The Bruins began their rookie camp round-robin tournament Saturday against the Florida Panthers in Tennessee, and top forward prospect David Pastrnak started at center on the top line alongside wingers Anthony Camara and Seth Griffith.
The B’s selected Pastrnak with the 25th overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft to bolster the organization’s depth at right wing following the free-agent departures of veteran forwards Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton. Even though Pastrnak is a natural winger with the right-handed shot, speed and scoring talent that the B’s covet, he’s receiving ice time at center during rookie camp to help develop his defensive skills, among other areas of his game that need improvement.
“As a centerman, you have to do more away from the puck and it will be good for him…to show what he’s got in that area of the game,” Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney said, per the team’s Twitter account.
Unlike other top prospects who boast a tremendous offensive skill set, Pastrnak is committed to improving his defensive game and displays a very strong work ethic on and off the ice.
“I love his infectious personality and really, he just shows up wanting to play hockey and get better. He came over early on his own right to sort of get acclimated,” Sweeney said Thursday after the first rookie camp skate at Ristuccia Arena.
“He’s made a few trips back and forth, which, you know, asked him, is he tired at all? He gives us a smile, no way. This is about wanting to play hockey. His skill set sort of separates him at times because it’s awfully good. We’ve got him playing some center and some wing, just to get him comfortable. But he’s excited, and we as an organization to have him part of our group.”
Pastrnak played well, but the Bruins offense as a whole struggled as the Panthers won 2-0. Panthers forward prospects Steven Hodges and Cody Payne scored the goals.
The B’s will play the Tampa Bay Lightning rookies and prospects Sunday at 4 p.m. local time.
— Bruins forward lines to start the game looked like this (per team’s Twitter account):
Matt Lindblad-Ben Sexton-Brian Ferlin
Andrew Ammon-Cory Kane-Alex Fällström
Mitchell Dempsey-Spencer Asuchak-Kevin Sullivan
— Pastrnak put on a good show for the fans in attendance. He also used his skill to create a first-period power play.
Pastrnak is really good. Just dangled through the last defenseman between him and Brittain for a quality chance and drew a slashing penalty—
Kristopher Martel (@ThePredatorial) September 13, 2014
He earned a penalty shot in the third period but hit the post.
— Bruins defense pairings to start the game were as follows:
Linus Arnesson-Chris Casto
Mike Young-Frankie Simonelli
Lee Moffie-Bryce Aneloski
For more on B’s defenseman prospect Linus Arnesson, click here.
— Malcolm Subban started in net for Boston. He allowed two goals.
— Matt Lindblad captained the Bruins, while Chris Casto and Alex Fällström both served as alternate captains.
— Aaron Ekblad, who the Panthers selected with the top pick in the 2014 NHL draft, wore No. 5 in Saturday’s contest and was paired with Jonathan Racine. Ekblad was the first defenseman taken No. 1 overall since Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche) in 2006.
— Florida’s captains:
Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) September 13, 2014
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