It seems like no matter how much change the Boston Bruins see these days, it doesn’t deter them from consistently being one of the best teams in the game. We saw it occur last season when they won the President’s Trophy with nobody else in the league remotely gaining ground on them.
This season, Boston has 71 points, and as of Monday afternoon, they are tied with the surprising Vancouver Canucks for the league lead. Therefore, if the Bruins get a good jump in the initial games following the All-Star Break, they could find themselves leading the pack heading into the trade deadline and beyond.
Such a status will entice a rental or two as they look to finish what they started last season, but it may also put them in their best position yet to snag their second straight Presidents’ Trophy. So which X-Factors will decide whether the Bruins will once again reach the NHL’s highest points total?
David Pastrnak must keep up his epic Hart Trophy run
David Pastrnak is arguably the NHL’s best player following the All-Star Break, continuing what was a fantastic year last season when he finished with 113 points and 61 goals. While Pastrnak may not reach the latter mark again this year, his stellar play is pacing the Bruins by 25 points, showing us just how valuable his performances have been for the Eastern Conference’s top team.
But Pastrnak isn’t just a points scorer who has no defense to his game, evidenced by his 35 takeaways and plus-16 rating. His advanced stats in the Corsi and Fenwick at 5-on-5 are the most eye-popping, as despite a nearly 60-40 ratio between offensive and defensive zone starts, his Corsi and Fenwick sit at just 52.0 and 51.4, respectively, once again showing us that his game isn’t all offense.
That said, Pastrnak is at his best when the Bruins have the puck, as he is not afraid to take chances. He led the league in shots on goal last season with 407 and is right up there again with 248. He also had 109 giveaways in 2022-23 and 46 so far this season, but despite those numbers, Pastrnak’s high-risk play works, and if he keeps it up, Boston will remain in the hunt for the Presidents’ Trophy.