By Tim Rosenthal, Bruins Daily
Earlier on Thursday, Cam Neely appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Mazz” program and informed Bruins fans that the team had made a decision about David Pastrnak’s status with the Bruins for the rest of the 2014-15 season. The Bruins president, however, declined to reveal the team’s intentions.
Hours later, GM Peter Chiarelli broke the news to reporters during the first intermission of the Bruins-Rangers game. To no one’s surprise, the native of the Czech Republic will stay with the Bruins past the ninth game of his rookie season.
And now Chiarelli hopes that Pastrnak will stay with the big club – after spending his first few months in Providence – for the rest of the season.
“He’s going to be up here and we’re happy to make that decision and we’re going to continue to look at it as a development piece,” Chiarelli said.
“He’s still got a lot of work to do, but he’s got a lot going for him.”
When Pastrnak tallied four goals in two games against the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, the calls for the 18-year old to stay in Boston increased from Bruins fans and media. Before that, speculation grew rampant that Chiarelli would search for a first-line winger to play with Milan Lucic and David Krejci via the trade market.
It’s only been a couple of games, but Pastrnak has quieted all the trade speculation skating with Krejci. Lucic joined the trio during Tuesday’s game with the Lightning and whether the trio stays together remains to be seen, but for the time being they have things going in the right direction.
“Those games were important in influencing our decision,” Chiarelli said about Pastrnak’s performance against Tampa and Philly. “He has a couple of offensive explosions for us up here when he was called back up. He’s a good kid, and he’s a player that has earned his opportunity.”
In addition to his two stints with the Providence Bruins, Pastrnak served his country during the World Junior Championships from late December to early January. It’s safe to say that he’s made the most out of every opportunity he’s had so far in his first season of hockey in North America.
Still, Pastrnak is likely to go through some setbacks, as he did against the Rangers where he only fired one shot and committed two turnovers in 12:52 of ice time.
“He’s a young player that certainly has improved from Day 1 until now,” head coach Claude Julien. “As you saw tonight too, there’s some heavy games where it’s a bit more of a challenge for a player, but he’s definitely a great player.”
“I think we all want him here,” the eight-year Bruins bench boss added. “I think the decision that was made was pretty unanimous as far as ‘should we keep him past the 10 game mark.’ As far I was concerned, as a coach I want him on my team and I’m sure management felt the same way.”
Just as Pastrnak gets the support from the coaches and upper management, the Bruins locker room has embraced the rookie with open arms.
“We take him as a normal guy. Even though he’s an 18-year old, he’s mature enough to be in this league,” Krejci said about his countryman. “He gets along pretty good in the dressing room, guys like him [a lot]. He always comes in with a smile on his face and it’s very good to have him around.”
Pastrnak has a lot of maturity ahead of him. This is still the beginning of the road as he tries to live up to his potential as a bonafide forward in the NHL. He’s looking forward to the challenge.
“Like I said, I just want to keep working hard,” Pastrnak said. “I’m going to be staying with the team all season, so I want to keep working hard and help the team.”