2010-11: David Pastrnak skated for the AZ Havirov club in his native Czech Republic. He played 17 games (including one playoff contest) with the club’s U18 team and was +16 with 7 goals, 12 assists and 4 penalty minutes. Pastrnak scored 32 goals with 21 assists in 26 games with AZ Havirov’s U16 team and was +21 with 10 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Pastrnak appeared in six games with AZ Havirov’s men’s league team as a 16-year-old and was the third-leading scorer for HC Trinec in the Czech top U18 division after being loaned to the club by AZ Havirov. He represented the Czech Republic in the 2012 U17 World Hockey Challenge in Canada. Pastrnak had no points nor penalty minutes in Division 3 play with AZ Havirov. Pastrnak scored 33 goals with 13 assists and was +28 with 6 penalty minutes in 31 games for HC Trinec. he appeared in three regular season games for Havirov’s U20 team and was a key player during the relegation playoffs; scoring 10 goals with 9 assists and finishing +15 in eight games. He had 1 assist for the Czech Republic in five games at the WHC.
2012-13: Pastrnak left the Czech Republic to play for Sodertalje in Sweden; playing for the Czech national teams in the 2012 U19 World Junior A Challenge and the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship. He skated in 16 games with Sodertalje’s men’s team, including five games in the SHL Kval Series, scoring 2 goals with 1 assist and finishing -3. Pastrnak scored 14 goals with 19 assists in 40 games and was +8 with 10 penalty minutes for Sodertalje’s U20 team. He had 1 assist in four games at the WJAC and was +1 with 1 goal, 1 assist and 4 penalty minutes in five games at the U18 WJC. Pastrnak was selected by Severstal Cheropovets in the first round (34th overall) of the 2013 KHL Draft.
2013-14: Pastrnak was part of the Czech Republic’s bronze medal-winning U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August before returning to Sodertajle to skate in Allsvenskan and played for the Czech U20 team at the 2013 World Junior Championship. In his first 36 games for Sodertalje he scored 8 goals with 16 assists and was +7 with 24 penalty minutes; missing time in February with a concussion that kept him out of the Five Nations Tournament in Dmitrov, Russia. He scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was +1 win five games at the WJC and was +2 with 2 goals, 2 assists and 2 penalty minutes in four games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Pastrnak was ranked fourth amongst European skaters in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings prior to the 2014 NHL Draft.
Pastrnak is an exciting offensive player hailing from the Czech Republic who has flair and loves to be dangerous. He thrives in situations where he can carry the puck and dish it off when he feels fit. Also tends to be strongest when incorporating an east-west game while on the attack. In the offensive zone, he does like to lug the puck and fake passes and shots while searching for just the right moment to make the killer play. Maintains good control of the puck and can use his body well in protecting it. Is very agile in making his twists and turns, especially when he has the puck, and isn’t afraid to try a number of things as part of the attack. Very good hands and craftiness once he has the puck, he also likes to hound opposition players, especially defensemen, in forcing turnovers, ready to pounce on them in hopes of creating two-on-one or breakaway situations. In addition, his shot has improved in leaps and bounds since coming to Sweden and can be lethal from all over, particularly when using opponents as a screen.
Pastrnak hasn’t always shown the intensity to be a player in big games. Can handle the rough stuff, but too much of it turns him into a bit of a perimeter player. His still undersized frame doesn’t help that situation. Also tends to make poor decisions in trying to make the ‘super’ pass. Can also be physically slowed down in corners and held behind the play. Defensive zone coverage is clearly not a passion of his. He also has times where he seems more concentrated on deking out defenders than actually making a simple, effective play. Still has a ways to go before being a playmaker of sorts, even if he traditionally gathers more assists than goals.
Pastrnak made the move from the Czech Republic to Sweden in hopes of furthering his career and was successful at the higher level of play. While his defensive game is still a work in progress — and he will need to add mass and strength to compete in North American pro hockey — he has the potential to be an effective scoring forward.