Bruins may give rookie David Pastrnak a look on top line in training camp

6:56 PM

As the focus across the hockey world shifts from rookie tournaments to training camps, the Boston Bruins appear set to give first-year forward David Pastrnak not only serious consideration to make the team, but an opportunity for a prominent role therewith.

General manager Peter Chiarelli intimated the club won't keep him around to give him bottom-six minutes, as per WEEI.

Listen, if (Pastrnak is) going to make our team, he’s going to have to play higher up in the lineup. He’s a skill guy with speed and he needs to play with skill players. Maybe when I say he’s not going to start down the lineup in preseason, in camp, it’s just, he’ll have to be with skill players because you’re not going to get what you want from him (on the fourth line).

Who knows? He might start with Krejci, I don’t know. It’s about giving him some skill players, measuring the expectation level ... Let’s take one step at a time, and a smaller body can wear down over time, so let’s see how he handles that stuff.

Pastrnak was named to the All-Tournament team at the rookie event hosted by the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, and certainly impressed head coach Claude Julien in the process.

With the departure of Jarome Iginla to Colorado and Reilly Smith still unsigned, a strong showing by Pastrnak at training camp and in preseason games may give the Bruins sufficient reason to keep him around.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Bill Streicher

July 12, 5:23 PM

David Pastrnak could help solve Bruins' salary cap woes by earning NHL roster spot

July 12, 5:23 PM

The Boston Bruins gathered their prospects at the team's practice facility in Wilmington, MA, this past week, and the clear standout was forward David Pastrnak. 

Drafted 25th overall in June, the 18-year-old largely wowed observers, as evidenced in this report from CSN's Joe Haggerty:

His soft hands and crazy handle on the puck stand out from the rest of the group and he has the vision to put both of those skills to good use. At the end of the second session, Pastrnak cut through the middle in traffic to get to the net with the puck on his stick, and completely lost his defender with a toe drag move that was just downright filthy. Those are the kinds of puck skills and razzle dazzle that have made him the unmitigated star of the first two days of camp, and get you wondering whether he might just find himself in the mix for an NHL spot given the team’s need for a right-handed shot with high-end offensive ability.

That last point was picked up by Stephen Harris of the Boston Globe, who spoke to John Ferguson Jr., Boston's new executive director of player personnel. When asked if Pastrnak is a candidate to make the 2014-15 roster, Ferguson Jr. left the door wide open for that possibility.

"We would never put any limitations on any player with that type of skill and ability," Ferguson said. "There have been players before who've done it, including guys who were drafted even lower. (Colorado’s) Ryan O’Reilly did it (in 2009) and he was drafted 33rd. (Patrice) Bergeron, of course."

"It wouldn’t be the expectation," Ferguson added. "But, again, never put a limit on a guy with that kind of talent. Watching him here, he is very elusive and very quick. He finds space and (moves laterally) amazingly well. His elusiveness is tremendous. He’s quick and he has fun on the ice, and that and his personality are infectious."

The Bruins, of course, find themselves in a tough spot in regards to the salary cap, with $1.64 million in available space (before putting Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve), with five restricted free agents looking for new deals. Pastrnak's skills, the low cost of an entry-level deal and a hole at right wing created by the departure of Jarome Iginla may just force Boston to give the youngster a long, hard look at training camp in September.

Pastrnak recorded eight goals and 16 assists in 36 games for Södertälje of Sweden's second-tier professional hockey league in 2013-14.