COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: DAVID PASTRNAK
Countdown to camp: David Pasternak
From now until the beginning of training camp, CSN Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: David Pastrnak.
It’s no coincidence that Cam Neely pointed toward David Pastrnak as one of the young players that really needs to step up for the Bruins this season. After two seasons where the 20-year-old showed his massive offensive potential as one of the youngest players in the NHL, Pastrnak is entering the stage where he needs to put up full, productive seasons with his potential finally being realized. Many young NHL players hit their stride in their third season and it should be lining up for Pastrnak to do that after playing with Team Czech Republic in the World Cup this month.
What happened last year
It was a messed-up year for Pastrnak on a number of levels. He missed a long stretch of time with a fractured foot, played for a number of teams between Boston, Providence and taking part in the World Juniors for the Czech Republic once again, and took some time to catch up to speed once he did return. Pastrnak finished with 15 goals in 51games. He ended with a flourish as one of the only B’s players showing some energy and fight at the end of the season. But the B’s are expecting more than 15 goals and 26 points from Pastrnak at this point in his career and he just needs to stay healthy to watch his production go way up. The skating speed, the shooting ability, the creativity and explosiveness are all there, he just needs to put it all together.
Questions to be answered this season
Is Pastrnak going to finally put it all together skating in a top-six role with David Krejci this season as he enters his 20’s rather than the precocious teenage prodigy he was the past two seasons? Will Pastrnak be something of a tease, flashing talent and dazzling individual plays, but not able to put it all together for long stretches in the NHL? Pastrnak isn’t yet a fully developed NHL talent at this point and he’s bounced between the NHL, AHL and World Juniors the past two seasons while still not playing on a true winning hockey team for the Black and Gold. A full, productive season playing for a team where Pastrnak can taste the playoffs would pretty much answer every question surrounding the elite talent. If Pastrnak can stay healthy this season, we’re betting big things are in store for him.
In their own words
“I’m not building up any [offensive or individual] goals or anything like that. I’m just thinking about the playoffs and getting any chance to get there and then go for the Cup. We missed [the playoffs] twice in the last couple of years by just a couple of points, and we don’t want to go there again.” –David Pastrnak, who enters his third NHL season fully in the team concept.
Pastrnak looked physically bigger, and more mature, this summer before heading off to Canada for the World Cup of Hockey. He should be entering the stage of his career where he can physically handle all aspects of the NHL game. The offensive skill is there and he’s got to be one of the most experienced 20-year-old hockey players in the world. Now, it’s a matter of taking Pastrnak’s potential and turning it into offensive production for a team that’s going to need to replace the 30 goals and 60 points they lost in Loui Eriksson. It would be a bit rich to expect Pastrnak to reach those levels with his offensive production, but 20 goals, 50 points and the potential to become a game-breaking force in all phases could do a great deal of good. Pastrnak is entering his prime years as an NHL player in a league skewed heavily to youth. Now is the time for him to really hit his stride in his third NHL season.