David Pastrnak might end the Boston Bruins’ quarter-century wait for a 50-goal scorer if he follows Cam Neely’s instructions.
The Boston Bruins president explained to The Athletic’s Joe McDonald on Friday what the star right wing must do in order to score 50-plus goals in the 2019-20 NHL season. Neely believes Pastrnak, who scored 10 goals in the first nine games of this season, also can join the 50-goal club by emphasizing collective success over individual feats.
“You see his skill, his hands and his vision, and if he doesn’t get too selfish, then yes,” Neely said when McDonald asked whether Pastrnak can score 50 goals in 2019-20. “If you’re a goal scorer, 50 is always something you’d like to achieve. You can’t start focusing on the number as much as making sure you’re doing the right things and then, obviously, getting your chances.
“It’s very difficult to be an individual in this sport and have success. Linemates are key. The way you’re used on special teams, particularly if you’re a goal scorer on the power play, is key. The success of the power play is key. All those things are a factor in each individual’s success, notwithstanding the team’s success.”
Neely scored 50-plus goals in a season three times during his career in Boston, and his 1993-94 campaign, in which he scored 50, is the last time a Bruins player reached the hallowed mark.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and other players have spoken glowingly about Pastrnak recently amid his red-hot start to the season, and the 23 year-old has stated his intention to assume a place among the NHL’s elite perennial goal scorers.
Pastrnak can score 50 goals if he avoids major injury and continues to do the right things. His proximity to Neely assures he’ll know exactly what those things are.