Boston Bruins HC Bruce Cassidy Wins 2020 Jack Adams Award

PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has officially been named the winner of the 2020 Jack Adams Award, the trophy given to the best head coach during the 2019-20 regular season.

Cassidy became the bench boss of the Bruins back in the 2016-17 season following the departure of longtime coach Claude Julien. Prior to his hiring, Cassidy was the Head Coach for Boston’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, for five seasons – only missing the postseason once.

Cassidy coached only 27 games in ’16/’17, but with the change of coaching the Bruins went 18-8-1 and managed to claw their way into the playoffs, ending a two-year playoff drought. While the Bruins fell short to the Ottawa Senators in six games, it became clear Cassidy was the right fit for the organization.

In 2017-18, the Bruins won 50 games for the first time since the 2013-14 season and made it to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In ’18-’19, Bruce Cassidy led the B’s to another near 50-win campaign, finishing the year with a 49-24-9 record. While the Bruins failed to secure the top spot in the Atlantic Division, they managed to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and swept the Carolina Hurricanes en route to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the St. Louis Blues.

That brings us to this year. Boston was undeniably the best team during the course of the regular-season prior to the pause in result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bruins finished as the only franchise to reach the 100-point plateau and as result, won the league’s Presidents’ Trophy. With a plethora of injuries throughout the campaign, Cassidy kept the train on the tracks and with the “Next Man Up” mentality, allowed the Bruins to remain contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Bruce Cassidy joins Don Cherry (1975-76), Pat Burns (1997-98), and Claude Julien (2013-14) as the only head coaches in Boston Bruins franchise history to be named the Jack Adams winner.

Philadelphia Flyers’ Alain Vigneault and Columbus Blue Jackets’ John Tortorella finished second and third respectively in the voting done by broadcasters across the league.

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Trouba’s Contract Could Play A Factor In Bruins’ McAvoy, Carlo Extensions

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

As just announced on Friday, July 19th, the New York Rangers and RFA defenceman Jacob Trouba came to an official agreement on a new contract extension. The deal, as being reported by numerous outlets, is a seven-year contract worth an average of $8 million per season until the 2025-26 campaign.

Trouba is a 6-foot-3, 202-pound defenceman who was drafted 9th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The 25-year-old has spent his entire NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets, scoring 42-137-179 numbers in 408 regular-season games. In the recent 2018-19 season, the Rochester, Michigan native hit the 50-point mark for the first time with eight goals and 42 assists in a full 82-game season.

However, cap constraints in Winnipeg led to the June 17th trade that sent Trouba to the Big Apple in New York with the Rangers in exchange for D Neal Pionk and 2019 1st Round Pick. A little over a month after the trade, the Rangers extend the young blueliner to the contract listed above.

For the Bruins, this news could end up playing a role in the continuing dialogue with fellow restricted free-agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo who are still left without a contract for the upcoming 2019-2020 NHL season.

Charlie McAvoy has played in nearly 300 less NHL games than Trouba, scoring 14-46-60 numbers in his respective 117 games. This past season, however, McAvoy’s 7-21-28 stat sheet looks somewhat sub-par compared to the 50-point plateau that Trouba reached. The reason – McAvoy underwent numerous injuries throughout the year and limited him to only 54 games on the ice.

With that said, it is highly likely that the 21-year-old McAvoy played top-two minutes alongside captain Zdeno Chara as he progresses towards being the future franchise defenceman for the Boston Bruins. The potential and growth that McAvoy is expected to reach in the coming years will have to be a talking point as well. Chara does not have much longer as a 20-plus-minute player and the Bruins need to develop McAvoy to take that role sooner rather than later.

That dependence and reliance on the defenceman are similar to the Rangers and Trouba as Jacob will most likely become one of the best defenceman, if not the best defenceman, on the New York club. As previously mentioned, Trouba has a lot more NHL experience than McAvoy – over 300 games worth – but McAvoy does have a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals under his belt, an accomplishment Trouba is lacking.

