He’s only been in the league for six seasons. Yet David Pastrnak manages to take his game to another level every year.
The 23-year-old All-Star is off to another terrific start this season with six goals in as many games, including Monday’s four-goal outing against the Anaheim Ducks.
His remarkable early-season accomplishments — and stellar career to date — have Boston fans buzzing. But we’ve only just begun to see Pastrnak’s full potential according to Bruce Cassidy.
“The offensive side is there. It has been,” the fourth-year Bruins’ bench boss said following Wednesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
“I think where his game will grow is the other parts of the game — [his] play away from the puck, getting in position, those things. We were looking at film this morning and he was first back in the right spots. That’s probably something we wouldn’t have seen out of David a few years ago. Young forwards nowadays can hit their peak — we’ve seen it with a lot of guys 23, 24, 25 — [and] can really do well in this league.”
It’s hard to believe that Pastrnak, at just 23, is in his sixth full season.
No matter the situation — even-strength power play or even shorthanded — Pastrnak threatens to score every time he touches the puck.
“What he does is even if we are not finding him draws so much attention over there, teams have to be a little bit worried about him,” defenseman Torey Krug said about Pastrnak. “And now that opens up other things, whether it’s down to the bumper to Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] or a shot for myself up top. We have a lot of threats out there and he’s one of them. When he’s on you just want to get the puck in his hands and something good will happen.”
Pastrnak’s unparalleled skill set and playing style can help him take over a game at a moment’s notice.
With his mitts of marinara and charismatic personality, Pastrnak often ends up creating highlight real plays on a nightly basis. Playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand provides plenty of opportunities to get on the scoresheet.
“You can’t put a cap on a guy when he’s 23-years-old,” Krug added about Pastrnak’s potential. “I think where we still have room to grow is his defensive game and we are starting to see that turn the corner too. He wants to reach greatness and he has a couple of great players around him. He knows they push the standard every single night to be that good and he wants to be as well.”
The high-flying Czech is on pace for 82 goals this season. That otherworldly goal per game total isn’t likely, but a 50-goal campaign isn’t out of the question.
Pastrnak earned his first All-Star team nomination during his career-high 80-pont campaign last year. He may have another career year on his hands, which could very well put him in the Hart Trophy discussion.
“For me, it’s a new year. So as soon as the season started I tried to be a better player than last year,” Pastrnak said following his career afternoon on Monday. “Every year — coming into a new season — I just want to be a better player than the year before, and that’s what I’m working on.”
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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