David Pastrnak is not worried about the fact that he is at the 2023 NHL All-Star weekend in Sunrise, Florida and still without a new contract extension with the Boston Bruins.
David Pastrnak is one of the most easy-going and affable characters in the NHL. That was on full display Friday night at the NHL Skills competition when Pastrnak took to ice in a Happy Gilmore Bruins jersey and did a routine paying homage to the Adam Sandler classic for his turn in the Breakaway Challenge. As expected though, the questions from the assembled media scrum afterwards didn’t take long to veer away from Pastrnak’s movie taste and creativity. The 26-year-old, unrestricted free agent winger-to-be, who leads the Bruins in goals (38), assists (34), and points with 72, was asked if he’s concerned that it’s early February and he’s still not locked up by the Bruins?
“Obviously I feel fine,” told reporters late Friday night. “There’s no rush. In the middle of the season, you’re focusing on the hockey and everything. You don’t really think about the contract situation. It’s in the hands with your agent, management and [Bruins general manager Don Sweeney]. I’m just thinking about hockey and playing, honestly, so that’s pretty much all I’ve been doing.
J.P. and ‘Donnie’ talk every day,” Pastrnak said. “I actually haven’t talked to JP for a while because of the tough schedule we had, but I’m going to give him a call. I think he’s here, so we’re going to meet up. We’ll see.”
Truth be told, Pastrnak could’ve pulled another fun routine and dressed up as Captain Obvious to answer that question. Why would Pastrnak be worried?
The superstar winger bet on himself in a contract year, and while it’s no Aaron Judge performance, David Pastrnak is on pace for 55 goals and 55 assists. Many around the NHL believe it will take an eight-year contract with an $11.5M AAV to keep Pastrnak in black and gold, and according to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, it appears that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney mistakingly thought that either Pastrnak wouldn’t have the season he’s having or that he’d take a hometown discount.
I think there are some players here, and Dylan Larkin is one of them, and David Pastrnak’s another,” Friedman said. “I saw a lot of agents [Friday] – and we’re gonna talk agents in another minute – Pastrnak? I think that one is moving towards getting done.
I think when this is over, we will find out that David Pastrnak pushed the Boston Bruins in a position they didn’t think they would get to, and didn’t want to be in simply because David Pastrnak. …what’s the biggest weapon you have in a negotiation? The willingness to say no. And, I think David Pastrnak had a willingness to say: ‘Look, if you guys aren’t going to do this, it’s going to be a problem’ and I think he pushed the Bruins into an area that maybe they didn’t want to go, and I think it’s gonna get done because they didn’t recognize it has to get done.
That’s my opinion. I mean I asked him in the media scrum in Toronto on Wednesday, I went to the morning skate, and I said ‘Anything to do with the contract?’ and he just said ‘No’, and I just said ‘OK. I respect that’, I think we’re getting there.”
With the NHL trade deadline less than a month away, Sweeney most definitely wants to get there ASAP so he can have an idea of how much contract term and cap space going past this season he can acquire. The read here, and it’s just a hunch, don’t be surprised if something is announced by the next time the Bruins take to the ice on Feb. 11 in a 3:30 PM ET nationally televised matinee against the Washington Capitals.