David Pastrnak was drafted at the age of 18 by the Bruins in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Over the past nine years, Pastrnak has been playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and when the latter announced he would be stepping away from the game of hockey, the now 27-year-old sent his captain and longtime friend a heartfelt message via the Bruins social media account.

Bergy’s just an unbelievable human being … it’s been a pleasure to learn from him. It’s not always about the hockey but it’s about the humanity as well. He’s a big part of a lot of guys growing up and being good people.

I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me … I’m very grateful to know him as a friend and teammate.

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Pastrnak will be entering the first year of his eight-year, $90 million contract extension without Bergeron and possibly fellow countryman David Krejci.

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The Bruins will rely on Pastrnak to fill a void as one of the leaders on and off the ice and possibly view him as an option for the next captain of the Black and Gold.

With changes to the roster, it’s more than likely that Pavel Zacha will center Pastrnak heading into the upcoming season given the success the duo had last season down the stretch when Krejci was out of the lineup.

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Featured image via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images