Pastrnak Looking to Bounce Back After Disappointing Postseason
Apr 27, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) gets ready for a face-off during the first period in game two of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Throughout his short career, David Pastrnak has become one of the most exciting players in the NHL. The Czech native has continually improved since being taken in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and evolved into one of the league’s brightest stars.
Entering this upcoming season, he will be coming off a career year in limited action. With the 25-year-old healthy the Bruins are hoping their young forward can continue to join elite company.
Along with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Pastrnak has formed one of the most dangerous trios in the game. That is partly because of Pastrnak’s rise over the past three seasons.
When Pastrnak first made his NHL debut, some questioned if he could be successful due to his size. Throughout his first two years in the NHL, he scored a total of 25 goals and had 28 assists. During the 2016-2017 season, however, he finally broke out and proved all his critics wrong.
In the winger’s third season, he reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career. Pastrnak also surpassed 30 assists, validating his draft position and the promise that the Bruins saw in him. Since then those numbers have become a normal occurrence, but last year he reached new heights.
Even though Pastrnak missed 16 games (his most since his second NHL season) he still set career highs in every offensive category. In just 66 games the fifth-year forward had 38 goals and 43 assists. He was deadly on the man advantage, as 33 of his 81 points came on the powerplay.
Additionally, Pastrank was more productive when he had the puck in years past. He was only able to land 235 shots on net, which was his lowest total since 2015-2016. He also shot the puck a career-high 16.2 percent of the time. Although those numbers are partly impacted by his health, it shows how good of a season Pastrnak was having before a thumb injury forced him to miss five weeks.
In the playoffs, however, like many of his teammates, Pastrnak did not live up to expectations. The talented winger was able to record 19 points but only produced nine goals. In the Stanley Cup Final, he only had two goals as the Bruins top line failed to make much of an impact.
Pastrnak, in particular, struggled as he reaggravated his injury against Columbus, which changed his style of play. He was not his usual dynamic self and struggled to move the puck. As a result, the Bruins offense lost one of its deadliest weapons when it mattered most as his confidence wavered.
Despite the disappointing ending, Pastrnak will look to start this upcoming season fresh. Other than last season, health had not been an issue with the dynamic forward as the two seasons prior he only missed seven games combined. He is already one of hockey’s best players with a bright future ahead; now he needs to take the next step and improve in May and June.