David Pastrnak is having himself a career season with the Bruins.
The Boston winger has a league-leading 47 goals and 45 assists. He has a very realistic chance of eclipsing the 50-goal mark — something that hasn’t been done by a Bruin since Cam Neely did so in 1993-94.
The 23-year-old has been consistent and has helped keep the Black and Gold atop the NHL standings as they look to make another lengthy Stanley Cup run.
But cases have been made for Pastrnak to win the Hart Trophy come June and has the fourth-best odds to win the coveted MVP. It’s no surprise Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are atop those odds, but The Athletic’s Jonathan Willis believes Pastrnak poses as one of the duo’s “biggest threats.”
On a per-minute rate, Pastrnak is one of just four players in hockey to be scoring more than three points per hour at 5-on-5: he trails Artemi Panarin, Evgeni Malkin and (narrowly) Marchand. His line with Marchand and perennial Selke winner Patrice Bergeron might be the single-best forward trio in the NHL, rocking an almost unbelievable goal differential and the kind of glorious underlying numbers that have followed Bergeron around throughout his distinguished career. As a unit, they’re outscoring the opposition at an almost 2:1 clip.
They’re also lethal with the man advantage. Pastrnak is averaging a whopping eight points per hour — more than half of those are goals — in 5-on-4 situations. He’s the best power play goal-scorer in the NHL and in terms of points, trails only McDavid and Draisaitl.
Pastrnak is a compelling candidate, especially if he wins the league’s goal-scoring race, but the funny thing is that most of the factors that might cause a voter to look past McDavid and Draisaitl might also lead them to overlook Pastrnak. He’s getting elite help, he’s cashing a ton of points on the power play and there’s a decent argument that he isn’t even the best player on his own team.
Those points on the power play Pastrnak have put him in a league of his own this season.
While we’re sure Pastrnak wouldn’t mind adding some hardware to his résumé, his focus likely is on getting back to the Stanley Cup.
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