Pastrnak: Place Among Bruins Snipers?

Shaky Walton

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 20, 2019
65
There's a long way to go in the current Bruins season, including the playoffs. But as of now, the All Star MVP leads the league in goals and is fourth in points.


We'll see how things shake out this year but regardless, it occurs to me that David Pastrnak is among the greatest, if not the greatest, snipers I've seen on the Bruins. I don't mean point scorers. With the likes of Esposito and Orr (among others) in the picture, Pastrnak has a heavy burden to be considered among the best point scorers in team history, especially on such an incomplete record.

But how many Bs have had his sniping ability? The ability to fire one off from the left wing spot he so frequently occupies and also to blister one in so quickly and "crisply" from other places. Again, I'm referring to his lasers from outside the face off dots, not his other assorted goals closer in, many of which are also things of beauty, just not what I would call sniper like goals.

There's a good chance I'm suffering from recency bias and I certainly have not seen everyone who played for the Bruins. But I just can't remember anyone who I thought of as this much of a sniper. It's incredibly fun to watch and he seems to be getting better and better.

Do others agree? Or are there obvious or arguable better ones? Who else is in the conversation? Rick Middleton comes to mind but I don't think he was as much of a sniper as DP.
 

bigq

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,386
Cam Neely should be in the conversation. He fit the bill particularly his 50 goal performance in 49 games played in the 93-94 season. He put up several 50 goal seasons and I think of him as a high end sniper.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
24,135
306, row 14
Glen Murray was the last Bruin to score 40 goals in a season. They didn’t really have an elite shooter for ages until Pastrnak came along. They’ve had more of the playmaking types like Thornton and Savard.

I think Pastrnak is a better pure scorer than Neely. Neely was a bull and would knock 4 guys over and then score, but Pasta has more pure skill in my opinion.
 

The Long Tater

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2001
2,703
I love Pasta, so this is a bit of a joke, but how come he can score on a breakaway in the ASG but not in the shootout!o_O He is tremendous.

As for the comparisons, I don't think either Espositio or Orr are good ones. Their styles were completely different. Esposito would park himself in front of the net and score on feeds from the corners and clean up junk.* Orr scored from everywhere and off the rush. They are all great, just different.

Famous old Boston bathroom graffiti:

Jesus Saves!
But Esposito scores on the rebound
 

Maximus

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
4,902
Pasta may be the best pure sniper we've had. Neely was much stronger on the puck and his skates than Pasta but I think Pasta's shot is more elite. Orr was otherworldly and my favorite all time Bruin but he wasn't a pure sniper.
 

jercra

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
2,002
Arvada, Co
Also not in Boston long and only showed flashes when he was, but Tyler Seguin is the closest thing I can think of to a Pasta level shooter.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
13,872
Glen Murray was the last Bruin to score 40 goals in a season. They didn’t really have an elite shooter for ages until Pastrnak came along. They’ve had more of the playmaking types like Thornton and Savard.

I think Pastrnak is a better pure scorer than Neely. Neely was a bull and would knock 4 guys over and then score, but Pasta has more pure skill in my opinion.
For pure shooting, Murray's the one for me. He was a great shooter til the end, whose legs stopped functioning virtually overnight.
 

veritas

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2009
2,912
Somerville, MA
For me, it's NHL shooting percentage leader Noel Acciari. Why can't we get players like that?

Also not in Boston long and only showed flashes when he was, but Tyler Seguin is the closest thing I can think of to a Pasta level shooter.
Statistically, Tyler Seguin has never been a good shooter. He's 10.8% for his career, which is bad, and metrics that factor in xG of shots rate him as an average shooter.

Acciari snark aside, I think Pasta is in that elite category with Ovi, Stamkos, Matthews, and Laine. And the best Bruin shooter since at least Neely. I really don't know how to objectively compare those two given the different eras, styles of play, and lack of shot data back then. I would still say Neely is the better goal scorer, at least.
 

jercra

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
2,002
Arvada, Co
For me, it's NHL shooting percentage leader Noel Acciari. Why can't we get players like that?



Statistically, Tyler Seguin has never been a good shooter. He's 10.8% for his career, which is bad, and metrics that factor in xG of shots rate him as an average shooter.

Acciari snark aside, I think Pasta is in that elite category with Ovi, Stamkos, Matthews, and Laine. And the best Bruin shooter since at least Neely. I really don't know how to objectively compare those two given the different eras, styles of play, and lack of shot data back then. I would still say Neely is the better goal scorer, at least.
See, that's what I get for going with just the eye test. I remember Seguin having a few absolute snipes, but I guess that's like for every goal scores.

