BOSTON — Barring an injury to himself or another Bruins forward, David Pastrnak will head to Finland this week to compete in the World Junior Championships, general manager Don Sweeney announced Saturday.
Sweeney said the move will be made when the NHL’s roster freeze is lifted Monday.
Pastrnak, who would suit up for his native Czech Republic in the international tournament, suffered a fracture in his left foot Oct. 27 and has not see game action at the NHL level since Oct. 31. He has played in two games for the Providence Bruins since returning to the ice, tallying one assist and posting a minus-2 rating.
If a player is not on an NHL roster Dec. 28, league regulations state he must be made available for World Juniors.
“It was in his best interest to make sure that he was fully healthy,” Sweeney said. “He is fully healthy, and now we need to get him back to where he can impact our lineup. If indeed he does join the team on the 28th over in Finland, we think that based on last year, his experience there and rolling out of that tournament with the confidence that he had, that he’ll come back to the full level that he really had last year.”
As an 18-year-old last winter, Pastrnak recorded a goal and six assists in five games for a Czech team that lost to Slovakia in the quarterfinals. He went scoreless in his first game back with the Bruins following the tournament but scored two goals in each of the next two.
Sweeney & Co. hope Pastrnak will be ready to rejoin the Bruins once he returns from Finland.
“Being out for seven weeks, that’s a long time for any player — let alone a 19-year-old player — to jump back into midstream at the National Hockey League level,” the GM said. “I think this will give him a real shot in the arm from a confidence standpoint.”
The Czech Republic’s next game is scheduled for Monday against Slovakia.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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