If there is one factor that allows the Bruins fanbase and the management to take a sigh of relief, it is the fact that Charlie McAvoy is not eligible to be offer-sheeted by any of the other 30 teams in the National Hockey League and possesses zero leverage. Either he plays with a new contract or he sits – nothing else.

The other RFA in the Bruins organization, Brandon Carlo, is a little more concerning. Unlike McAvoy, Carlo can receive an offer sheet from the other NHL franchises and if Boston is unable to match the offer with the salary cap that they currently have, then they run the risk of losing the 6-foot-5 d-man.

Carlo is not known to be a puck-moving, offensive defenceman like a Trouba or a McAvoy, but his role is just as important, if not more important on a successful team. Carlo is more of a ‘defensive defenceman’ and while that sounds like an obvious description of a player, it isn’t all that common in the NHL anymore with the advancements of speed and skill in all positions.

In the three years that Carlo has been on the Boston Bruins, his minutes have increased consistently. In the first two seasons, Carlo showed great developments but suffered heart-breaking injuries late in the campaign that forced him to miss the entirety of the playoffs in both years. However, for the first time in his career, Carlo was able to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Coincidence or perfect reasoning, the Bruins made it to the Cup Finals with Carlo in the lineup. The 22-year-old Colorado Springs, Colorado native averaged the third most time on the ice behind Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug with an average time of 21:31. There were several instances where Carlo prevented a true scoring chance and turned it into a chance for the Boston forwards the other way. Here are two examples from the second-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

As discussed earlier, Zdeno Chara’s career is winding down and the B’s need that replacement for the years to come after his inevitable departure. If you’re looking more along the lines of similar size and defence, Carlo is the answer. With a 6-foot-5, 212-pound frame, Carlo is a scary presence on skates and he is getting better at using that body – recording the most hits from a defenceman on the Bruins in 2018-19 with 134 hits according to Hockey Reference.

Brandon Carlo did have fewer giveaways than the newest New York Ranger and only a couple fewer takeaways, with Trouba playing only two more minutes on average per game. Both players have a large size and can skate better than older defensemen their size currently in the league.

Trouba’s seven-year, $56 million contract gives the agents of McAvoy and Carlo to have a similar comparison. In this case, McAvoy’s camp may lean against the suggested bridge deal that has many fans intrigued by. There are three things that may be discussed with Trouba and the Bruins’ blueliners and are questions that I have as well.

1. Experience

  • Does the regular season experience of Trouba out-weigh the Cup Finals experience of Carlo and McAvoy?

2. Offensive or Defensive?

  • Does an offensive defenceman mean more to a team than a defensive defenceman? Is there a comparison there? If so, could the agents of either Carlo or McAvoy use their client as an argument piece?

3. Bridge or Long-Term?

  • Does the long-term deal with Trouba mean Carlo and McAvoy will want to lean that way over a bridge deal, considering how much they claim to love playing in Boston?

Will those aspects even be in consideration? Possibly. It is also very possible that the teams of McAvoy and Carlo don’t even bring up Trouba because the differences outweigh the similarities. I personally feel that this bigger deal for Jacob Trouba with the Rangers can play a factor in the discussions for Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as the 2019 NHL offseason continues on. Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Florida: 03/23/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: BB&T Center – Sunrise, Florida, USA

Home: Florida Panthers (33-29-12, 5th in Atlantic)

Away: Boston Bruins (45-20-9, 2nd in Atlantic)

The Boston Bruins are back at it following another dominating performance on Thursday night over the New Jersey Devils, winning the game by a final score of 5-1. The team has won three consecutive games and with a win in any fashion tonight, the Bruins can clinch a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins enter the game with 99 points, six ahead of the Maple Leafs for third in the division.

