WILMINGTON, MA — David Pastrnak has not been ruled out for the upcoming 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland.
The international tournament will take place from Dec. 26 — Jan. 5.
Pastrnak has missed 20 games over the course of nearly seven weeks in his recovery from a fracture in his left foot that he sustained blocking a shot.
He has been skating with the team since Monday, and although he won’t be traveling with the Bruins to Pittsburgh for their matchup with the Penguins on Friday night, he’s been progressing towards a return.
With the amount of time Pastrnak has spent out of the lineup, it will be important for him to get his conditioning up to speed — whether that comes from playing for the Czech Republic at World Juniors or possibly getting into AHL games in Providence.
Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney and his staff are looking at all options when it comes to Pastrnak’s return.
“There’s a conditioning element to this — what’s best for him to get back to full speed,” Sweeney told reporters on Thursday at Ristuccia Arena after the Bruins wrapped up practice.
“The World Juniors are a component to this, but we’re looking at all our options as to what’s available between now and when we’d have to make a drop-dead decision based on the roster freeze and his availability for World Juniors. That will happen over the next day or so.”
The NHL’s Roster Freeze goes into effect from midnight (local time) on Dec. 19 through midnight on Dec. 27 (local time). It applies to all players on an NHL active roster, injured reserve, or with non-roster and injured non-roster status. Player cannot be placed on waivers, traded or loaned during that time.
The Czech National Team has expressed interest in wanting Pastrnak on their roster if he’s ready.
“The IIHF agreement, that’s set in terms of how it works and in terms of whether or not the player’s there or in the National Hockey League,” said Sweeney. “There’s a conditioning element that has to come into play, based on the fact that he’s missed a lot of hockey and a lot of time. He’s been out for six weeks, so that has to be a component involved in the decision.”
Sweeney reiterated that the decision will be based upon what’s best for the 19-year-old.
“This is about getting him ready to play and where he’s at right now, relative to upsides and such,” said Sweeney. “It’s looking out for his best interest and of course, the organization’s.”