By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge
Let’s take a trip down memory lane quickly. It was June 28th, 2014. The Boston Bruins are coming off a heartbreaking game seven loss at the hands of their rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Then the words that we didn’t know would mean so much were ultimately said.
“The Boston Bruins are proud to select from Sweden, David Pastrnak,” said Bruins’ President Cam Neely. This was the 25th pick in the first round, and for some reason, I was immediately drawn to this draft pick. After watching his highlights, you could see the skill that he possessed and how he would be an impactful player.
Fast forward six years later, David Pastrnak took home the joint Rocket Richard Trophy for totaling the league’s most goals scored with 48, tied with Alexander Ovechkin. Just today, NHLNetwork ranked David Pastrank as the number two winger in the entire league, ahead of names such as Nikita Kucherov and Patrick Kane. So, how did we get here?
Rarely ever do you see a late first-round draft pick to step into the NHL in the first year after being drafted. Since Pastrnak is from the Czech Republic and played in Sweden before being drafted, he was eligible to play in the American Hockey League as an 18-year-old, which is rare. Most players have to return to their junior or college teams. Pasta, the new nickname he has been given, was called up in November of 2014 and made his NHL debut on November 24, 2014, in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
As mentioned earlier, Pastrnak was a unique player in which he could play in the AHL if he didn’t stick around in the NHL. Then General Manager Peter Chiarelli had a tough decision to make because if Pastrnak played over nine games in the NHL, the first year of his entry-level contract would be taken off. They decided to keep him up in the big leagues, and he put up 27 points in 46 games as an 18-year-old.
Pastrnak spent his first two seasons in Boston playing with different lines and getting used to the new systems. These were the two seasons that the Bruins missed out on the playoffs on the regular season’s last day. Then, in the 2016-2017 season, a star was born. Pastrnak had bulked up over the course of his two years and put up a whopping 70 points in 75 games in just his third season, totaling 36 goals to go with that.
In his fourth season, he continued to follow suit and put up 80 points in a full 82 game season, just two points shy of a point per game player. Pastrnak took his next leap to stardom in the 2018-2019 season. He put up 81 points in his 66 games. He missed time due to a hand injury. He played a key role in bringing the Bruins to the Stanley Cup and put himself on the list of one of the league’s top players.
Then for the 2019-2020 NHL season, he took another leap, if that was even possible. We all know this season was weird due to the pandemic, but before the shutdown, Pastrnak was on another level. He put up 48 goals, 47 assists, for 95 points in just 70 games. He was well on his way to a 50 goal, 100-point season. He took home the Rocket Richard Trophy, tying Ovechkin for the league’s top goalscorer.
It is crazy to say that Pastrnak now has six seasons under his belt. It seems like yesterday that he was called the Bruins’ draft pick in 2014. It is even scarier to say that Pastrnak is only 24 years old, and he may not have even hit his prime. Although he is scheduled to miss time with his hip surgery that he had in the offseason, he for sure will continue to be the superstar that he is when he returns.
We sure are lucky that we get to watch this player on a nightly basis. Let’s hope that David Pastrnak is a Boston Bruin for a very long time.