The Florida Panthers have not had as good of a year as expected as they sit seven points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida comes into tonight’s contest with a 5-4-1 record in their last ten games including a 4-2 victory on March 21st over the Arizona Coyotes.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Forward Karson Kuhlman comes back into the lineup Saturday to replace Sean Kuraly. It was announced earlier today that Kuraly suffered a fracture in his hand, causing him to miss at least the next four weeks. The injury came from a blocked shot in Thursday’s 5-1 win over the Devils in New Jersey.

Marcus Johansson, Matt Grzelcyk, Kevan Miller, and Torey Krug remain out of the Bruins lineup as well due to their respective injuries. Jaroslav Halak will start as the goaltender in between the pipes for Boston.

First Period:

It’s always important to take away any home advantage when you’re the road club and the Bruins did just that. Just over two-and-a-half minutes into the first, Connor Clifton dumps the puck in the zone where David Backes recovers down low. Backes makes it look like he is going around the net, but feeds it in front of the net for Noel Acciari who buries his 5th of the season.

Not very long following that, Panthers forward Mike Hoffman is sent to the penalty box for a two-minute roughing minor. Bruins are 1-for-10 on the power-play in their last ten attempts, looking to make it 2-0 early. Thirty seconds into the PP, Marchand to Bergeron leads to a ringer off the post, so close but no cigar. Florida kills off the penalty, back to even strength.

For the remainder of the opening period, both teams had some decent chances, but it could be argued that Boston had the best of them. Chances from Bergeron, Marchand, Backes, and others piled up around the halfway mark of the frame, but Panthers netminder Samuel Montembeault held his ground, stopping all of the shots against. Period ends with the lone goal by Accari, 1-0 Bruins.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 16 FLA: 12

Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Acciari (5) Assists: Backes (12), Clifton (1)

Second Period:

Do you think the Bruins like goals early in a period? I think so too. Almost immediately into the middle regulation frame, Mike Matheson makes a bad pass behind his own goaltender, passing it right to Bergeron who feeds it right to Brad Marchand, his 32nd of the season and the B’s extend their lead to two goals.

Still within the first minute of the second, Mike Hoffman drives in on the right side of the ice towards Halak, but makes a reacharound pass around John Moore, right to Jayce Hawryluk who beats Halak for his fifth goal of the 2018-19 campaign. Florida gets the game right back to a one-goal difference only a mere sub-30 seconds after Marchand’s goal.

Florida’s tally seemed to wake them up from a slower first twenty minutes, building some quality chances within the Bruins zone. Just a little bit under five minutes into the second frame, Boston has seen very little offensive zone time and they are in a way, relying on Halak to keep them in the lead.

As many have said, defence often leads to offence and once again, it comes true for the Bruins. Charlie Coyle does a solid job keeping the puck in the offensive zone and makes a quick pass to Danton Heinen. Heinen throws the puck back, where captain Zdeno Chara skates into a beautiful wrist shot, scoring his 200th career NHL goal, the same day that it was announced that he agreed to re-sign with Boston on a one-year contract.

Florida is having issues making clean breakout passes, an issue that once hurt the Bruins earlier on in the season themselves and for Florida, it is turning into goals against. MacKenzie Weegar’s pass out of his zone gets intercepted by Karson Kuhlman in the neutral zone. Kuhlman dances around the defender and snaps a slick shot past Montembeault for his second goal this year and the Bruins all of a sudden have a 4-1 lead. Great attack pressure by Boston.

Kuhlman is back in the NHL on the B’s roster after an injury to forward Sean Kuraly in the win over the Devils, an injury that will keep Kuraly sidelined for four weeks due to a fracture in his hand. Kuhlman has done well for a player who continually finds himself tossed around the AHL and NHL.

The Panthers are not out of this game just yet, however, as Mike Hoffman once again has some space on the off-wing and rips one of his dangerous shots clean past Jaroslav Halak. Hoffman’s goal brings him to the 35-goal mark for the first time in his National Hockey League career. Florida is still dangerous and they seem fully prepared for a goal-for-goal type of game.

