The Boston Bruins are going to be without their most potent offensive weapon for a little while, as today the team announced David Pastrnak has undergone successful thumb surgery. He will be re-evaluated after two weeks, but the team is confident he will return to play this season. The injury occurred when Pastrnak fell at a team function.
This is about the worst news Bruins fans could hear with just a few weeks left before the trade deadline and the team fighting for position in the Atlantic Division. Pastrnak is a dominant offensive player and is averaging more ice time than any Bruins forward not named Brad Marchand. Boston’s secondary scoring issues will now be put under the microscope, as even before the injury the Bruins had been criticized for being a one-line team.
In fact, Boston has just four forwards with even 20 points on the season. Names like Jake Debrusk (19 points), Danton Heinen (16) and Sean Kuraly (14) have been dreadfully disappointing in the offensive zone, but will now have to step up and carry some of the load that had been on Pastrnak. The Bruins are currently sitting just one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division, but also have the Montreal Canadiens hot on their tail. A slump, even a short one, could certainly see the Bruins fall to fourth in the division.
It’s that tenuous playoff position that makes this injury all the more interesting, given that Boston was already expected to add at the trade deadline. While GM Don Sweeney told reporters that it won’t change his strategy heading into the deadline, it’s hard to imagine it won’t at least have some effect. Losing Pastrnak even for just a few weeks may highlight some of the weaknesses on the roster and force Sweeney to make a move to give his club a chance.