David Pastrnak is really trying to force the Boston Bruins’ hand.
The 18-year-old rookie is making some incredible contributions after being recalled for the second time this season. Pastrnak scored two goals Saturday in Philadelphia, and he followed that up with two more Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. One of those goals against Tampa was a highlight-reel beauty, one of the Bruins’ best so far this season.
However, the Bruins are running out of time to make a decision on the youngster. The Bruins must decide whether they want to keep him at the NHL level and burn a year of his entry-level contract or send him back to Providence. Once Pastrnak plays 10 NHL games the first year gets burned, and Tuesday’s game against the Lightning was his eighth.
“While (the contract) is a significant part of the decision, it’s not the only part of the decision,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told ESPN.com.
The results are tough to argue, and Pastrnak’s offensive talent gives the Bruins an element in their lineup they haven’t had this season. The questions about Pastrnak, as Chiarelli points out, include more than the contract. Some wonder how Pastrnak and his 6-foot, 167-pound frame can hold up over a long stretch in the NHL, especially as games get heavier down the stretch and into the playoffs.
“He’s a real talented kid, his development has been really positive in that while he didn’t have to go to Providence (at the start of the season) but made a collaborative decision and went there with an open mind knowing he had to get better on a smaller rink,” Chiarelli told ESPN.com. “He really embraced it.”
Chiarelli added that while there are plenty of things to like about Pastrnak’s play, including the chemistry with countryman and linemate David Krejci, “we just have to keep monitoring his development.”
The Bruins have won three straight since inserting Pastrnak back into the NHL lineup.
Thumbnail photo via Elise Amendola/The Associated Press
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