David Pastrnak dawning the Black and Gold for the first time (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruins 2014 first round pick David Pastrnak looks pretty good in that sweater, doesn't he? He could be wearing it for the entire upcoming season if he keeps up his hard work.
The 18-year-old Czech was the talk of the weekend as development camp wrapped up in Wilmington. His speed, skill, and strength opened the eyes of Bruins management and scouts, and showed that he may in fact be NHL-ready by October. The Bruins are in need of a right wing since they lost Jarome Iginla to free agency on July 1st, and were rumored to be looking to make a trade to fill that void. But hold that thought. Pastrnak could be a cheap alternative to this trade. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli would not rule out the possibility that Pastrnak could crack the roster come October, simply stating "You never know". Chiarelli's main concern right now is Pastrnak's size, since he currently weighs around 170 pounds.
"The hesitation you have is he’s 170, 173 pounds, but he’s wiry strong, so you never know. The speed, skill, sense is all there so it would be nice, but we’ll see. He’s young and to throw someone like that at that age, at that weight – but there have been guys who have done it."
In order to invite him to training camp, the B's will have to sign him and figure out how to get him out of the final year of his contract with the Swedish League, but Chiarelli doesn't view these as serious obstacles, saying, “if I can sign him, then he’ll be in training camp.”
Pastrnak has been all smiles since arriving for development camp, describing his experience so far as "paradise". He has been playfully chirping teammates, giving fun interviews with the media, and bringing a slew of positivity overall. He would fit in nicely in the Bruins locker room, but needs to make sure he stays mature and humble no matter what happens. The veterans in the room will be great mentors for the young speedster as his hockey career takes off.
This is a perfect chance for Pastrnak to break into the NHL at 18-years-old. Training camp is still far away, but if he gets signed and impresses the team again, he has a realistic shot at making the cut. The current cap situation will also work in his favor, since the B's would love nothing more than being able to fill the vacant right wing slot with a skilled player at a low price.
I was able to watch Pastrnak at the first day of development camp, and his hands, quickness, and shot stand out right away. You don't have to be a hockey expert to see that he is something special. A real hockey expert and Bruins insider Joe Haggerty, who attends development camp every year, gave Pastrnak very high praise, stating that he is "up there with Tyler Seguin as the best offensive prospect that I've ever seen play at any of these camps". Now if that doesn't get you excited, I'm not sure what will. Whether we see Pastrnak take the ice in Boston next season or in the next couple of years, the B's clearly have a gem in this kid, and may have found the missing piece to the puzzle.