BOSTON – The puck drops on the new Bruins season on Wednesday, but there’s still some unfinished business before the games begin. And with the season just a few days out, that business could bleed into the new season.
That deal is, of course, a contract extension for scorer David Pastrnak. Bruins fans have waited all summer for the team to lock up their leading scorer in four of the last five seasons, but Pastrnak remains unsigned beyond the 2022-23 season.
Other stars in the NHL have gotten their bag over the past few months. A nice comp for Pastrnak is the eight-year, $76 million deal the Florida Panthers gave Matthew Tkachuk after acquiring him from the Flames via trade. The Boston brass are well aware that they need to pony up some Benjamins for Pastrnak, and the usually sparse franchise sounds ready to do just that.
“David is a special player,” CEO Charlie Jacobs said at Monday’s media day at Warrior Ice Arena. “We try not to comment on ongoing negotiations, but David is a special player. Ownership is aware that we need to be aggressive in re-signing David to a new contract. To that end, [Don Sweeney] and Cam [Neely] been working on it.”
The risk now is that these negotiations will carry into the season, which could cause a distraction for the parties involved and the team as a whole. Sweeney said Monday that discussions with Pastrnak and his camp are happening daily and won’t stop if they can’t come to an agreement before the Bruins take on the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.
“Both sides have been open about continuing our talks, so I don’t think things will change at all from our point of view unless David takes a new position. Up until this point, we’ve communicated regularly and when he feels comfortable , hopefully we’ll close a deal,” Sweeney said Monday. “There is no timeline on it. We will continue to communicate every day to tell you the honest truth and see if we can find a finish line.”
Pastrnak led Boston with 40 goals in 70 games last season, and the team has no desire to let him leave town. Neely said his pitch to Pasta has been simple since talks began.
“We’re not stripping it down here. We’re building on it,” Neely said.
The Bruins really want Pastrnak to be a big part of what they’re building, and Pastrnak knows it. Hopefully, the two parties can come to an agreement sometime in the next few days.