The Skate Podcast: Who is MVP of the Bruins’ season?

March 19, 2020 - 1:09 pm

If the Bruins’ regular-season is over because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it was a great season.

Boston was the only NHL team to reach 100 points before the suspension of play and was six points head of the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. The Bruins’ power play ranked second (25.2 percent) and their penalty kill was third (84.2 percent).

There were many candidates for team MVP after such a great season, and this week The Skate Podcast co-hosts Ken Laird and Matt Kalman talked about who was truly the most important player to the Bruins’ success.

David Pastrnak was tied for the NHL goal lead with Alex Ovechkin, and Brad Marchand ranked fifth with 59 assists. Goalie Tuukka Rask was second in save percentage (.929).

In the end, Laird and Kalman agreed the MVP was Pastrnak.

“To me, I guess they used to say ‘chicks dig the long ball.’ And I think in my case I dig the finisher, the guy who was on a pace to pass 50 (goals) and he was going to do something that no Bruin had done in more than 20 years,” Kalman said. “It’s great that Marchand has emerged as one of the premier playmakers in the league, but to me Pastrnak being the goal-scorer, the finisher, the guy who they can lean on when their chips are down and you know that he can shoot almost from anywhere in the zone and have a chance to score, to me that’s the biggest difference in this team, even from last year.”

Laird wanted to debate Kalman, but he just couldn’t get past Pastrnak’s amazing production this season.

“Marchand had a hell of a season. In fact at one point we had done the number of primary assists early on for Marchand on Pastrnak goals, and there were plenty of them where he was the primary assist guy,” Laird said. “But 20 power-play goals, 10 game-winners. I know he shoots a ton, like comparing Pasta’s shots to Marchand, he doubles him up … obviously he’s the trigger man. But still take away the 20 power-play goals, he still equals Marchand … he would have 28 goals non-power-play, and Marchand had 23. So it’s not all about goals, but as you say, it is all about goals.”

The guys discussed their disappointment with the pandemic ending Pastrnak’s pursuit of 50 goals and whether he’ll get to this plateau again. They also debated the Seventh Player Award, the shutdown’s impact on re-signing unrestricted free agent Torey Krug and who the Bruins’ toughest playoff opponent will be if the NHL returns to action.

Also, Boston mayor Marty Walsh would love for the Boston sports teams to return to action as soon as possible, even if fans aren’t allowed into the games, so that people have something to watch. Kalman and Laird talked about the obstacles to that happening.

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