As for Neely, I remember him more as a bruiser that could score from anywhere, but score most of his goals right in front of the net where it's more about potting rebounds and being bigger, stronger and having more stick skills than the rest. Am I misremembering?
 

Ale Xander

Lacks black ink
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
25,468
Great puck handler and skater, good passer. I don't think his shot is in Pasta's class and I think the gap is pretty big.

Pasta's ability to pick a spot and drill it there off the one timer, wrister or slapshot is, to me, most similar to... Ray Bourque.
You're abslutely right. I just saw both the Bourque and Samsonov eras Bruins more in total, and as a percentage of my NHL viewing, than the current Bruins, so maybe I don't appreciate him enough.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
17,906
See, that's what I get for going with just the eye test. I remember Seguin having a few absolute snipes, but I guess that's like for every goal scores.

As for Neely, I remember him more as a bruiser that could score from anywhere, but score most of his goals right in front of the net where it's more about potting rebounds and being bigger, stronger and having more stick skills than the rest. Am I misremembering?
Yeah, Neely could do it all. He scored from one timers, on the rush, deflections, rebounds, breakaways, you name it. Guy was a sniper and a bruiser all rolled into one.

Here are some good ones (of many) and the last two are in his 50 goal season when he could barely skate.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFY62BV4hls

View: https://youtu.be/vDDYcDlhoLk?t=1499


View: https://youtu.be/GMwkmwE10-4?t=412


View: https://youtu.be/8252f0HJLL4?t=46


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-1pq0XWUbE


If we're talking pure shooter, I think Ryder is the best in recent memory. His snapshot release was mindblowing. But he wasn't nearly the goal-scorer or "sniper" like Pasta or Muzz or Neely because he couldn't create nearly as well. Pasta finds ways to get to space and get his shot off unlike most others.

Don't shortchange Marchand in this discussion either, he's become an elite goal scorer in his own right, especially in creating his own offense. But I don't think I've ever seen him take a slapshot.
 
Last edited:

TheStoryofYourRedRightAnkle

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
9,027
Multivac
Yeah, Neely could do it all. He scored from one timers, on the rush, deflections, rebounds, breakaways, you name it. Guy was a sniper and a bruiser all rolled into one.

If we're talking pure shooter, I think Ryder is the best in recent memory. His snapshot release was mindblowing. But he wasn't nearly the goal-scorer or "sniper" like Pasta or Muzz or Neely because he couldn't create nearly as well. Pasta finds ways to get to space and get his shot off unlike most others.

Don't shortchange Marchand in this discussion either, he's become an elite goal scorer in his own right, especially in creating his own offense. But I don't think I've ever seen him take a slapshot.
The memories I have of Cam are him holding a puck, just leaning on some poor defenseman to block him out from the puck at full speed and ripping a shot past the goalie. Strength, speed, smarts and a wicked shot.

Marchy uses his speed and that longass stick to get body position, but isn't usually strong enough to bull past a guy if the guy can keep up.

Pasta and Cam can do it either way.
 

Over Guapo Grande

panty merchant
SoSH Member
Nov 29, 2005
1,695
Worcester
My very uninformed feeling is that Pasta is close to Ovie in terms of scoring ability. He can score from the dots, he can beat a 1-v-3. I saw Neely as a grown-up Lucic. He would bang away, throw people out of his way.. .to get to his goal.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
17,906
Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to compare Pasta and Neely, they're very different players. Just wanted to confirm that Neely was a sniper/goal scorer beyond his size. Plus I wanted the excuse to watch some highlight videos on Youtube.

Everyone should watch Reach for the Stars at least once. I couldn't find a more perfect 35 mins to encapsulate my youth.
 

jercra

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
2,002
Arvada, Co
The memories I have of Cam are him holding a puck, just leaning on some poor defenseman to block him out from the puck at full speed and ripping a shot past the goalie. Strength, speed, smarts and a wicked shot.
That was my recollection as well but then I watched some of those videos @TFP posted above and it turns out those were just the goals I remembered. He really was just a hockey machine who could do it all.
 

bigq

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,386
That was my recollection as well but then I watched some of those videos @TFP posted above and it turns out those were just the goals I remembered. He really was just a hockey machine who could do it all.
He was almost exactly what I hoped Thornton would develop into but never did (with the exception that Neely was a wing and Thornton a center). Sorry for the thread hijack. I guess I am still harboring resentment regarding Joe not living up to my unreasonable expectations.
 

