Christmas may be over, but the Czech Republic squad at the World Junior Championship may be getting a late gift from the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins announced Saturday that winger David Pastrnak, 19, will be made available to the Czech team at the World Junior Championship as soon as the holiday roster freeze is lifted Monday morning. Outside of two games in Providence as part of a conditioning stint, Pastrnak has been sidelined since Oct. 31 after fracturing his foot.
“David’s played two games since being out for seven weeks. Obviously the injury took longer and it was in his best interest to make sure he was fully healthy,” Bruins GM Don Sweeney told BostonBruins.com’s Caryn Switaj. “He is fully healthy and now we need to get him back to where he would impact our lineup.”
Pastrnak was a standout for the Czechs at the 2015 tournament in Toronto and Montreal and scored one goal and seven points in five games to help his home country to a sixth-place finish in the tournament. If Pastrnak participates at the 2016 competition — which is likely considering his ability — it will be the third consecutive world juniors that he has been in the Czech lineup.
Sweeney said the Bruins’ hope is that Pastrnak can get his legs under him and build his confidence playing at the tournament. After wowing crowds at the 2015 world juniors, Pastrnak came back to Boston and tallied 10 goals and 26 points in 41 games.
“I think the opportunity for him to go play really heavy minutes in all situations, at a very, very high level, competitive level, against his peers, I think is a unique situation — with the timing and such, with the freeze, his injury and things all collided at once,” Sweeney told Switaj. “I think it’s a great opportunity for him, as I said, for him to return to the level we expect him to be back at and be able to impact our own lineup.”
Pastrnak, who was drafted 25th overall by the Bruins in 2014, had appeared in 10 games before his foot injury and scored two goals and four points. In his two games in Providence, Pastrnak had registered one assist.
Czech Republic opened the world juniors with a 2-1 shootout loss to Russia. The Czechs will be back in action Monday against Slovakia, though it’s unlikely Pastrnak will suit up by then.