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Drafting David Pastrnak 25th overall back in 2014 is looking more and more like a steal after each passing game.
Pastrnak scored a pair of goals in the Bruins 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers Tuesday night, including an overtime game-winner that put Cats goaltender Roberto Luongo’s jock-strap to the rafters, and sent B’s fans into pandemonium at the TD Garden thus lifting his total to 15 on the season.
Pastrnak’s rise from a skinny hopeful to a scoring machine is just one of a few things I want to discuss here while also hitting on some other Bruins takes from the past week or so. Let’s get started:
THE KIDS CAN PLAY
I believe it was during the 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes last week when I noticed the significant progress both Colin Miller and Joe Morrow have made as defensemen. Earlier this season these two looked extremely rusty and not too sure of themselves or any decision they made. Now, each guy seems to be in a zone where they’re seeing the ice really well and if they make a mistake, they recover nicely.
Morrow in particular seems to have developed an edge that is complimenting his superb skating ability perfectly. Miller seems so much more smooth in everything he does and is executing that clean first outlet pass more often than not. With this pair playing how they are, B’s management will have a tough decision once everyone returns because right now, neither of these two deserve to be relegated to the press box.
Rumors surfaced earlier this week that Ryan Spooner was being shopped and that the New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, and Carolina Hurricanes all inquired about the 24-year-old. Spooner hasn’t produced at the level most expected he would after a breakout season last year in which he recorded 13 goals and 49 points. Through 25 games this year, Spooner has only put up three goals and nine points, prompting general manager Don Sweeney to look for other options down the middle.
I’m always hesitant to trade away a young player because it seems whenever the B’s do it, that same player flourishes elsewhere (see Seguin, Reilly Smith, Wheeler to name a few). I understand Spooner is struggling but I want to remind everyone this is his second full year in the NHL and traditionally, players drop off a little in their sophomore campaign.
Obviously the return in this potential deal is huge and although scoring depth is a problem, I think a top four defenseman is still a priority. Yes Brandon Carlo has been great and all but if you’re telling me you’re content withAdam McQuaid and Kevan Miller as two of your top six defensemen for 60 more games, you’re a little crazy. Not to mention Zdeno Chara might not even make it to April given his injury trouble this year, I think it’s pretty obvious a reliable, seasoned defenseman is on the docket for Sweeney to acquire.
Spooner did play well against the Panthers the other night but if the right deal comes up for a guy like Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks, I’d make that move. There are just too many forwards battling for spots right now and sooner or later, one of them is going to have to be sent packing so while I wouldn’t jump at trading Spooner quite yet, I think packaging him for a quality rearguard would be ideal.
SCHALLER TURNING HEADS
Did anyone think Tim Schaller would be tied with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci in goals scored three weeks out from Christmas? That would be a no. After scoring the first goal in the win over Florida, the Merrimack, New Hampshire native has stepped into a lineup craving offense and has been one of the most reliable scorers for this year’s Bruins team potting four goals.
I’ve been very impressed with Schaller’s game until now and enjoy his hustle and grit he puts forth shift after shift. Hopefully things work out for this kid because he’s much more skilled than some people realize and his size makes him a difficult to stop once he gets going.
PASTRNAK PAYED OFF
What else is there to say about him?
He’s clearly an offensive juggernaut that is putting this team on his shoulders and his evolution in just over two years has been spectacular.
I had a feeling before the season that if he was healthy the B’s would be in good shape, but I did not expect this magnitude of goal scoring we’ve gotten from him so far.
All’s I can say is that Sweeney needs to lock him up as soon as possible this summer because there is something special with him that they can’t afford to lose.
Tied for third in the NHL in goals with Wayne Simmonds and trailing only Sidney Crosby and Patrik Laine (17 goals), it’s clear the 20-year-old from the Czech Republic is making his mark as a force to be reckoned with.
Let’s pray he doesn’t get traded (I’m only half-joking).