COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: David Pastrnak
Countdown to camp: David Pastrnak
From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2017-18 Bruins. Today: David Pastrnak.
David Pastrnak, 21, broke out for 34 goals and 70 points last season in his third and final year on an entry-level contract and joined some very select company. Pastrnak has been targeted for NHL stardom since he stuck around the NHL as the youngest player in the league a couple of years ago. He began really paying off on that promise last season. With Pastrnak unsigned and camp just a couple of days away, it’s now just a waiting game to see how much it’s going to take to get him back in the fold. The Bruins need Pastrnak, along with fellow first-round pick Charlie McAvoy, as a key cornerstone of their future.
What Happened Last Year
Pastrnak spent nearly all summer in Boston a year ago and worked hard with the Bruins training staff to gain size and strength that allowed him to be stronger on the puck. That paid immediate dividends once he returned from the World Cup and allowed him to score 34 goals and 70 points in a breakout season at age 20. Pastrnak showed his skating speed, dangerous shot, playmaking and all-around game-breaking skills throughout the season, and was Boston’s best offensive player, along with Brad Marchand, down the stretch into the playoffs. It was noticeable that Pastrnak got more involved in the battle areas, was stronger on the puck creating plays and became a dominant force as a result. Clearly, there are still puck management issues to be worked out and Pastrnak struggled a bit in the playoffs, but Pastrnak showed that he’s going to be a major star in the NHL with his performance.
Questions To Be Answered This Season
The biggest question with Pastrnak is when is he going to sign? And for how much? The Bruins are clearly being very careful in their negotiations. A prolonged holdout that eats up most of camp or spills into the season could have major negative impact on the Bruins and the player himself. It appears there’s a wide gap between the team and Pastrnak’s camp. Camp opening stands just a couple of days away and the Bruins don’t have any game-breaking wingers capable of replacing what Pastrnak brings to the table after his 34 goals and 70 points last season. Clearly, there will still be questions as to whether Pastrnak can live up to the contract once it’s been signed, but a quick look at the past 20 years of NHL history shows that players putting up numbers like Pasta's at 20 go on to be stud NHL players.
In Their Words
“100 percent. I obviously love it here. This is where they gave me the opportunity to be in the NHL. It’s not something I was focusing on all season, so I’m not really going to think about it now. It’s not in my hands. It’s in the hands of management and my agent. Both sides have seen these situations a million times, so I’ll let them handle it.” - Pastrnak, when asked at the end of last season about a deal getting done with the Bruins.
The first order of business is getting a contract done in a timely manner and perhaps get some preseason action in before the real games get going. Some of Pastrnak’s season could hinge on just how smoothly things go over the next few weeks between the restricted free agent and the Bruins, but there’s no reason to think that Pastrnak won’t continue pushing his production into the 35-40 goals and 80-points range as he matures into the prime of his game-breaking career. It’s likely that Pastrnak is going to play with David Krejci and play a prominent role on Boston’s top power-play unit, so the chances to score bundles of points are going to be there. As long as he’s signed and can avoid any serious injuries, the sky is the limit for Pastrnak for the foreseeable future in the NHL. That's why the Bruins should be okay giving him exactly what he’s worth in a second contract and then watching him go out and produce in the best years of his NHL career. The future is indeed very bright for No. 88 and it should be in Boston for the next decade or so.