11:09 into the period, the Bruins go back to the man-advantage as Mike Hoffman is whistled down on a slashing minor against Danton Heinen. Unfortunately, Boston really struggled to get any life on the power-play as the Panthers PK units did a great job clearing the puck on any chances. The best chance came in the dying seconds when a David Krejci shot led to a rebound that just skipped over the stick of John Moore, penalty killed off by Florida.

Less than three minutes later, Jayce Hawryluk gets a stick caught in Brandon Carlo’s skates and he goes to the sin bin for a tripping infraction. Needing a refresher on the power-play, the Bruins want to add another goal on the board with this man-advantage. John Moore to Danton Heinen to none other than Steven Kampfer who goes post and in for his third of the season and the Bruins score five goals in a game for the third straight, 5-2.

On the ensuing neutral zone faceoff, Noel Acciari and MacKenzie Weegar agree to drop the gloves and the two exchange in a great fight, with Noel Acciari landing the harder, more accurate punches straight to the face of Weegar. Weegar tried to bring some energy to his team and the fans but he may have done the opposite there.

In the final five minutes of the middle period, the Panthers make a mistake on the line change and both Halak and Chara recognize that. Halak feeds it to the captain who makes a perfect long pass to Pastrnak’s stick. Pastrnak walks in, makes some dangles and buries Boston’s sixth of the night, 6-2. That is David’s 33rd tally of the year. That’ll essentially do it for the second.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 29 FLA: 23

Score: 6-2 Bruins – Goals: Marchand (32) Assists: Bergeron (42); Hawryluk (5) Assists: Hoffman (32); Chara (5) Unassisted; Kuhlman (2) Unassisted; Hoffman (35) Assists: Weegar (11); Kampfer (3) PP Assists: Heinen (22), Moore (9); Pastrnak (33) Assists: Chara (8), Halak (4)

Third Period:

Early in the final regulation period, Connor Clifton takes the first penalty against the Bruins, an interference minor. First time tonight Boston goes on the penalty-kill. With only nine seconds to go on Clifton’s minor, Vincent Trocheck fires a shot past Halak, cutting the lead in half, 6-3. The goal is Trocheck’s eighth of the season.

The boys look a bit slow to begin the third period, allowing quite a few shots by the Florida opposition. Nearly eight minutes in, Charlie McAvoy (roughing) and Vincent Trocheck (cross-checking) go to the box each for two minutes, resulting in some 4-on-4 time. Not much came about from it and we go back 5-on-5.

Aside from that, it was somewhat a lacklustre period from both teams until the 3-minute mark of the third. Zdeno Chara grabbed Aleksander Barkov behind his head and brought his own body weight down onto Barkov’s head that landed right on the ice. The Panthers Head Coach screamed for a penalty, but nothing comes from it as Barkov stays on the bench for some small repairs.

In the final minute, with the Florida goaltender pulled from the crease, Trocheck dives across the crease to stop the shot from going in the empty-net, but only a few seconds later, David Pastrnak to Patrice Bergeron makes it a 7-3 game and the Boston Bruins have clinched the playoffs.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 39 FLA: 34

Final Score: 7-3 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS D Zdeno Chara – 200th Career NHL Goal, 1 Assist, +3 Rating, 25:07 TOI

2nd Star: BOS G Jaroslav Halak – 31 Saves, .912 SV%

3rd Star: BOS F Danton Heinen – 2 Assists, +1 Rating, 16:27 TOI

The Boston Bruins become the second team from the Eastern Conference to clinch a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and have won their fourth straight game. Up next, off to Tampa Bay for a road game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop scheduled for 7:30pm EST.

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One Or The Other: Bruins David Pastrnak vs. Maple Leafs William Nylander

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Let’s set the scene. Your favourite NHL team keeps every single asset that they have right now but you have to make one big decision – David Pastrnak or William Nylander. Who do you choose? Which player are you going to build your future around? Before you tell me (via Twitter), the article will be my reasoning for my decision on the same exact dilemma.

