Every season a different young player has their coming out party and the NHL world begins to notice them. Often these players are well recognize in their respective fan base but not yet a house hold name to rival fans. This year Nashville had Forsberg, the year before we saw Tarasenko take a big leap (while he continues to build on that this season), here at puck hero we have figured out who it will be next year… David Pastrnak. Here’s why…
Pastrnak is an intriguing prospect, if you can still call him that, at 6’0 and 167lbs he’s still light for his height but what he lacks in strength, for now, he more than makes up for in pure skill. His quickness and shot are not only already NHL ready but by as early as next season he may be recognized across the league as legit 1st line calibre winger
If you look at Pastrnak’s AHL scoring…
24 GP, 10 goals, 27 points, 1.13 PPG
He did something that only two others teenagers have been able to do in the AHL since 1998, and thats score beyond a point per game clip beyond 5 games. Nugent-Hopkins did it in 2012/2013 and Eberle did that before him in 2009/2010. The player to do it before them? Robert Dome in 1997/1998.
But each season theres a few players who come close, and that list may be easier to read into. Here are the top point per game players U20 in each AHL season.
Under 20 and 20+ games
|F. Forsberg||0.72||R. Nugent-Hopkins*||1.05||—||K. Palmieri||0.82||A. Lokitonov||0.83|
|R. Ristolainen||0.59||J.T. Miller||0.55||—||B. Pirri||0.61||J. Carlson||0.81|
|S. Matteau||0.39||M. Zibanejad||0.48||—||J. Morin||0.55||T. Tatar||0.55|
|N. Walker||0.26||Z. Girgenson||0.28||—||N. Leddy||0.45||V. Voinov||0.37|
|—||E. Lindholm||0.25||—||J. D’Amigo||0.35||Y. Grachyov||0.35|
|N. Filatov||0.82||K. Okposo||0.80||P. Klaus||0.70||R. Voloshenko||0.87||P. Bergeron||0.90|
|B. Sutter||0.55||A. Anisimov||0.58||N. Bergfors||0.53||N. Bergfors||0.62||N. Horton||0.43|
|M. Mayorov||0.44||—||—||L. Tukonen||0.58||B. Burns||0.37|
|V. Voinov||0.38||—||—||J. Sigalet||0.48||R. Suter||0.37|
|—||—||—||L. Smid||0.39||A. Kostitsyn||0.35|
*RNH played 19 but I included him
The first obvious take away is that very few teenagers actually ever play 20 AHL games in a season. Of the 35 on this list 27 went to play in the NHL in regular roles, 2 decided to go directly to the KHL, 5 struggled to ever leave the AHL and eventually left for Europe and for for 1 it’s too soon to tell. What’s obvious though is that no player has even come close to be able to score at the pace Pastrnak has.
Now we know not every AHL star is able to translate their success to the NHL, from our previous list we saw that in the last 10 seasons 9 players haven’t been able to, but of those 9 there is one common factor, a lack of foot speed. Often players are too slow to keep up with the quicker NHL game and look lost when they try and make the jump, getting them sent back to a career in the AHL or being forced to play on the larger ice surface in the KHL. Well with Pastrnak that concern is gone because if their is one thing Pastrnak has it’s speed.
Our Puck Hero projection is that by next season Pastrnak will be top 30 in the NHL for RW scoring.