By Matthew Cunha
With the 24th pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, the Boston Bruins selected Czech forward David Pastrnak. 23 teams passed on the young forward. Two years later the 20 year-old forward is third in the National Hockey League with 15 goals entering Wednesday’s night game against Washington. The young forward has carried the offense for a Bruins team who has struggled to score this season.
The Bruins have scored a total of 63 goals so far this season, which means Pastrnak’s 15 goals is close to a quarter of their total offensive output. Add in his 6 assists and Pastrnak has been a part of one-third of all the Bruins goals this season. He’s done this, while also missing 5 games. In the games he has played, Pastrnak has been a point a game player alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron and there is no reason to believe that he will not keep up this offensive production.
In years past, Claude Julien has been known to be hard on young offensive players who don’t take care of things in the defensive zone and things were no different for Pastrnak. This season, things have been different and Pastrnak is tied for third in the league with a plus minus of 15. Playing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand may have something to do with that, but Pastrnak is +5 ahead of even Marchand.
A big part of the success of Pastrnak so far this season has been the weight he has put on since his NHL début. Pastrnak has packed 24 pounds onto the 168 pound frame he touted as he entered the league in 2014. His bigger frame has allowed him to: win more puck battles, get into goal scoring areas which added to his skill set, and you have the recipe for an élite goal scorer. Which is something that the Bruins have lacked for with consistency. His Monday night overtime goal vs the Panthers was a prime of example of the goal scoring prowess the 20-year old posesses.
Going forward, someone on the Bruins besides Tuukka Rask is going to have to help the kid out if they have playoff aspirations. Although he is on pace to score 48 to 49 goals (without taking into effect his missed games), no one NHL player can lead their team to the promise land. But it sure is awesome to have a guy in the back and gold who can regularly put the puck in the net.
After posting, Pastrnak scored his 16th goal of the season in the 2nd period vs Washington.
Matthew Cunha is a producer on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.