Do David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have the staying power required to stand in the award-winners’ circle?
A trio of NHL.com writers assessed the Boston Bruins right wing’s and left wing’s chances of winning the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s points leader Thursday. Pastrnak currently leads the race with 30 points, and Marchand is in third place with 28. So can either Bruins star become Boston’s first Art Ross Trophy winner since Bobby Orr in 1974-75?
Although Pastrnak is enjoying what looks like a career year, NHL.com staff writer Amalie Benjamin believes Marchand simply is conducting business as usual.
“I’d worry about sounding like a homer, but it’s hard to be a homer when you’re voting for a top point-producer on the best line in hockey on the best team in the NHL, a player who might just be having his best year yet,” Benjamin wrote. “Yup, I’m going with Marchand. While teammate David Pastrnak right now has Marchand beat by two points — 30 to 28 in 15 games played — it’s Marchand who will come out on top in the Art Ross race. This is a player who hit 100 points for the first time last season and didn’t think he was at his best. His puck-handling is unbelievable. His shot is at times unbeatable. His linemates are unmatched. Love him or hate him, homer or not, Marchand is going to be your Art Ross winner.”
Staff writer Tracey Myers believes the red-hot form Pastrnak has enjoyed this season signals his arrival among the NHL’s elite forwards.
“… I like Amalie’s argument for Marchand,” Myers wrote. “I’m on board with a Bruins player, too, but I’m sold on Pastrnak winning it this season. He’s going at an incredible clip. Pastrnak has at least one point in 13 straight games (30 points; 15 goals, 15 assists) and has scored two or more points in nine of 15 games this season. Pastrnak is playing with confidence, and for good reason. Coming off two consecutive seasons when he scored at least 80 points, he’ll break through this season and win the Art Ross.”
Columnist Dave Stubbs offers a Montreal-centric view for why Marchand will win the Art Ross trophy.
“… I’ll predict the title goes to Marchand just because it will be fun to watch Canadiens fans chew their own arms off when it happens,” Stubbs wrote. “Marchand, the guy you love if he’s on your team and loathe if he isn’t, is black-and-gold Public Enemy No. 1 in Montreal. My black heart says it will be Marchand, who plays a sandpaper game that’s similar to that of the first winner of the Art Ross in 1947-48, “Punch Line” center Elmer Lach, who played between Maurice Richard and Toe Blake with the Canadiens on the most potent line of the 1940s.”
With one month of the 2019-20 regular season in the books, the NHL landscape starts to come into focus. Like their team, Pastrnak and Marchand are among the pack leaders. The coming months and weeks will determine whether they remain in place.