The Boston Bruins are experiencing quite a bit of change. Not only did they fire Bruce Cassidy, but it is unclear whether Patrice Bergeron will return, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy are both out long-term following surgery, and now David Pastrnak’s future with the team seems suspect.
Last night, Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic wrote an explosive article about Pastrnak’s future in Boston, suggesting that he may not be open to a long-term extension. The piece even quotes a source close to the star forward, who claims there is “no chance” that Pastrnak would return with Don Sweeney as general manager.
Today, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet tweets that Pastrnak and agent JP Barry are expected to sit down with Sweeney in early July to discuss an extension. The insider also notes, however, that if Pastrnak won’t sign the Bruins would “definitely have to move him.” To Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, Barry also indicated that he doesn’t know where The Athletic’s report came from and that they have a “solid relationship” with Sweeney.
That’s perhaps shocking to some, given Pastrnak’s status in Boston as one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league but more and more it appears as though the Bruins are heading toward a rebuild. Trading the 26-year-old winger would obviously have a huge effect on any efforts in that direction, especially if it came with an attached extension wherever he ends up. The Bruins would likely get an incredible haul, given this is the kind of player that can push a team over the top and take them from playoff hopeful to Stanley Cup contender.
He’s done that for Boston for so many years, racking up 240 goals and 504 points in 510 career games. Pastrnak has been even better in the playoffs, totaling 74 points in 70 games, and remains one of the most lethal powerplay threats in the league. If made available, teams around the league would likely be scrambling over each other to get a chance.
Still, it wasn’t always this way for Boston. The team signed Taylor Hall to a four-year, $24MM contract last summer to give them a weapon beyond the first line. Just a few months ago they traded a huge package of picks and prospects for Hampus Lindholm, extending him to an eight-year $52MM contract immediately. Those aren’t moves that a rebuilding squad usually does, meaning that a Pastrnak extension should obviously still be a priority.
The question is really raised if he won’t sign it, and what that will do for the competitiveness of the team–Hall and Lindholm acquisitions be damned. If no deal is reached, Pastrnak could quickly become the biggest story of the summer.