Have we entered the ‘source’ era of the David Pastrnak talks?
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 15: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 15, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
This isn’t David Pastrnak’s first negotiation with the Bruins.
And this isn’t the first time a summer has inched closer and closer to fall (apple over pumpkin forever, you bozos) without a Pastrnak resolution in sight.
Ah, so this is what happens when the KHL threat is no longer on the table as a viable option, huh?
Now, this is not to dump all over the reporting from these guys. I don’t know them personally (and they do good work), and given that they’re are based out of Pastrnak’s home country, it’s not impossible to imagine that they have someone telling them things regarding No. 88.
But this feels right out of the posturing playbook, with a pro-Pastrnak rep making it known that Pastrnak will have other options — and plenty, really — should the B’s decide to F.A.F.O with their top scoring talent.
The Bruins, for what it’s worth, have shown no real interest in messing around with these talks.
Don Sweeney, while a biiiiiit snippy at times, has been open about the Bruins’ willingness to pay Pastrnak and their decision to keep him with the club beyond this season.
You can question the approach — I still can’t for the life of me figure out why the sides didn’t exchange numbers right off the bat when free agency began (something the Lightning did with three core pieces) — but the willingness to spend on Pastrnak has never been in doubt to me.
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. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
And when the Bruins want to keep a core piece, they’ve typically done exactly that. In fact, the only ‘core’ piece the Bruins have walked away from in Sweeney’s tenure has been Torey Krug. (The Bruins didn’t try to talk David Krejci out of his plans to play back home and my understanding is that the Bruins offered Zdeno Chara more money than the Capitals did prior to the 2021 season.)
Sweeney’s time-and-place details for these re-signings is also important, as the Bruins’ last two big-money extensions (Brad Marchand in 2016 and Charlie McAvoy in 2021) both came in training camp. The Bruins also struck a deal with Pastrnak in camp last time he needed a new deal.
In other words, it feels like Sweeney has set his sights on ramped-up talks when all parties are settled back in Boston and preparing for the upcoming season.
It’s also worth noting that Sweeney hasn’t displayed any worries when it comes to re-signing Pastrnak. Either this is a next-level poker face or he knows enough about the situation to feel comfortable with letting a summer of potential discussions move along at a glacial pace.
May 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his power play goal with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (22) behind him during the second period in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)
All of this is a long way of saying that it’s still too early to sound any alarms.
That means and has meant doing right by them. The Bruins did it for the latter when they acquired (and immediately extended) Hampus Lindholm last deadline. That was a move made knowing that the weight of the defense couldn’t be on McAvoy and McAvoy alone for both the present and future. They know that the long-term scope of the center position needs improvement. And if Pastrnak is here for the long haul, they will 100 million percent make sure that it’s addressed. ASAP, in fact. Bet your house on that.
But as far as outright panicking? In the ‘source’ era of contract negotiations?
We’ve all been here long enough to realize that’s wasted anger.
…Until training camp comes and goes without a deal and the ‘sources’ get louder, anyway.
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.