 2024-25 season, leaving him just 145 goals away from the record held by Bucyk, 545, set in 1978.
Although the great ones eventually slow, with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Brady being the exceptions, Pastrnak has a great chance of becoming the first Bruins player to hit 600 goals, a record that could end up standing the test of time. If he signs a lengthy eight-year extension and scores an average of 35 goals a season, he could end the deal with 617 goals, a number very significant to the Boston area.
Of course, all of this analysis could be for nothing if the Bruins don’t sign Pastrnak to a new deal. Ultimately, he represents the next generation of superstars, who will carry the torch when Bergeron and David Krejci retire, and Marchand becomes the lone member left from the last time the Bruins won the Cup in 2011. Thanks to the bright futures of players like Charlie McAvoy and Jeremy Swayman, the team has surrounded Pastrnak with the necessary tools to win both individual and team awards right now and in the future. All he needs to do is put his name on the dotted line and continue his quest to become the franchise’s best goal scorer.
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