David Pastrnak recently re-joined his Boston Bruins teammates for practice as he recovers from offseason hip surgery.
While the right winger is making good progress in his rehab -- he's ahead of schedule from the original return date of mid-February -- there are still more steps for him to take before a return to game action happens.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy gave a positive update on Pastrnak when asked Wednesday when the 24-year-old forward might remove the red jersey and practice as normal.
"He's got a little bit of that to go. I would say best guess would be he would be in with us through this week in a red (non-contact jersey), stay-out-of-the-heavy-stuff," Cassidy said on a Zoom call. "Hopefully by next week he joins us and then see how close he is to game-ready. Where that puts him exactly, I don't know. It's probably a little early for that.
"But as I said before, I think it was a couple weeks ago, he is ahead of schedule from the original mid-February date. How much remains to be seen -- a bit like (Brad Marchand) at the end there. The contact part started, he had to leave a couple practices because you just don't know how you're going to react. That's the unknown with Pasta going forward. The rest of his rehab's going very well -- saw him on the ice today.
"It would just be how much could he recover from contact, and then when he's fully cleared to be out of harm's way with contact. That's still a little bit away, but should be before his original date of mid-February."
The Bruins need Pastrnak back soon given their offensive struggles through the first three games of the season. Boston has scored zero even-strength goals and just three total (two on the power play, one shorthanded).
Pastrnak tied for the league lead with 48 goals scored last season, and he also paced the Bruins with 95 points in 70 games. His return won't fix all of the Bruins' problems offensively, but it will certainly help to get one of the league's premier scorers back in the lineup.