Pastrnak's 50-goal season another example of Bruins' bright future


BOSTON -- There will eventually come a time when the Bruins say goodbye to Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand.

These three veterans have accomplished so much with the Original Six club, including a 2011 Stanley Cup title. Bergeron and Marchand are basically locks to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame at some point.

Whenever these three team legends decide to hang up their skates, the franchise will remain a contender in the Eastern Conference and still put an exciting product on the ice thanks to the next wave of Bruins leaders, and one of the most notable members of that group is David Pastrnak.

The superstar right wing made history Sunday by scoring his 50th (and 51st) goal of the season. He's just the sixth player in Bruins history to achieve this feat and the first since Cam Neely in 1993-94. 

"It's pretty special. It's even better with the win," Pastrnak told reporters after the Bruins' 4-3 shootout win in Carolina on Sunday.

"I came close a couple years ago. You never know what can happen. I had plenty of games to get there and, and all of a sudden Covid happened. It's definitely special. It's been a long way and obviously big thanks to all my teammates and my family. It's pretty cool. Even better to share it with the guys that I have here."

Pastrnak's 50 goals and almost 100 points aren't some fluke. This is the type of offensive production the team and its fans can expect to see for the rest of the decade after the 26-year-old forward recently signed an eight-year, $ 90 million contract extension.

Despite Pastrnak scoring just 25 goals in his first two seasons combined (97 games total), just four players since the start of his 2014-15 rookie campaign have found the back of the net more often. Pastrnak also has scored the fourth-most power-play goals (100) since 2014-15. 

It's not just the scoring totals that are impressive with Pastrnak -- his consistency has been just as strong.

He has scored an average of 37.8 goals over the last seven seasons. If you take out his 20 goals in 48 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, he has scored an average of 40.8 goals since the start of the 2016-17 campaign. 

Pastrnak isn't just a goal scorer, either. His playmaking is underrated. He leads the Bruins with 46 assists, and he's reached the 40-assist mark in four of the last six seasons (including this one). He's also capable of being highly productive no matter who is playing center on his line. He has scored at an elite level the last couple years with Bergeron, Krejci, Pavel Zacha and Erik Haula down the middle. 

Assuming he stays healthy, there's no reason why Pastrnak should fail to tally between 85 and 105 points per season (including 40 to 50 goals) for the rest of his prime. He has that kind of elite talent. 

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Pastrnak won't be alone in helping the Bruins transition into the post-Bergeron/Krejci/Marchand era -- whenever that time comes.

Charlie McAvoy is one of the league's best defenseman and signed through 2029-30. Hampus Lindholm is a legit first-pairing defenseman, too, and he's also signed through 2029-30. Pavel Zacha, Jake DeBrusk, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Trent Frederic, Tyler Bertuzzi, Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman are in the primes of their careers, too. Top prospects Fabian Lysell and Mason Lohrei have tremendous potential as well.

But the face of the franchise is/will be Pastrnak. He's the definition of box office, and his offensive brilliance will continue to drive the Bruins' success for many more years. 

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