The Boston Bruins added speed and offensive skill to their prospect pool by selecting right winger David Pastrnak with the 25th overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft.
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Position: Right Wing
Team: Sodertalje (Allsvenskan)
2013-14 stats: 36 GP, 8 G, 16 A, 24 PIM (he scored the most points of any U-18 player in the SHL-2 going back to 1971)
Pro Player Comparison: Justin Williams, Los Angeles Kings
Pastrnak shows tremendous confidence with the puck on his stick and likes to take on defenders with fantastic puck-handling skills and electric quickness.
Similar to Bruins center David Krejci, Pastrnak is a polished skater and shows impressive patience in the attacking zone by letting the play develop and picking out the right pass. His high hockey IQ and excellent vision are the foundation of his stellar playmaking skills. He’s the type of winger who makes the players around him better and will pass the puck if a teammate has a better opportunity to score.
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Pastrnak’s shot is very powerful, and he complements that strength with a quick release. The Bruins don’t have many snipers on their top three lines, so it’s encouraging that they’ve added one on the first day of the draft.
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Where He Ranks In Bruins’ System
Top Right Wing Prospects
1) David Pastrnak
2) Brian Ferlin
3) Jared Knight
4) Alexander Fallstrom
When can Bruins fans expect Pastrnak to make an impact at the NHL level?
At 6-foot and 168 pounds, Pastrnak must add some strength because he’s not yet ready to consistently win physical battles against NHL players. The Czech winger isn’t a liability in his own end and has shown a willingness to improve defensively, but he definitely needs more experience defending on the North American ice before coming to Boston. Luckily for Pastrnak, Providence Bruins (AHL) head coach Bruce Cassidy does an amazing job helping forwards develop a two-way skill set that aids their transition to the NHL level.
At this stage in his development, Pastrnak likely won’t compete for a Bruins roster spot until at least the 2015-16 season.
Overall, Pastrnak is a complete offensive player with few weaknesses. He needs to play a more physical game and keep improving defensively, but there’s more than enough talent for him to be a productive second-line forward in the NHL for a long time.
Photo via Twitter/@NHLBruins