One of the biggest storylines in the National Hockey League right now is the current contract situation of Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander. Nylander’s entry-level contract expired this past offseason, but the 22-year-old failed to agree on a new contract with the Maple Leafs.

Due to his restricted free-agent status, Nylander remains apart of the Maple Leafs organization but is ineligible to play for the team until a new deal is agreed upon. As you may already know, if Nylander does not sign a new contract by December 1st, 2018, then he will not be able to play for the remainder of the 2018-19 NHL regular season – a huge blow to a Maple Leafs roster. (It is fair to note that at the time of writing this article, Nylander has not yet signed a deal. If he has and you’re reading this – you know why I’m saying what I’m saying.).

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PHOTO CREDITS: (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Throughout the season so far, but especially throughout the month of November, rumours have been flying everywhere about what the Leafs should do with this situation. Trade ideas with the Carolina Hurricanes, among other teams, were running ramped at one point in time to where it seemed like a trade was going to get finalized – but nothing came about.

Of course, the dream for Toronto fans is for Nylander to re-sign with the organization on a team-friendly contract. One player that has been often named as a possible comparison is Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak. As the article goes on, the importance of this contract comparison will be looked at more in depth – so continue reading if you so wish to.

With only a couple days until the deadline, Maple Leafs fans are restless as they await the update of William Nylander – be it a trade, re-signing, or that he will be losing out on the entire season. So, just to enjoy the time of this whole event now, let’s compare Nylander to a Bruin that is often compared to him – David Pastrnak.

Basic Information – Draft Selection, Position, Height/Weight, etc.

TOR William Nylander – 22-years-old, Center, Right-handed shot, 6’0″, 191 pounds, 8th Overall (1st Round) 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Toronto Maple Leafs

BOS David Pastrnak – 22-years-old, Right-wing, Right-handed shot, 6’0″, 194 pounds, 25th Overall (1st Round) 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Boston Bruins

Physically, both Pastrnak and Nylander are very similar to one another. At the beginning of his young career, Pastrnak lacked the size deemed necessary to be effective in the NHL. Not long after, Pastrnak got in the gym and worked on gaining muscle – bringing his weight to just under the 200-pound mark.

Both players are right-handed and were drafted in the opening round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. If for some reason you base your player decision on basic information such as this, then there is no clear favourite at this point.

Personal Statistics – Goals, Assists, Points, etc.

David Pastrnak began his NHL career in the 2014-15 season, the year right after he was selected by the Bruins in the NHL Entry Draft. While only playing in 46 games that season, (also played twenty-five games with the Providence Bruins in the AHL, producing 11-17-28 totals in the timespan), Pastrnak still managed to score ten goals and seventeen assists for twenty-seven points.

Following another year with less than thirty points, Pastrnak exploded for seventy points, 34 goals and 36 assists, in only 75 games played during 2016-17. In the postseason, Pasta would add yet four points in the six-game series against the Ottawa Senators. In 2017-2018, Pastrnak once again set a career-high in goals, assists, and points, scoring thirty-five goals for eighty points in a full 82-game season. Pastrnak also had a fire lit underneath him in the playoffs, scoring 6-14-20 totals in twelve postseason games.

With the twenty-eight points that Pastrnak has in twenty-four games to start this season, it brings his career totals to 113-118-231 in 278 career games. Also, Pastrnak’s nineteen goals (as of November 27th), accounts for 28.4% of Boston’s total goals all year long – the highest percentage in the entire league as of the twenty-seventh.

David Pastrnak: 278 GP – 113G – 118A – 231P – 0.83PPG 

Unlike Pastrnak, Nylander started his NHL career in the 2015-16 season. During the 2014-14 campaign, Nylander spent time with MODO Hockey in the SHL and then played 37 games with the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate team, scoring 14-18-32 totals. Nylander scored another forty-five points for the Marlies in the ’15/’16 season, allowing him to play in only 22 NHL contests that season.

