David Pastrnak won't be joining the Boston Bruins for their opening road trip of the 2020-21 NHL season, but the superstar winger is making progress in his recovery from offseason surgery.
Pastrnak underwent a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16. His expected recovery time was five months, which would be in the middle of February.
It's possible he could return sooner than that. He was seen at Bruins practice wearing a non-contact jersey Tuesday.
What's the latest on Pastrnak's return? Bruins general manager Don Sweeney provided an update during a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday afternoon.
"No, I know that (coach Bruce Cassidy) alluded to it that he might be ahead of schedule. We don’t pick any one particular day that we circled on the calendar," Sweeney said. "We’ll allow him to go through his progressions so our training staff, our entire medical group and the strength and conditioning side of it can find out where he’s at and continue to increase his load overall as he goes through. You saw him with a bunch of players today integrating into some of those situations, which is really his first day. And he’ll continue to do that as he goes along while we’re on the road.
"Unfortunately, he won’t be with us on the road to do some of those battle situations and we don’t have extra players around to be able to facilitate that. But we expect him to fully re-integrate into practice upon our return and then we’ll get a much better indication of where he is, sort of circling a date sometime in February."
Pastrnak is the Bruins' most talented player and led the team in scoring last season with 95 points (48 goals, 47 assists) in 70 games. His 48 goals tied Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin for the league lead.
The Bruins open the season on the road with a matchup versus the New Jersey Devils. They'll play the Devils again Saturday and the New York Islanders on Monday before returning to Boston for their home opener next Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.