It would be totally understandable if David Pastrnak was majorly bummed out about missing out on 50 goals this season.
The 24-year-old had an outside chance two seasons ago when a thumb injury caused him to miss more than a month of time while he ended up with 38 goals in 66 games, and he was robbed this season sitting at 48 goals with 12 games remaining to play in the 2019-20 NHL regular season.
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He would have been the first Bruins player to hit 50 goals in a season since Hall of Famer Cam Neely memorably did it in 49 games almost 30 years ago, and Pasta was poised to hit 50 goals and 100 points for the first time in his NHL career.
Instead, COVID-19 put the regular season on pause and left him at 48 goals and 95 points in 70 regular season games with a plus-21 rating as one of the favorites in Hart Trophy consideration this season.
The 48 goals also earned him his first Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal-scorer as he was tied with Washington Capitals scoring machine Alex Ovechkin when the season concluded. Still, Pastrnak said he was more moved by missing out on hitting the century mark in points for the first time in his NHL career rather than hitting a 50-goal mark that is rather uncommon for players wearing the Black and Gold.
"It's a little sad, but I was actually a little more mad about missing out on the 100 points than about the 50 [goals] to be honest with you,” said Pastrnak, during a Monday afternoon Zoom call with Bruins reporters. “Overall it was a good season. Sometimes there are things you can’t control and that’s what happened.
“I’m really happy and I felt good, and I’m playing with teammates and linemates that I can learn from every single day. That’s a big part I’m focusing on is a guy like [Patrice Bergeron] being my mentor and just watching him every day. Without a guy like him I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Last season, Pastrnak’s linemate Brad Marchand became the first Bruins player to get to 100 points since Jumbo Joe Thornton all the way back in the 2002-03 season, a few years before he was dealt away to the San Jose Sharks. And Pastrnak could have joined that elite club, which would be much more indicative of the development in the right winger’s overall game rather than the goal-scoring prowess that’s been there from the very start of his career.
The good thing for Pastrnak?
He’s just 24 years old and he’ll get many, many more cracks at 50 goals even if that number has eluded him over the last couple of standout NHL seasons where he’s turned into one of the premier game-breakers in the entire league.