One of the biggest stories that could play out this upcoming season is the contract situation between the Boston Bruins and their star goal-scoring winger, David Pastrnak. Pastrnak, a Rocket Richard trophy winner, will play the 2022-23 season on the final year of his $6.66MM AAV deal, and is undoubtedly in line to receive a significant raise on his next contract. He will be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of this season, which has led many to speculate that he could leave Boston in a similar fashion to the way other star wingers, such as Johnny Gaudreau and Artemi Panarin, have left their teams as free agents.
According to Pastrnak, though, that’s not the ideal way for things to turn out. When asked today whether he was optimistic about an extension being finalized with the Bruins, Pastrnak answered yes, and added that he is “extremely happy” in Boston and that it’s an “honor” to wear the Bruins’ sweater. For the Bruins, getting Pastrnak signed to an extension has to be their number-one off-ice priority for next season. Pastrnak has scored at or above a point-per-game rate for the past four seasons and at 26 years old should have many prime years ahead of him. If the Bruins want to have any hope of remaining competitive in the next several years, they’ll need to find a way to keep Pastrnak around.
Now, for some other notes about preseason rumblings:
- 2021 seventh-overall pick William Eklund spent most of last season playing in the SHL, but that won’t be where he’s playing in 2022-23. As relayed by Corey Masisiak of The Athletic, Eklund has said that he is “definitely” staying in North America and will either play for the Sharks in the NHL or the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL, wherever the organization deems he should be. Eklund endured a difficult campaign last year as his SHL club, Djurgardens, was relegated to the Allsvenskan. His choice to make the transition to North American hockey is wise, as he’ll have the chance to continue his development under the watchful eye of the Sharks’ development staff.
- The Vancouver Canucks made headlines when they signed center J.T. Miller to a long-term extension, and the deal left many wondering if Elias Pettersson’s future was on the wing, since it was presumed that the Canucks would opt to keep Miller and Bo Horvat as centers. While that was a reasonable thing to wonder, it seems that the Canucks are planning to play Pettersson as a center for next season. Per Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre, Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau plans on deploying Miller, Horvat, and Pettersson as centers, believing that he is able to do so thanks to the team’s “upgraded top-nine.” Pettersson’s last two seasons have been rockier than he’d likely have hoped, so the Canucks are seemingly hoping that allowing Pettersson to center and drive his own line will help stabilize his game.