At 18 years old and around 170 pounds, David Pastrnak should not be in the discussion for an NHL roster spot. But with his impressive showing at the Boston Bruins‘ development camp, Pastrnak proved he has the speed and skill to compete at the next level, and with the Bruins’ current salary cap situation, he may just get the opportunity.
With the departure of Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla, the Bruins are in desperate need of a right-handed shot. GM Peter Chiarelli is pushing to make the team faster in order to compete with the legs of the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers, and Pastrnak is about as quick as they come.
Debatably a Czech version of Sergei Samsonov, Pastrnak has an extremely quick release and a shot that seems to rarely miss the twine. But it is not just his shot and speed that makes him NHL quality; his hands and vision separated him from the rest of the prospects at the B’s camp.
Normally Chiarelli would want to give Pastrnak at least one more year to develop and hopefully pack on a few pounds before joining the big boys, but if Pastrnak were to jump into the league this season, he may adapt quicker to the pace and physically.
It is becoming more common nowadays to see 18-year-olds in the NHL. Colorado Avalanche‘s Nathan MacKinnon earned a point in his 13th consecutive game to pass Wayne Gretzky for the longest streak ever by an 18-year-old. At just 19 years old, Seth Jones was a force on the blue line for the Nashville Predators.
There is a wave of youth that is flowing into the NHL, and Pastrnak may be riding that next wave. If he continues to impress the Bruins organization, he may just find himself in the lineup come next season.