Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak could be ahead of schedule in their rehabs

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Although nothing is set in stone yet, the NHL is still tentatively targeting a Jan. 1 start date for the 2020-21 season.

That means that as of now, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak would still likely miss game time early in the season.

Both underwent offseason surgeries -- Marchand a sports hernia repair and Pastrnak a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair. Marchand's expected timeframe for a return is mid-January, while Pastrnak's is mid-February.

While that certainly complicates the Bruins' approach to the start of the season and puts some pressure on the rest of the forward corps to step up right off the bat, the good news is that everything seems to be going well and at least right on schedule for Marchand and Pastrnak.

Speaking to Amalie Benjamin of NHL.com, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy suggested his top two wings might even be a little ahead of schedule.

"They may even be ahead of schedule, for all I know," Cassidy said. "I just know how hard those two guys work as well. … Guys that train hard will probably stay on schedule, or at least get a little bit ahead.

"So I guess we're optimistic right now where their progress is. The unknown becomes [that] it's hard to project what game they'll be in because we don't know when our first game is, right? So that's the other part of this. Right now, we're expecting to have them early in the season. But I don't know, until we get the schedules, it's hard to say that they'll miss this amount of time or that amount of time."