Over Guapo Grande

panty merchant
SoSH Member
Nov 29, 2005
1,695
Worcester
I remember the Neely 360 against the Nordrorks-- but that fits what this narrative is, I think.. He was a big guy, who used his size and speed to create opportunity. One of the best goal scorers that I have ever seen. Pasta is a different animal. He won't overwhelm you physically... but top of the left dot- I feel like he is the best that I have seen in my too many years watching this team (I used to have to grab a rabbit ear with tin foll in my hand in order to get some semblance of a picture)
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
17,906
What's crazy is that Ovechkin is a combo of the two, which I guess is why he's the best goal scorer ever.
 

SoFloSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
1,977
Here are some good ones (of many) and the last two are in his 50 goal season when he could barely skate.
Man, Oates was so good at setting up Neely (and everyone else Oates played with).

That line of 49 12 8 was must see TV back then.
 

veritas

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2009
2,912
Somerville, MA
See, that's what I get for going with just the eye test. I remember Seguin having a few absolute snipes, but I guess that's like for every goal scores.
I would have thought the same thing, it's why I always try to corroborate what I see with numbers. Certain guys are great at *getting* a lot of great shooting opportunities, so they take a ton of shots, score a lot of goals and you remember the ones that went in. But they also miss a ton cause they don't convert the great opportunities particularly well. Tarasenko and Eichel are other examples of this. Charile Coyle too, but he's really bad at shooting. On the other end of the spectrum are guys like Laine, who aren't good at getting good shots, but are amazing pure shooters who can shoot and score from anywhere.

Ovechkin, Matthews, Pastrnak can do both, which makes them special scorers. Ovechkin gets a ridiculous amounts of shots from everywhere, he's kind of on his own planet. Pasta is actually similar to Neely in that way, although they accomplish getting their high danger chances very differently. Power vs finesse.

There are also some players like Mark Scheifele who only shoot when they have a very clear scoring chance, but despite shooting like 20%, aren't actually elite at it. Alex Tanguay was another extreme example of this.

Finding players who can get better chances is generally more important than finding great shooters. There are so few players who can make a huge difference just with their shot.
 

TheStoryofYourRedRightAnkle

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
9,027
Multivac
That was my recollection as well but then I watched some of those videos @TFP posted above and it turns out those were just the goals I remembered. He really was just a hockey machine who could do it all.
Oh yeah, I remember him doing shit like that but him just bulling guys was the memory that stuck with me (and also something I would try on the ice since I was a shitty stick handler but was usually stronger than my friends).
 

TSC

SoSH's Doug Neidermeyer
SoSH Member
Oct 25, 2007
9,404
Between here and everywhere.
Rick Middleton was a natural goal scorer. Pasta is not in his league.
Middletons best year saw him scoring 51 goals.

That's good!

That same year, Gretzky scored....92!

In an era with SIGNIFICANTLY more scoring - Pasta might still score more in a season than Middleton did. If Pasta's not in Middleton's league, it's only because Pasta is playing in a higher one.

Take a guess at what Middleton and Pasta's Goals per game is.

I'll give you a minute.

.46.

I'm not kidding. They're tied for goals per game. Weird, right?
 

tonyandpals

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 18, 2004
6,441
Burlington
It's so hard comparing across eras. Especially with the advancement in goaltending. Whether in style, or equipment, the goaltending today is such a big factor. Watching highlight videos of the 60s/70s/80s makes me think I could put up 30.
 

Sam Ray Not

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
6,151
NYC
Thought I’d poke my head in here to note that David Pastrnak is an anagram for “Dark Pants Diva.”

Q: with Mookie gone and Brady on his way, where is the Dark Pants Diva on the list of Boston’s most beloved athletes? Up there with Tatum, Brown, and Devers?
 

kenneycb

Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2006
13,023
Tuukka's refugee camp
He’s probably 4th on the Bruins and should be 5th but many B’s fans have an irrational hatred of Tuukka for some reason. Don’t think Krejci elevates above him though nor Krug.
 

Sam Ray Not

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
6,151
NYC
Good to know. So ... Marchand, Bergeron, Chara, Pasta?

(I may be primed for my twice-a-decade Bruins bandwagon jump, given the state of the Sox, Pats and Warriors...)