The Boston Bruins might be without two of their best forwards entering the 2020-21 NHL season, but according to head coach Bruce Cassidy, both Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are doing well in their rehabs.
Last month, the team announced Pastrnak had a hip procedure done in September with an expected recovery by mid-February, while Marchand underwent a sports hernia surgery in September with an expected recovery by mid-January.
In an interview with NHL.com's Amalie Benjamin, Cassidy gave an encouraging update on Marchand's and Pastrnak's progress.
"They may even be ahead of schedule, for all I know," Cassidy said. "I just know how hard those two guys work as well. … Guys that train hard will probably stay on schedule, or at least get a little bit ahead.
"So I guess we're optimistic right now where their progress is. The unknown becomes [that] it's hard to project what game they'll be in because we don't know when our first game is, right? So that's the other part of this. Right now, we're expecting to have them early in the season. But I don't know, until we get the schedules, it's hard to say that they'll miss this amount of time or that amount of time."
The NHL has not yet announced an official start date for the upcoming regular season, although TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday that the league and NHLPA "continue to maintain a Jan. 1 target date for opening night."
Given the importance of Marchand and Pastrnak to the Bruins' success, it would behoove the team not to rush them back before they are fully ready to play.
Pastrnak tied for the league lead in goals scored last season with 48, and his 95 points in 70 games led the Bruins. Marchand tallied 87 points in 70 games -- his fourth straight season scoring above a point-per-game. They are two of the best scorers in the league and the Bruins don't have the firepower to replace their production.
Luckily for the Bruins, they have a strong enough defensive structure and the quality of goaltending needed to withstand a short period without Marchand and/or Pastrnak. Boston finished last season ranked No. 1 in goals against per game, No. 1 in save percentage and No. 8 in shots on goal allowed per game.