Nick Goss

Bruins' David Pastrnak absolutely deserves Hart Trophy consideration

Pastrnak's case comes down to the immense value he provides the Bruins.

NBC Universal, Inc.

David Pastrnak doesn't get anywhere near the amount of credit he deserves for being one of the best players in the NHL.

He's been so good for so long that his performance kind of gets taken for granted sometimes.

The Boston Bruins right wing reached the 100-point mark in Tuesday's win against the Florida Panthers with his 45th goal of the season. The tally came in the second period and evened the score at two. Pastrnak also picked up the primary assist on Pavel Zacha's game-winning goal late in the third period.

Pastrnak now has three consecutive seasons of 40-plus goals, and he's one of just five Bruins players ever to tally back-to-back 100-point campaigns. His hat trick in last week's win over the Ottawa Senators moved him past Cam Neely for seventh place on the team's all-time goals leaderboard with 345. He's just 27 years old.

One specific arena where Pastrnak is not getting enough attention is the Hart Trophy conversation. He finished second in the voting to Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid last season with a career-high 113 points (61 goals, 52 assists) in 82 games. Pastrnak is on pace to surpass that mark this season and yet there's very little discussion of him being a legitimate contender for the Hart.

It's absurd.

This isn't an award for most outstanding player. That's the Ted Lindsay Award. The Hart Trophy is for the player most valuable to his team, and it's hard to find many guys who fit that description better than Pastrnak.

He leads the Bruins and ranks fifth among all players with 101 points. His 4.16 points per 60 minutes rank fifth in the league, and he's the only Bruin in the top 78. He has scored 45 goals with a career-high 56 assists. The next-closest scorer on the Bruins is Brad Marchand, who is 38 points behind Pastrnak. Marchand's 36 assists are 20 behind Pastrnak for the team lead. Boston's next-highest goal scorer is also Marchand, who sits 18 behind Pastrnak.

Pastrnak is scoring a team-high 3.38 points per 60 minutes at even strength -- almost a full point higher than Coyle (2.49) in second place. He is scoring at least 0.53 goals per 60 minutes more than all of his teammates. Pastrnak is one of the sport's most dangerous players on the power play, too. He has scored (12) or assisted (21) on 33 of Boston's 52 power-play goals.

The Bruins have just three players -- Pastrnak, Marchand and Charlie Coyle -- with 50 or more points so far. Nikita Kucherov's Tampa Bay Lightning have five. Nathan MacKinnon's Colorado Avalanche have four 50-point scorers and 10 players with double-digit goals. Connor McDavid's Edmonton Oilers have five 50-point scorers, including two (McDavid and Leon Draisaitl) who will hit 100. Auston Matthews' Toronto Maple Leafs have five 50-point scorers and four players with 23-plus goals.

Pastrnak's supporting cast is worse from a pure talent perspective than what Kucherov, MacKinnon, McDavid and Matthews have to worth with.

The Bruins lost a ton of offensive firepower in the offseason. In fact, the offseason departures represented about a third (102 of 301) of all goals Boston scored last season. Those departures included the team's top-two centers in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, as well as middle-six wings Taylor Hall and Tyler Bertuzzi.

The Bruins were expected to take a fairly significant step back in 2023-24 after setting league records for wins and points last season. And yet they are still sitting atop the Atlantic Division and trail the New York Rangers by one point for the league's best record. They could become the first repeat Presidents' Trophy winners since the Washington Capitals in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Why are the Bruins still a top-tier team? Pastrnak is the primary reason. He's elevated his already elite scoring production to an even higher level this season. Lots of players have a strong Hart Trophy case this year. There's no clear frontrunner like McDavid was a year ago.

Pastrnak absolutely should be front and center in the award's conversation if he continues to play at this rate.

Contact Us