The Bruins made the move everyone expected when they summoned forward David Pastrnak from Providence of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.
Pastrnak recently played for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship and then played one game for the P-Bruins over the weekend.
The question now is what can Pastrnak do to help the struggling Bruins and what role will they use him in?
At practice at TD Garden on Tuesday, Pastrnak was one of four players skating on a line in a white sweater. Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Seth Griffith were the others in white. That would lead one to believe that coach Claude Julien would consider putting Pastrnak on Krejci’s line maybe as soon as the Bruins’ game Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Pastrnak, the Bruins’ 2014 first-round pick, has the offensive skills to play a top-six role. But his inexperience with North American hockey and his listed weight of 167 pounds might lead one to believe he’s not quite ready to be a NHL star. In five NHL games this season, he has one assist. In the AHL he had 27 points in 24 games.
The last time the Bruins called up Pastrnak, he started out on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. After two games he was moved down the depth chart and his stint in Boston ended with a healthy scratch.
Julien said that as of his post-practice media talk, he wasn’t sure what the plan was for Pastrnak this time around.
“I definitely have to talk to our group here and see how they want him to be utilized,” Julien said. “Again, we don’t make these decisions, or I don’t make those decisions, by myself. I work with my general manager and we look at the situation. He’s come back from the World Juniors. Is he still tired? What’s the situation? Do they just want to get him into a few practices before we put him in the game?”
Pastrnak can play four more NHL games before his entry-level contract starts with Boston. That would rush his eligibility for arbitration down the road. Clearly, there are more things at play right now than just considering if Pastrnak is good enough to play for the Bruins. Just another cloudy situation in a murky season.