(Editor’s note: All stats used in this post are as of before Sunday night’s game against Montreal.)
I know what you’re thinking: “No way, it’s too difficult in today’s NHL,” or “he can’t keep up this pace all season.”
It’s true: scoring 70 goals in a hockey season is nearly impossible. In fact, it has only been done by 8 players in the history of the NHL, and the list of players who have done it is pretty impressive. Perhaps you may have heard of some of these guys: Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux, Phil Esposito, and Jari Kurri.
Yes, these are some of the all-time greats, and yes they played in a totally different era of hockey, but do you know who the other three players are to achieve this feat? Answer: Alexander Mogilny, Teemu Selanne, and Bernie Nichols. I understand that Selanne is a Hall of Famer with excellent career stats, but following his epic rookie year where he scored 76, he didn’t come close to this total again.
What these three players may show us, is that in the right situation, at the right time, it is possible to score 70…and that David Pastrnak may be the one to do it.
To date, Pastrnak has 24 goals in his first 26 games. That’s an average of .92 goals per game for an insane pace of 75.69 goals over 82 games. It took Pastrnak 22 games to reach the 20 goal plateau, which amazingly isn’t the fastest in Bruins’ history. The aforementioned Esposito did it in 18 games, Cam Neely reached 20 goals in 19 games, and Herb Cain, way back in the 1943 – 1944 season, scored his 20th goal in his 20th game…ah the good old days. I remember this one like it was just yesterday.
In order to for Pasta to reach the 70 goal plateau he will need to score 46 goals over his remaining 54 games, which is an average of .85 goals per game. This is lower than his current rate, but it would equal Sweeney Schriner’s scoring rate from the 1944-45 season, which just happens to be the 67th best scoring rate for one season of all time.
It should be mentioned that the best scoring rates of all time are dominated by players from the 1918-1919 season...maybe they didn’t have goalies back then?
There are probably countless reasons why David Pastrnak will not score 70 goals this season, but before we get to some of those reasons, for fun, let’s look at some of the reasons why #88 will score 70.
This Ain’t the Clutch and Grab League of the Late 90’s and Early 2000’s
The game hasn’t been this fast or wide-open in decades and scoring is up once again, across the entire NHL (unless you play in Detroit, Columbus or New Jersey) for the 4th year in a row.
Power play efficiency is also very high, even for teams in the bottom half of the league. The Bruins, despite not having tremendous contribution from their bottom six, have increased their scoring from 3.13 goals per game last year to 3.69 goals per game this year. Yes, it’s early in the season and the league averages, as well as the Bruins scoring average, could decrease, but let’s say they don’t.
The Bruins have had to deal with numerous injuries already this year, which one would assume, would affect the team’s overall play. In David Pastrnak’s case, his center, Patrice Bergeron, has been arguably only semi-healthy, but has been able to contribute to Pasta’s goal scoring success.
If this is the case, is it conceivable that a fully healthy Bergeron could not only help Pasta stay at this current scoring rate, but even improve it? If you look at David Pastrnak’s season stats, the amount of PP goals that he has are is off the charts. A fully healthy Patrice Bergeron improves the Bruins PP (more on this later) and also his line’s 5 v 5 play, thus giving #88 more opportunities to score.
The Bruins Power Play is Ridiculous
Even though Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk and Patrice Bergeron have missed games due to injury this season, the power play just keeps clicking along at a historic rate. The best power play percentage over a full season in NHL history is 31.9% by the 1977 Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins current PP% is 32.0 %, the best in the league. This again will most likely fall as the season progresses, but perhaps not that much.
The Bruins’ power play, which carried the B’s through the playoffs last year has been hot for a while and in my opinion is getting better. Although Pastrnak doesn’t play on the 2nd PP line, this line also seems to be finding chemistry recently, making both PP lines formidable.
The Remaining Season Schedule
According to powerrankingsguru.com, the Boston Bruins have the 6th easiest schedule remaining of all the teams in the NHL. 28 of the Bruins remaining 54 games will come against teams that currently sit outside of the playoff picture. As rosy as this sounds, you should probably take this statistic with a grain of salt as the Lightning, Maple Leafs, Predators and Golden Knights are currently not in playoff positions, but probably will be by the end of the year.
Regardless, if the Bruins play weaker teams from this point out, teams that usually let in more goals than they score, this would certainly bode in the favor of the Czech sniper.
OK, Let’s Get Real: 3 Reasons Why David Pastrnak Will Not Score 70 goals
Pastrnak’s shooting percentage of 22.9% is almost impossible to maintain throughout the season. His average shooting percentage over the course of his career has hovered around 15%. The league average is somewhere between 8-9% each year...these aren’t statistics that suggest that Pastrnak can score 70 games this season. (Interesting to note, Brad Marchand currently holds the teams highest shooting percentage at 27.3, so maybe I should be writing about him scoring 70.)
Also, while I absolutely hate writing this, an injury could easily derail Pastrnak’s torrid start. Over his short NHL career, Pasta has only played a full season once. Let’s all pray for no falls on the ice this year.
Finally, at some point the Bruins’ power play will slow down. With the amount of video that is watched by teams in preparation to play the Bruins, strategies will emerge to help them slow down their PP. It will be up to the B’s coaching staff and personnel to keep evolving to avoid PP slumps.
Will David Pastrnak score 70 goals this year? The answer is probably not. But is it fun to imagine Pasta reaching this phenomenal total in one season? Absolutely.
Regardless of how many goals he ends up scoring, it will definitely be fun to watch Pastrnak’s chase of the Rocket Richard trophy this year.
How many goals do you think David Pastrnak will end with at the end of the regular season?
This poll is closed
Less than 50 goals
51 - 60 goals
61 - 70 goals
70 - 10000000 goals