Sweeney explains Pastrnak assignment to AHL

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David Pastrnak was assigned to AHL Providence because the Boston Bruins needed his roster spot for tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals.

The assignment didn’t mean that Pastrnak’s first game after returning from the World Juniors will definitely be in the AHL. Providence doesn’t play until Friday. Boston plays that same night in New Jersey.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney explained this morning that Pastrnak “arrived yesterday afternoon, he’ll skate today and we’ll re-evaluate.” Tonight’s game against the Caps could see the return of forward Joonas Kemppainen, which would put the B’s at the 23-man roster limit.

“Really, it’€™s a matter of we play tonight, Joonas in all likelihood will come off IR, so our roster is what it is at this point in time,” Sweeney said, per WEEI. “We’€™ll make a decision going forward, and David will be a part of that process.”

The reason all this is such a big deal? It’s because the Bruins are suddenly struggling. They’ve lost four of their last five in regulation, including an extremely disappointing performance at home in the Winter Classic.

On top of that, two of their top forwards — the injured David Krejci and the suspended Brad Marchand — are currently unavailable. That could mean Ryan Spooner centering the second line, with Landon Ferraro on his wing, tonight against the Caps.

Pastrnak, 19, has only played 10 games for the B’s this season due to a foot injury. He has two goals and two assists.

Related: Pastrnak’s weak clearance draws Julien’s ire