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Draisaitl of Oilers should win Hart Trophy, Bruins Pastrnak says - NHL.com

Draisaitl of Oilers should win Hart Trophy, Bruins  Pastrnak says - NHL.com
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Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers should win the Hart Trophy this season as NHL most valuable player, Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak said Monday.

Though Pastrnak himself is a candidate to win the voting for the Hart, he didn t even let a reporter finish his question before throwing his support behind the Oilers forward.

"For me, it s absolutely no question," Pastrnak said. "It s going to be, and it should be, Leon Draisaitl. The way he played this season, it s absolutely no question for me."

Draisaitl led the League with an NHL career-high 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) this season. Pastrnak tied New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin for third with 95 points (48 goals, 47 assists) while helping Boston to the best points percentage in the NHL (.714) and the Presidents Trophy for the best record (44-14-12, 100 points). Pastrnak also shared the Rocket Richard Trophy with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin after they each scored an NHL-high 48 goals.

"Huge honor, obviously," Pastrnak said. "Sharing it with Alex, huge honor. He s been winning it every single year almost. So, for me to share it with him, it s even more special."

Ovechkin has scored 50 goals in a season eight times (and won the Rocket Richard Trophy nine times) in his NHL career, but it would have been Pastrnak s first time reaching that mark. His previous high was 38 goals last season.

But that wasn t the biggest regret that Pastrnak said he was left with when the NHL announced its Return to Play Plan and the regular season was declared over May 26 after being paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

"To be honest, it s a little sad, but I was actually more mad about the 100 points than scoring 50, to be honest," said Pastrnak, who finished his sixth season with an NHL career high in points. "But overall it was a good season. Sometimes in the world things happen that you can t control and that s what happened."

Pastrnak remains in Prague, where he s skating twice per week with a group of about 10 NHL players in two-hour sessions, though he said there is no hitting in their games. He has been working out five or six times per week, including playing soccer and tennis, and anticipates returning to Boston ahead of Phase 3 of the Return to Play Plan, though he does not yet have travel plans. Phase 3, which is the opening of training camps, is expected to start July 10.

The Bruins are one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference and will be play round-robin games against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The dates and location have not yet been determined for those games.

"For sure I will probably try to come a little bit before the training camp, to get more on-ice sessions, some practices with the boys," Pastrnak said. "I do not have the exact date for you. It s going to be pretty soon."

Last June, Boston lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to the St. Louis Blues. Pastrnak said that makes the Bruins more anxious to get back and try to win a championship.

"It s huge motivation," he said. "The last season was unbelievable experience for me. I don t think I would be where I m at without last year, but obviously we had a great season [in 2019-2020] and I think we were a better team than last year. Just so excited to come back. I can t wait to be playing hockey games again."
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