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2014 NHL Draft Profile #16: David Pastrnak

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players.  Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2014 NHL Draft.  Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports!  Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2014 Draft Articles Click here.

David Pastrnak is a Czech born player who is playing his pro hockey in Sweden against men. Pastrnak is playing for Södertälje in the Allvenskan where he scored 24 points in 36 games this season. He was leading the team in February before suffering a season ending injury.  He also played for the Czech Republic in the World Juniors where he scored three points in five games.  He is expected to be able to make his second appearance at the Under 18 World Championships this spring. He was very good at the Under 19 five nations tournament and also played at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament scoring four points in four games.  David’s father, Milan Pastrnak, played pro hockey in Germany during the 1990s.

David Pastrnak

Right Wing/Left Wing — shoots Right
Born May 25 1996 — Havirov, Czech Republic
Height 6’0 — Weight 168 [182 cm/76 kg]

David Pastrnak is an extremely good skater, with good speed and an excellent first step and acceleration.  He also has great edgework and agility helping him to elude defenders off the rush.  Pastrnak has a great ability to beat defenders by changing speeds and can do this both on the rush and in the cycle game.  He can dart into the smallest of openings and create a scoring chance. Pastrnak also has very good balance.  He is strong on his skates which helps him in protecting the puck, winning board battles and fighting through checks.   He could win more puck battles if he adds muscle to his frame though as he is a bit skinny for his size right now.

Pastrnak is very creative with the puck, he has excellent stickhandling, very quick hands, and a wide array of moves.  He is able to use his skating skill and his quick hands to be a nightmare for defenders off the rush.  If they back off too much to respect his ability to get past them, he can unleash a powerful and accurate wrist shot which features a very quick release. While he profiles as more of a sniper than a playmaker, Pastrnak is a good passer and has good vision to find open linemates.

Pastrnak’s defence is very much a work in progress.  He needs to bring a better and more consistent effort level on the back check, and not just float in the zone.  He also has a tendency to puck watch and get himself out of position at times.  He will need some coaching and development before he is ready to play at the NHL level.

Pastrnak’s style is comparable to Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning, though this is a style comparison and not a talent one.  In terms of potential Pastrnak has offensive skill and can be a top six winger in the NHL, he is very good on the powerplay and his speed will really help his team in the transition game if he can add muscle and defensive play.

Below is video highlight of David Pastrnak in action and an interview with him:

Check back tomorrow for my #17 Ranked prospect.


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