Don Sweeney and the Bruins have, on numerous occasions, said that they were going to attack the David Pastrnak extension talks “aggressively.”
Speaking with reporters in Montreal last week, Sweeney noted that he had a good talk with Pastrnak’s agent, and though dollar numbers were not exchanged, he made the Bruins’ intentions clear. It even seemed as if Bruins team president Cam Neely let a little somethin’ somethin’ slip when it came to the overall vibe of the situation between Pastrnak and the Bruins. Usually when Neely does that, it means that it’s a mere inevitability and an announcement is coming real soon.
The start of free agency, of course, marked the first day that the Bruins could have inked Pastrnak. But that wasn’t the move for the Bruins, who instead made a trade for Pavel Zacha and signed five depth players by the day’s end.
So, what about Pastrnak?
“Nothing concrete,” Sweeney said when asked for an update on Pastrnak’s extension. “We didn’t exchange any numbers, as I said the other day. Officially we can now. So, we’ll go right to work in seeing where David’s at and we’ll take an aggressive mindset and hopefully find the common ground and see. There’s no timeline on it.”
Well, that’s a little weird. They’re being aggressive (and they’ve repeatedly let you know how aggressive they’re being), but they didn’t talk numbers with the game’s fifth-most productive goal scorer since 2016. They instead put their focus on the likes of Dan Renouf and Vinni Littieri and helping load up the P-Bruins. Why do I have a strange feeling that I have a different idea of what ‘aggressive’ means?
So, I had to ask, is there a method to the madness of still not talking numbers?
“Well, today was the very first day, in all honesty, that you could actually put a number in front of the player. So, with a lot going on elsewhere, it’s just not an area we’ve touched on,” Sweeney said. “Maybe I’ll call tonight and let you know after that, whether or not I’ve actually exchanged numbers if you’re that concerned about it.”
(Note: I still have no idea if Sweeney was being dick-ish snarky or fun snarky. Either way, after that comment, I told him that I’d be happy to give him my email if that’s what he wants.)
Those ‘very first day of numbers’ blues didn’t stop Tampa Bay from handing out three massive extensions between Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli, and Erik Cernak to eight-year extensions each and for a total of $159.6 million. Nor did it stop St. Louis from making an eight-year, $65 million commitment to Robert Thomas. But in Boston, the focus was apparently on depth and some close-but-not-close-enough (so far) talks with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
The only aggressive behavior we’ve seen so far is passive-aggressive snipes towards me, an idiot who is not in need of an eight-year contract worth like $80 million (I’ll happily negotiate take that deal through, Mr. The Sports Hub.)
But Sweeney is sticking by what he’s said when it comes to No. 88.
“We’re going to attack it in an aggressive mindset and see where it hopefully plays out,” Sweeney said. “That’s really the timeline to be more definitive and answer your question.”
My only follow-up question: When? Because any time not spent figuring out exactly what it’ll take to keep the franchise’s most gifted goal scorer of the 21st century in town sure feels like time wasted. Aggressively wasted, in fact.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.