At points last season, 20-year-old right winger David Pastrnak was bench for his inability to play Claude Julien's style of two-way hockey, which has been a focal point for the Bruins since the very beginning. Pastrnak doesn't look to be able to shave yet, nor can he buy a beer, but it looks as if the Czech product is becoming one of the cornerstone pieces to this Bruins franchise.
Over the summer, Pastrnak was clearly hitting the gym and gained pounds of muscle. Unlike last season, Pastrnak will now go down low and battle against the boards for a puck. I'm not ready to say he is the next David Backes, but Pastrnak is definitely starting to grow into his body.
Furthemore, Pastrnak has clearly been working on his finishing skills. If Pasta gets the puck with open ice in front of him or only has the goalie left to beat, then he is going to bury the puck in the back of net. In 22 games played, Pasta has 22 points with 16 goals, three of which were game-winners. Pastrnak's 16 goals are already a career-high, and it would not shock anyone if he finishes the season with numbers similar to Brad Marchand in 2015-2016. In his past four games, Pastrnak has registered at least one point and has become a focal point on offense, both on the power play and five-on-five.
The Bruins' top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak is quickly becoming one of the best lines in all of hockey. If the Bruins can get a solid top-six defenseman, which has been rumored in exchange for Ryan Spooner, then the Bruins are most certainly in business. Tuukka Rask has been clicking on all cylinders, aside from last night, and the Bruins are only five points behind Montreal for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Things are definitely trending upward for this team.