Boston Bruins

  • I wonder if the Bruins are getting sick of talking about how they’re talking with David Pastrnak’s camp, which is led by NHL superagent J.P. Barry.

    Still without a contract extension to Pastrnak’s name over three months after Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said the Bruins were going to be ‘aggressive’ in re-signing him, Monday’s media day press conference at Warrior came with more of the same from Sweeney in regards to the negotiations with No. 88.

    “Well, both sides have been open about continuing our talks [into the season],” Sweeney said. “I don’t think things change at all from that standpoint, unless David takes a different position. But up until this point we’ve been communicating regularly and when he feels comfortable, hopefully we finalize a deal. There isn’t any timeline on that, but we’re going to have to communicate almost every day to tell you the honest truth, and see if we can find the finish line.”

    The good news? Pastrnak is not going full Lamar Jackson on the Bruins beginning Wednesday, and has instead made it known he has no issues with in-season talks if it gets the sides closer to a deal.

    “Of course I’m comfortable,” Pastrnak said. “I really worry about just the hockey, to be honest. I have people working for me and obviously I know J.P’s in daily contact with Sweens, so I don’t really worry too much besides playing hockey right now and obviously focusing on having a good start and making sure my game is right where I want to be.”

    So, what’s the hold up?

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 23: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins skates down ice against the New York Rangers during the first period at TD Garden on April 23, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 23: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins skates down ice against the New York Rangers during the first period at TD Garden on April 23, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • Before you kill the Bruin for their inability to get Pastrnak to sign the dotted line just yet, multiple sources have told 98.5 The Sports Hub that the Bruins have been willing to go extremely high with Pastrnak on his next deal. One source even indicated that the Bruins have offered what would be the richest contract in team history, meaning an offer that topped the $9.5 million cap hit franchise defenseman Charlie McAvoy landed in 2021.

    This doesn’t appear to be a case of the Bruins not wanting to pay that man his money.

    It’s just part of the squeeze that’s come with the cost of doing business in The Year of the High-Priced Forward, and with every agent in hockey trying to forecast just how much the cap will explode in the coming years.

    Outside of Boston, the Panthers welcomed Mattew Tkachuk to town with an eight-year, $76 million ($9.5 million cap hit) deal. In Calgary, the Flames inked Jonathan Huberdeau to an eight-year, $84 million ($10.5 million cap hit) contract. The Islanders’ Mat Barzal proved that he did really wanna stay on Long Island and got himself a new deal, valued at $9.15 million per season beginning next year, to prove it. Oh, and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon blew everybody out of the water when he signed an eight-year extension worth $100.8 million ($12.6 million cap hit). MacKinnon’s cap hit, which will go into effect on the Avs’ books in 2023-24, is the richest in NHL history.

    Speaking with us last month, Sweeney would neither confirm nor deny to me whether or not those contracts have reconfigured the talks with Pastrnak’s camp at any point, instead noting that “there’s always goalposts and framing.”

    But the trends almost completely confirm that Pastrnak, who has scored the fifth-most goals in hockey over the last six seasons, will come in somewhere in the middle, and that he’s gonna cost the Bruins several pretty pennies.

    “David is a special player,” Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said. “We try not to comment about ongoing negotiations, but David is obviously a special player. Ownership is aware that we need to be aggressive in trying to re-up David to a new contract. To that end, Sweens and Cam have been working on that.”

    What’s been three months of alleged aggression from the Bruins has picked up. The sides are talking almost every day, as both Pastrnak and Sweeney confirmed, and Pastrnak himself is hopeful that a deal will come soon.

    “Yeah, well, I know they’re talking every day, so obviously they’re trying to to get something done, you know?” Pastrnak said. “It’s good that they are in touch. So, I’m confident that it will get done here.”

  • Mar 3, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 3, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period at T-Mobile Arena. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)

  • But until the deal gets done, there’s going to be nervousness around the situation.

    In the summer, Pastrnak acknowledged the frustration that comes with coming up short in the postseason, and there was a report out of Czechia that suggested that Pastrnak wasn’t completely sold on what the Bruins were going to look like after a potential ‘last dance’ with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci in 2022-23.

    Given Pastrnak’s UFA status at the end of the season, that’s enough to get you antsy, I must admit.

    So I had to ask Pastrnak, just how important is it that the Bruins remain a Cup threat throughout any extension in Boston, which would almost certainly keep him in town through his Age-34 season?

    “Well, I think Boston is known for that. Even if they weren’t exactly like [the favorite] before the season, I think Boston is always a contender,” Pastrnak said. “You know, it’s always starts [in the] playoffs, just all you need to do is make the playoffs pretty much every year and then anything can happen in playoffs, right? L.A. won twice from the wild card. I don’t worry about it because I know Boston is going to be a playoff team for a long time.”

    Huge, huge, huuuuuuge answer. Pastrnak isn’t saying, “No. This team needs to make a bunch of moves before I commit to staying here for the prime of my career.” He knows there’s no magic formula to put him on a legit Stanley Cup contender on July 1, 2023. (And the teams you’d circle as true Cup contenders on that date almost certainly won’t have the cap space to add Pastrnak or even match what the Bruins can and will offer him.)

  • Feb 15, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his goal with left wing Brad Marchand (63) during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 15, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his goal with left wing Brad Marchand (63) during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • The Bruins have also made it clear to Pastrnak that there’s no teardown coming.

    “Obviously, a shot-first winger certainly wants to know who his centerman is going to be [and] we’ve made it very clear to David that we’re very aware of that particular position moving forward and we’re going to do everything we possibly can to fill that void when that happens,” Bruins president Cam Neely acknowledged. “I think that he also sees that we signed Charlie McAvoy long-term, we signed two good goaltenders that are with us, we got [Hampus] Lindholm [signed] long-term, Taylor Hall is here for a few more years, we got Brad Marchand for a couple more years.

    “We’re not stripping it down by any means. I think he’s certainly been told that, and he recognizes that, and he knows that we’re in a good position this year. We’re here to show everybody that we’re not stripping this thing down. We’re going to continue to build on it.”

    And the Bruins aren’t going to change their stance on this front between now and Pastrnak signing a contract.

    This ownership group simply has no appetite for what many would consider a full rebuild. And it’s worth noting that the team has never gone through what you’d consider an intentional rebuild since the 2005 lockout. That 2005-06 season was a disaster accelerated by trading a quarter for three nickels with Joe Thornton’s move to San Jose, and the following season actually began with the Bruins throwing big-money deals at Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard. The Bruins didn’t open those years expecting to have a ‘DNQ’ next to their name, and the worst they’ve finished since those years has been ninth in the Eastern Conference.

    The Bruins are instead hoping that Pastrnak can become the team’s 1B foundational piece next to McAvoy — and with the strong supporting cast Neely mentioned — to carry on another window of contention even after Bergeron and Krejci leave Boston.

    That’s something that appears to be of significant interest to Pastrnak, too.

    “They built something special here and I’ve been here for a while with them now to to recognize, see, and learn from those two guys,” Pastrnak said of Bergeron and Krejci. “That’s something that’s not going to disappear when they leave. The legacy and the leadership has to stay here, and it’s going to be up to us to make sure it stays here.”

    The best way to do that, of course, is to make sure Pastrnak also stays here.