Player: David Pastrnak
Drafted By: Boston Bruins (25th overall)
Position: Left Wing/Right Wing
Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: No. 5 European skater
Height/Weight: 5'10'', 165 lbs
DOB: May 25, 1996 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: Swe-1, Sodertalje SK
After spending a majority of his formative years playing in his home country of the Czech Republic, David Pastrnak moved to Sweden's Sodertalje SK for the 2012-13 campaign. There he scored three points in 11 games, gaining the attention of the Severstal Cheropovets of the KHL.
They selected him in the first round of the 2013 KHL Junior Draft, but Pastrnak continued to ply his trade in Sweden to await the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The move seems to have paid off, as few European players have rocketed up the charts like the small but exciting forward.
Draft eligible David Pastrnak scored the most points of any U18 player in the SHL-2 going back to 1971 http://t.co/1WaYPkzZoM— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 21, 2014
Pastrnak was part of the Czech Republic's bronze medal effort at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last August. He also took part in the IIHF U20 World Junior Championship for the Czechs. The only downside to Pastrnak's 2013-14 campaign was suffering a concussion, which resulted in him missing time in February, as well as the Five Nations Tournament in Russia.
Full Scouting Report
The word most commonly used to describe Pastrnak is "electric." At his best, the Havirov native holds onto the puck and opens up passing lanes using his speed in an east-west attacking scheme.
Pasternak is a flashy, electrifying offensive talent with gifted hands and shiftiness in his feet. He also has a bullet shot and is a very dangerous finisher. He uses quickness and good lateral elusiveness to avoid bigger opponents.
The folks at HockeysFuture.com shared this sentiment:
Pastrnak is an exciting offensive player hailing from the Czech Republic who has flair and loves to be dangerous. He thrives in situations where he can carry the puck and dish it off when he feels fit. Also tends to be strongest when incorporating an east-west game while on the attack. In the offensive zone, he does like to lug the puck and fake passes and shots while searching for just the right moment to make the killer play.
There is some downside to Pastrnak's game, however. Since he needs to have the puck on his stick to be effective, he tends to disappear during tighter checking games.
Still, he has thrived in an adult league for two years and has been keeping some ridiculous company in that regard, per ESPN's Corey Pronman:
2104 draft eligible David Pastrnak has 8 points in 10 SHL-2 games. At same age in same league F Forsberg had 17 points in 43 games.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) October 11, 2013
NHL Player Comparison
Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News views Pastrnak as a David Krejci-esque player because of his lateral movement and the ability to create space with speed prior to dishing the puck.
It's tough to imagine a scenario where Pastrnak breaks into the NHL prior to the 2015-16 season. Jonathan Drouin needed some extra time at the junior level and has a skill set similar to Pastrnak's. At 5'10" and weighing 165 pounds, there's just no way for the shifty forward to be competitive against the larger, meaner and faster players that populate the league.
He might even be two years out, depending on when he comes to North America to begin his adjustment to the style differences.
Franchises don't draft players like Pastrnak unless they see top-six potential. While he's tenacious in his pursuit of the puck, he doesn't have the defensive instincts at this juncture to be viewed as a potential depth forward.
That's not to say that he's boom or bust—Pastrnak just might not project well as a bottom-six forward. Instead, he could eventually evolve into a decent scoring option on a first or second line while developing into a strong power-play contributor.