Forget "under 25" and forget "in Boston" — David Pastrnak might be one of the best 20 hockey players alive.
Such a claim will probably get more pushback now than it would have during last regular season, but it all boils down to whether the Czech star's postseason disappearing act was just a bad month or a sign of what's to come. You'd have to be really pessimistic to think it's the latter.
Pastrnak finished fourth in the NHL in goals per game with .58. His "social injury" prevented him from what was going to be an easy 40-goal season, so he had to settle for a career-high 38 goals in 66 games.
The performance marked Pastrnak's third straight 30-goal campaign, as he posted 34 in 2016-17 and 35 in 2017-18. The fact that he’s become such a consistent scorer made it all the more puzzling when he was able to muster only one even-strength goal over the final 12 games of the postseason.
After being an injury away from 40 goals last season, that should be the expectation this season.
Would it really be crazy to see a 50-goal season out of him at some point? There were only two last season (Alex Ovechkin and Leon Draisaitl), but Pastrnak is only 23. He’s going to get better.
One can’t rule out him finishing a season atop the league in goals.