Bruins Thanksgiving report cards: David Pastrnak and the forwards

Matt Kalman
November 28, 2019 - 10:20 am

Here are Thanksgiving report cards for the Bruins forwards:

David Backes: B

Can’t knock such a good guy down when he’s out of action, and $6 million cap hit aside, Backes was showing he could be a decent bottom-six forward before he was injured.

Patrice Bergeron: A

Consider that he’s obviously been battling this groin injury from the playoffs through almost all of this season, and then it’s more amazing how he and his linemates have dominated the NHL this year even more than last. At 34 he’s more than a point-per-game player (24 in 21 games).

Anders Bjork: B+

Talk about a guy that walks the walk, Bjork went to Providence (AHL) to start the season, determined to find his game and his compete level. He’s come back a beast. He still needs to get stronger and finish better around the net.

Charlie Coyle: A-

He can still be a little too reluctant to shoot around the net, but the Coyle the Bruins got in the playoffs has carried over into the regular season. Hopefully if he continues to play up in the lineup he doesn’t let his unselfishness hinder his production.

Jake DeBrusk: B

An injury may have prevented DeBrusk from having one of his patented hot streaks, but as Thanksgiving rolled around he had a goal in two straight games. Even if he’s always going to be a streaky scorer, he needs to learn to better take care of his own end and do more little things when he’s not scoring.

Danton Heinen: B+

Heinen continues to do everything that’s asked of him, and do it well. He’ll play on any line, on either wing, and he’s always in the right position. Often he gets bit by the “afraid to shoot bug” but that will happen less as he gains even more experience.

David Krejci: A

The wings keep on rotating, and Krejci keeps on truckin’. His only flaw now is that he’s not a point-per-game player like his first-line teammates – he just has 17 points in 19 games. If the Bruins can find Krejci some wing stability, it might be scary to see what happens.

Karson Kuhlman: B

Might’ve been on the cusp of breaking out offensively before he was injured, but he didn’t register a point in eight games.

Sean Kuraly: B

He’ll be the first to admit he hasn’t been as solid to start this season as he was at the end of last year, sometimes thinking too much about offense (which has produced just one goal) before taking care of his other fourth-line duties. He’s still handled top-line defensive assignments well and is one of the players you want most to have the puck in the clutch.

Par Lindholm: B-

Maybe the Bruins were looking for a little more offense from Lindholm as a replacement for Noel Acciari, and he’s only provided one goal. Early in the year he looked a little lost adjusting to Boston, but he seemed to be coming around, especially on the penalty kill.

Brad Marchand: A+

Forty-three points in 25 games. Let me repeat that: 43 points in 25 games. Is there anything else that needs to be said? Well, maybe the fact that at least three or four times this season the Bruins came out of the gates sleepy and it was Marchand that woke them up with a big offensive play or even a little physicality. Hart Trophy anyone?

Joakim Nordstrom: B

An infection kept him from finding his rhythm early this year, but for the most part Nordstrom has done his job playing on the fourth line and killing penalties. A little more finish at the offensive end wouldn’t hurt.

David Pastrnak: A+

Never mind his natural offensive talent, has anyone in the NHL improved as much in other areas of his game while maintaining that offensive production as Pastrnak? No way. Not only does he punish opponents with his one-timer, he also hits and plays well in his own end. He has his share of giveaways, but they’re rarely costly, and when they do cost the Bruins he just goes out and gets a goal back – 23 in the Bruins’ first 25 games.

Brett Ritchie: B-

He’s kind of in and out like an old TV set, and the Bruins might not need him even when he’s healthy because of their depth. Still it’s disappointing to not see this guy who knows what he has to do not go out and make his presence felt consistently.

Chris Wagner: B

Let’s put Wagner in the same category as Kuraly. There’s more there to give, as we saw last season, but still it’s been a solid start to the season for the Bruins and their strong fourth line.

Incomplete

Cameron Hughes got just one game, Trent Frederic got just two so far. … Zach Senyshyn was starting to show he could be an energy, bottom-six-type player before he got injured after four games. … Peter Cehlarik showed little improvement from years past in his three games. … Paul Carey played one game. His value is being a leader with a young Providence club.

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