WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Training camp is still two weeks away, but David Pastrnak has already sparked excitement for the Boston Bruins.
The team’s first-round pick (No. 25 overall) at last June’s NHL Entry Draft, the 18-year-old forward showcased his ability during the Bruins' development camp in July, and now he’s been in town and skating with his future teammates in order to have a better chance of earning a roster spot when camp breaks.
Pastrnak was among a large group of Bruins players, prospects and other local NHLers participating in captains' practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena. Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron ran the hour-and-a-half session and he’s been impressed with Pastrnak’s on-ice ability.
“I saw him a few times. He’s very fast, skilled. He battles hard. I know it’s early, but he seems to be really hard on the puck and wants it. It’s great to have him and he seems to be a great player,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron learned first-hand what it’s like to arrive at your first NHL training camp without knowing anyone or the language. He was 18 prior to the 2003-2004 season, and not only was he the best player on the ice for the Bruins during training camp, he had to learn English and life off the ice. Bergeron’s been impressed with Pastrnak’s willingness to learn, and by the fact the rookie arrived early in order to get a jump on training camp.
“He needs to just soak everything in and just enjoy it,” Bergeron said. “He seems to be a great kid. He wants to learn and he’s very good with his English already, so that’s going to help him. He seems excited and looking forward to it. I think it’s nice for him to get here early and get to know the guys, but also the surroundings and the city. It’s going to help him but I’ll be there for him if he needs some help and I’m sure the other guys will be as well.”
With the Bruins’ roster pretty much set, there will be just two forward positions up for grabs during training camp. Pastrnak has a decent chance of earning a spot.
“It’s nice to have all the young guys we have right now pushing for a spot. It’s healthy competition and you need that, especially in training camp. It’s not my decision, for sure, but he seems to be a great player and we’ll see in the next few weeks,” Bergeron said.