By Brian Mills ’18
When former General Manager Peter Chiarelli traded away Tyler Seguin in 2013, Boston fans were shocked and appalled. For the next three years, no one would truly be able to fill in the hole of what was once held by a natural born goal scorer. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are a dynamic duo, but it has been clear for years that Boston needed someone of equal or more skill to fill in that right wing slot.
Finally, three years later, it seems that the Bruins finally have the answer.
David Pastrnak is a twenty-year-old right wing that was drafted by the Bruins first round in 2014. While injuries held him back from playing much last year, he showed a great amount of potential. This year, that potential has completely exploded onto the scoreboard.
In only 21 games, the Czech native has been able to compile 15 goals and 6 assists. To give some perspective, that is the most goals scored on the Bruins and third overall in the entire National Hockey League. He is the real deal: a creative, natural-born goal scorer. He has the ability to make the players around him look better – and that’s saying a lot, considering he’s on a line with Bergeron and Marchand each night.
Statistically speaking, Pastrnak scores in 71% of the games he plays. That is second to only Sidney Crosby, the captain of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Not only is he consistently finding the back of the net, but he steps up during crucial times. One example of this can be found in an early December game against divisional rival Florida Panthers. In a game where every single point counts, the B’s were in overtime at TD Garden. A minute and a half in, Pastrnak did something that is being described as “magical.” He took a nice drop pass from a Bruins forward, deked around a defenseman, avoided the opposing goalie’s poke check, and then scored top shelf for the overtime game winner.
Pastrnak has also been an offensive weapon in the shootout. In a comeback game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the young forward readied himself at center ice for his chance to score the game winner. Bruins commentator Andy Brickley said it best, “This is just his personality. He’s drifting up to the puck in the neutral zone looking at the referee saying, ‘Can I go? Can I go? Can I go?’” As soon as he was given permission to go, he scored and ultimately completed the B’s comeback victory.
The twenty-year-old goal scorer clearly has a bright future ahead of him. And as long as he stays in Boston, the Bruins could have a bright future as well. And above all, he is finally a player that leaves Bruins fans saying, “Seguin who?”