2016-17 was the first season where Nylander was full-time – playing in 81 games, scoring 22-39-61 totals in those games. William matched that exact point total during the eighty-two games last season, only putting up twenty goals but forty-one helpers. As we know, Nylander has not yet played with the Maple Leafs this season which may end up being something looked upon negatively later on as his career progresses into the future.

William Nylander: 185 GP – 48G – 87A – 135P – 0.73PPG

At face value, David Pastrnak has more goals, more assists, and more points with a better points-per-game average throughout his career than the Maple Leaf forward. Pastrnak has back-to-back 70+ point seasons while Nylander has back-to-back 61-point seasons. It is fair to note that Nylander was not getting top-line minutes with the best players in Toronto like Pastrnak has with Bergeron and Marchand in Boston. However, I give the advantage to David.

NHL Games Vs. Each Other’s Teams

TOR William Nylander Regular Season – 9GP – 4G – 2A – 7P +4 Rating

TOR William Nylander Playoffs – 7GP – 1G – 3A – 4P -3 Rating

Nylander’s best performance against Boston came on February 4th, 2017 in Boston. Nylander scored his first, and only to date, hat-trick in a 6-5 victory over the Bruins.

BOS David Pastrnak Regular Season – 13GP – 10G – 6A – 16P Even Rating

BOS David Pastrnak Playoffs – 7GP – 5G – 8A – 13P +1 Rating

Pastrnak has had some great performances against Toronto already in his career, but the best has to be on April 14th, 2018 in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Pasta scored his first career hat-trick in the playoffs while also assisting on three other goals, bringing his point total to six in the 7-3 crushing win over Toronto.

Already this season, Pastrnak has another three-goal game against the Maple Leafs, coming only a couple weeks ago on November 10th, 2018.

Contract Situation

On September 14, 2017, David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins agreed to a six-year, $40 million contract worth just under $6.7 million for every season until the 2022-23 campaign. In the final two seasons, (2021-22, 2022-23), a modified no-trade clause comes into effect, meaning Pastrnak will have to submit a list of ten teams that he cannot be traded to.

At the time of the contract signing, Pastrnak’s new cap-hit was 8.89% of the cap ceiling. I mentioned that throughout this time of rumours, Nylander’s contract was often compared to Pastrnak. Should Nylander get paid more or less than Pastrnak? Does the cap-hit percentage play a difference due to the salary cap raise over the past few years? These questions headline – and continue to headline the thoughts on William Nylander.

In my opinion, when Nylander does sign an NHL contract, even if it is not with Toronto, he will most likely make more money per season than Pastrnak, however, the cap-hit when the contract was signed will be lower than Pasta’s 8.89%. When asked if he was upset that he signed the contract with Boston when he did, Pastrnak gave this answer:

“If you asked me when I was 15 years old if I was going to be playing for $6 million a year when I’m 22, I would be like, ‘I don’t think you’re saying the truth.’ It’s just dream come true for me. I’m happy for what I’m getting. I could be playing in Czech, right? For a couple hundred bucks a month. So I’m really happy,” Pastrnak said.

From the statistics and just watching the two players play, David Pastrnak is the better player and deserves more money annually.

Final Verdict

The time has indeed come. If I had the impossible chance to choose between David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins or William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs to lead my team into the future, I am clearly going with the Czech Republic native – David Pastrnak. 

Pastrnak is the better player overall. The way the play, skate, score and the number of points that each player has accumulated so far in the National Hockey League. However, both of their career’s are just beginning and a whole lot can change ten years from now, but at the current stage of their development, David Pastrnak is the clear-cut winner and those who cast their vote on my Twitter poll a few days ago largely agreed.

Speaking of which, make sure to follow my Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) for daily NHL updates and polls such as this one! Let me know what you think about this Pastrnak vs Nylander topic, I’d love to know what you have to say!

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