BRIGHTON, MA – While there was undoubtedly some Boston Bruins excitement generated by new contracts signed by Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha at the beginning of this week, it doesn’t appear that momentum is going to carry over immediately to looming UFA David Pastrnak.
Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney characterized negotiations with the 25-year-old game-breaking right winger as “ongoing” and indicated that the B’s were prepared to go into the season with him unsigned if that’s the way things play out for both sides.
“It’s part of the business. You know, leverage is out there, and the conversations are ongoing. We’ve made our intentions known all along and we’ll continue to do that, and we’ll go from there. But you know, as far as entering the season with [Pastrnak not signed], not a problem,” said Sweeney. “Ongoing would probably be the best way to describe [negotiations]. We’ve been in regular communication. “Obviously, David’s still over in Europe and likelihood is he’ll come back, and we’ll talk between now and then. When he gets back, we’ll maybe have a better idea of a deal timeline. But I don’t have one today and you guys know me well enough, I’m not going to comment publicly on ongoing negotiations, but we’ve been in regular contact with JP.”
Sweeney said at the beginning of NHL free agency this summer that the B’s intended to be “aggressive” when it came to re-signing their explosive winger coming off 40 goals and 77 points in 72 games for the B’s last season. But the way things have played out this summer Pastrnak could very easily be looking at an eight-year contract worth $10.5 million per season like the one Jonathan Huberdeau signed with the Calgary Flames earlier this month.
The Boston Bruins are more likely looking at Pastrnak to sign a contract like the eight-year, $9.75 million per season deal that Johnny Gaudreau signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, a pact that would help the Bruins avoid having a $10 million plus per year player on their salary cap.
But it sounds like at this point there hasn’t been a deep discussion between the two sides on what exactly Pastrnak is thinking, and whether or not he’s ready to sign a contract that could potentially make him a Boston Bruins player for life. It was interesting hearing Patrice Bergeron speaking earlier this week about his philosophy contracts, and how part of his calculus was making sure the Boston Bruins would have enough cap space to ice a competitive team.
“The dollar sign obviously, I’m not going to say that we’re not well paid. We are extremely [well-paid] and beyond what I ever dreamed of, as far as salary goes. That being said I think leaving a few on the table to make sure you’re a competitive team and you’re a good team and that it carries on for years, I think that to me makes a big difference,” said Bergeron. “I think that’s how we want to play the game. You want to play the game to win. You want to play the game to be successful. You want to play the game to have friendships and memories. I think that’s the one thing that you hope people buy into. And I think this team and guys, even the younger guys, have been really buying in. You hope that this carries on.”
David Krejci is good friends with Pastrnak but didn’t shed much light on his thoughts about a future in Boston when asked about it earlier this week as he readies for a season where they very likely will end up as Czech linemates like they’ve always wanted to be.
“I signed a one-year contract [with the Bruins]. I want to do everything I possibly can to make a move and make a push and this was a big, big part of my decision and why I decided to come back. I understand [David Pastrnak] has one year left,” said Krejci. “Then he’s going to be a free agent, but it’s up to him. I obviously want to be back this year with him on the same team. What happens next is what happens next. He’s got his own life. It’s his future. I don’t know.
“I haven’t talked to him. I don’t know what he’s thinking [about his future]. If that’s the question you asked me, he’s been in Europe the whole summer. I’ve been in the U.S. And we talked a lot about this year, the first month about me coming to Boston like I said, him and Bergy were a big part in my decision.”
Certainly, the Boston Bruins are hopeful that Pastrnak shares their sentiment about being in Black and Gold for the rest of his career, and there’s really no reason to think otherwise at this point. But questions will remain when there were initial reports that Pastrnak might balk at signing an extension with the Bruins, and when there’s no deal within arm’s reach for both sides entering the right winger’s final contract year.