On Wednesday when Bruins’ GM Don Sweeney spoke publicly to the media in the wake of the signings of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha, he also made notable comments about a subject many Bruins’ fans have become concerned about: is the organization coming closer to accomplishing an extension with Bruins’ star David Pastrnak?
Sweeney spoke to the fact that Bruins’ management has been making an effort throughout the summer to advance conversations about a deal, and ideally to complete a contract extension with Pastrnak before he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Sweeney said he’s been in regular communications with Pastrnak and his agent JP Barry and that negotiations will ramp up even more when Pastrnak returns from Europe, where he has spent most of his summer.
“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 Wednesday.
When asked if he can risk going into the season without reaching a new deal with Pastrnak, Sweeney had this to say:
“Yeah, I mean, 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 it, not a problem.”
The negotiations, if not completed before the start of the season, could cause questions about Pastrnak’s return to loom over the team throughout the 2022-23 season. It could produce a similar environment to what the Bruins dealt with in the 2019-20 season when the team didn’t reach an agreement to extend Torey Krug, who then left Boston for St. Louis when he was allowed to become a free agent at the end of that season.
With the team in ‘win-now’ mode, it’s unlikely Pastrnak would be traded during the season, and if negotiations fail to produce an agreement with the 26-year-old forward, he would enter unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career after the upcoming 2022-23 season.