As the Bruins continue to assess the candidates vying for open forward spots, David Pastrnak remains out of game action due to his recovery from a shoulder injury.
Pastrnak has been practicing since Sunday and took the most contact he’s taken thus far in Tuesday’s practice. In particular, he bounced back from a huge hit from defenseman Kevan Miller during drills.
Still, with no preseason games under his belt and just two left on the Bruins’ schedule, Pastrnak’s chances of making the B’s as the first or third-line right wing are dwindling. Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s game that the B’s hope Pastrnak will be able to play either Friday against the Islanders in Connecticut or in Saturday’s preseason finale against Detroit.
“Our goal is to hopefully get him in a game,” Julien said. “Today he practiced well; I think he had more contact today, so he’s certainly looking good, but until the trainers tell us that he’s ready for games, we’re not going to play him. He’s a young player that we’re certainly not going to take a risk with. For our sake and for his sake, he would like to at least get a game in and see how he fits in.”
If the Bruins maintain hope that Pastrnak could play in the NHL this season and don’t see enough to make up their minds in the preseason, they can keep him on the roster and play him for up to nine games without burning the first year off his entry level contract. That would seemingly provide ample time to decide whether the speedy right wing is worth keeping in Boston or sending back to his team in Sweden.
“It’s not my call. You’re asking the wrong person,” Julien said when asked of that possibility. “It’s not my call when it comes to that.”
Loui Eriksson manned the right wing on the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic Tuesday against the Islanders (their first time playing a game together this preseason), with Julien admitting after the game that the trio struggled. Then again, it’s worth remembering that it took until the ninth game of the season with Jarome Iginla last year that Boston’s first line really started clicking.