The feel from the outside and the scuttlebutt around the NHL is that the contract extension talks between Boston Bruins and David Pastrnak, could last deeper than the Boston Bruins would like.
“The feel I get is that both sides are in a wait and see mode right,” an NHL executive source told Boston Hockey Now on Sunday. “Don has a ton on his plate with Bergeron, Krejci, signing Zacha, and probably making some trades to make that all work. On the flip side, I think Pastrnak and his camp are probably interested to see where things are headed in Boston. There could be some lean years ahead soon. Does he want to be part of that?
This could drag on or maybe it gets done this week. Who knows? But I don’t think it’s as much a certainty it gets done before camp as some may believe.”
Remember, the agent for David Pastrnak, J.P. Barry, had to quell speculation that David Pastrnak wanted out of Boston if Don Sweeney – who at the time was not signed to an extension himself – remained on board as Boston Bruins general manager.
“88 had seen how Don has treated his two best friends,” a source close to David Pastrnak wrote The Athletic in a text on June 7. “No chance he comes back with Sweens as GM.”
The following day, Barry told the Boston Herald this:
“I spoke with Don and David this morning and we don’t know where this report emanated from,” Barry told the Boston Herald. “We both have a solid relationship with Don and the plan hasn’t changed one bit. We will sit down in July and begin extension negotiations.”
Barry and Sweeney did just that at the NHL Draft in Montreal July 7-8 and last Monday Sweeney made it clear that he intends to make David Pastrnak a ‘lifelong Bruin’:
“We’re fortunate to have him. Our meeting with JP went well and they’re going to talk to David and [we will] attack it as soon as we can, Sweeney said after the draft wrapped up on July 8. “They know the position the organization is in and how aggressive we’d like to be. David has a say in that obviously, so you hope the two things align. And you move forward in an aggressive manner. He’s a big part of the Boston Bruins.
We haven’t exchanged numbers. We’re just talking and being aggressive and saying we’d like David to be a lifelong Bruin. Strongly indicated to him we’d like him to be a lifelong Bruin.”
However, when asked if numbers had been exchange between him and Barry five days later, Sweeney got a bit testy.
“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. 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. But we’re going to attack it in an aggressive mindset and see where it hopefully plays out. That’s really the timeline to be more definitive and answer your question.”
The questions now appear to be how aggressively do Barry and David Pastrnak want to attack contract extension talks and, as the source above pointed out, can Sweeney really do anything until he figures out a more immediate dilemma of finding a way to fit centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci into the cap equation for this season?
Furthering complicating things for the Bruins now are the recent contracts that Johnny Gaudreau (seven years, $68.25 million) signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets this past Wednesday and that Filip Forsberg (eight years, $68 million), signed on July 9. As my colleague, Joe Haggerty pointed out recently:
‘Pastrnak has more goals (240) and more points (504) in less games played (510) than the Nashville winger. So expect at the bare minimum for Pastrnak to be north of that at for at least $9 million AAV, but very likely it’s going to end up well north of that amongst the elite players in the league. Pastrnak averages .998 points per game through his NHL career and .471 goals per game while Forsberg sits at .389 goals per game and .829 points per game.’
Counting Pastrnak’s expiring contract ($6.6 AAV), the Bruins have six contracts for a total of just under $18 million coming off the books after this coming season so the Bruins can offer similar contracts and likely more than Gaudreau and Forsberg, but then they still need to fill out a competitive roster with the remaining cap space. Also, even if, as expected, Krejci and Bergeron return this season, they’re likely done after that. How competitive will the Bruins be then?
David Pastrnak will get paid big on his next contract. The Bruins want that contract to be with them but what if Pastrnak wants to wait it out and have a monster season like Johnny Gaudreau just did with the Flames before eventually going to market?
The NHL Betting Odds on signing Pastrnak would likely be in his favor right now but Sweeney is not in an enviable position, that’s for sure.