PHILADELPHIA — David Pastrnak hails from Havirov, Czech Republic. Appropriately, Pastrnak considers Czech star David Krejci his idol.
If Pastrnak, the Bruins’ first-round pick (25th overall) on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center, can give his new employer anything comparable to Krejci’s production, he’ll make them very happy.
“He competes and he’s got skill,” director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky said of the 6-foot, 198-pound forward. “We thought we needed more skill. He handles the puck real well. He protects the puck well. He’s just full of energy. You gravitate to him.”
Last year, the right-shot forward had eight goals and 16 assists in 36 games for Sodertalje of the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second-tier league.
Pastrnak played for Czech Republic in the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, recording five assists in seven games. He played center and right wing.
“For me, the biggest thing is puck protection, vision, and two-way play — that package,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.
The Bruins had Pastrnak higher than No. 25 on their board. Before the draft began, they considered moving up. But the cost of trading up, even into the teens, was too high.
So they waited for Pastrnak to fall — Chiarelli was nervous about former colleague Jim Benning claiming him for the Canucks at No. 24 — and decided to pick a forward they describe as smart, skilled, and competitive.
“He plays hard,” Gretzky said. “He competes on the puck. He’s not going to run over guys. But he competes. That’s one thing we love. He can also handle the puck.”
Pastrnak, 18, plans to return to Sodertalje in 2014-15. The Bruins have also discussed the possibility of Pastrnak playing major junior in the CHL. Pastrnak’s top priority before turning pro is to become stronger.
“I think I can make one-against-one plays,” Pastrnak said. “I have good hockey sense. I’m a team player.”
Ferguson on board
John Ferguson, named the Bruins’ executive director of player personnel on Friday, once made a generational impact on his new employer.
It contributed to Ferguson losing his job.
On June 24, 2006, as Toronto’s general manager, Ferguson was on the watch when the Maple Leafs traded Tuukka Rask to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft. The Bruins nabbed an ace. Seven years passed until the Leafs landed a No. 1 goalie in Jonathan Bernier.
In the meantime, the Leafs fired Ferguson on Jan. 22, 2008. Cliff Fletcher, Brian Burke, and Dave Nonis have since occupied the Toronto helm with limited results.
“I felt they had fired a better manager than they had hired,” Ferguson said. “The five years of experience there was really invaluable in so many ways. Whether it was just managing a club on your own, or to just have that seat. It’s frankly nothing you can adequately prepare for.
“But you learn in so many ways – managing a staff, managing an ownership group, everything from the pro side to the amateur side to the medical side to the marketing.”
The Bruins are confident that Ferguson will not contribute to similar blunders in the future.
In his new position, Ferguson will be responsible for scouting pro and amateur players. Ferguson, who lives in Rhode Island, will be another resource for Chiarelli in evaluating players.
Ferguson was previously San Jose’s director of pro scouting. As part of GM Doug Wilson’s staff, Ferguson helped assemble a team that battled with the Western Conference powers. San Jose finished in second place in the Pacific Division behind Anaheim.
The Bruins promoted longtime executive Scott Bradley to assistant GM on Friday. Bradley will replace Benning, now the Vancouver GM. Bradley was formerly director of player personnel. Bradley monitored pro and amateur players from his home base in British Columbia. Before that, Bradley was the team’s director of amateur scouting. In 2006, under Bradley’s watch, the Bruins drafted Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand. Bradley has been in the Boston organization since 1993 . . . Ryan Nadeau, a Taunton native, started his career in the Bruins public relations department. On Friday, Nadeau was promoted to director of hockey operations/analytics . . . Former player P.J. Axelsson, now an amateur scout for the Bruins, sat at the draft table for the first time. “A lot different,” Axelsson said of the experience. “As a player, you just put on your skates and go.” . . . The Bruins will have picks in Rounds 2, 4, 5, and 7 on Saturday. They ceded their third-round pick to Philadelphia in the Andrej Meszaros trade. St. Louis claimed their sixth-rounder in the Wade Redden deal in 2013.