BRIGHTON, MA — New/old Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic always had a hunch that his former/new Bruins teammate and linemate David Pastrnak would become an NHL superstar.
For the first time since signing with the team he began his career with back in 2007, Lucic skated with some of his new Bruins teammates on Friday on the second day of ‘Captain’s’ practice. Following practice, the always affable Lucic held court with the assembled Boston sports media, and in addition to continually expressing his gratitude to be back playing in the city he considers a second home, Lucic also raved about playing with one of his former linemates, David Pastrnak, is coming off a monster season in which he lit the lamp 61 times and finished with 113 points. If not for Connor McDavid’s out-of-this-world season (64g, 89 assists), Pastrnak and not McDavid would’ve won the 2023 Hart Trophy.
Milan Lucic, who did his best to mentor a young, 18-year-old Pastrnak during his rookie campaign with the Boston Bruins in the 2014-15 season, was asked if he considers Pastrnak to be in the same elite category that many have McDavid in alone.
“Different players; much different players,” Lucic replied. “But what ‘Pasta’ has been able to do the last couple of years has been really impressive, and to see him grow. …I was fortunate enough to play with him his rookie year as an 18-year-old. That stretch that we had as linemates, we had a lot of fun playing together, and not only that, he was coming over every day. I was cooking him dinner as an 18-year-old and to see him grow into a Top 5, Top 10 player, whatever you could put him in both, has been really awesome to see. So, excited to be back with him as well.
I think he’s definitely up there with the tops of the league like the McDavid’s, and [Auston] Matthews, and [Leon] Draisaitl’s and all those guys. You don’t score 60 goals by accident but now he’s got some pressures moving ahead with the new contract and all that type of stuff but he’s the type of guy that has the personality that will keep it going and keep that high level of play.”
For Lucic, it’s been a pleasure to watch Pastrnak, now 27, from afar grow into the player he is now. The 35-year-old, 6-foot-4, 230-pound winger is confident that David Pastrnak will get even better as his eight-year, $90 million contract with the Boston Bruins kicks in this season
“I saw the hockey sense; I saw that he was more than just a pure scorer,” Lucic said. “I think because he scores so many goals, people kind of identify him as just the goal scorer. But, he does make plays, he’s got a great hockey sense. You talk about identity and I think he’s learned to play both sides of the puck as far as his defensive game. So, it’s been great to see him grow.”