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Bruins, Pastrnak agree on new deal

By CONOR RYAN, Springfield, Mass.

September 14. 2017 10:37PM
Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his game winning goal in overtime of their 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden on Jan. 24. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

After months of varying contract offers, stretches of radio silence and one possible jump to the KHL, the Boston Bruins finally have their man in 21-year-old forward David Pastrnak.

The skilled winger finally agreed to a new contract with Boston Thursday, signing a six-year, $40 million deal that will keep the Czech native with the Black and Gold through the 2022-2023 season.

For Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, who addressed the media on the first day of the team’s training camp Thursday, locking up Pastrnak to a long-term deal was a collaborative effort by both the organization and Pastrnak’s agent, J.P. Barry.

“I think that it’s important to acknowledge the work that J.P and his group and David, as well,” Sweeney said. “As well as our group and the support of ownership. To me, I always said that we were going to find a deal.

“It took time, right up against it. It wasn’t a deadline, we didn’t look at it that way. We had a strong line of communication. I just think the work paid off for both sides to find a good landing spot and I know that both sides are extremely happy to have it resolved and get the full complement (of players) at camp, which I think everybody would acknowledge is in the benefit of everybody’s interest.”

While Pastrnak — who planned to remain in the Czech Republic until inking a new contract — was not present during Thursday’s off-ice testing at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Mass., Sweeney noted that the forward is flying to Boston and is expected to land Friday night.

The timing of Pastrnak’s deal came at a good time with training camp just about to start up for Boston, but Sweeney reiterated that the organization wasn’t setting the start of camp as a deadline to strike a deal with Pastrnak’s party.

“No, there’s no timeline,” Sweeney said. “There’s just a level of communication and respect for both parties and understanding where their positions are and keep working at it. As I said, J.P and his camp and our camp, they just stayed at it and I just have to tip my hat to how it was handled in that regard.

“I think we just found the right landing spot for both sides that made a deal that worked. We worked on some structure stuff last night. Again, there’s a lot of variables that go into it and a lot of work. The result is a positive one to where we stand today.”

Despite the prolonged contract discussions, there was no question that Sweeney and the Bruins were committed to locking up Pastrnak to a long-term deal. Pastrank is coming off of a breakout campaign, ranking second on the Bruins in both goals (34) and assists (36).

“We felt all along that David is a big part of what we’re trying to build here and he’s a motivated player, he made a hell of a jump last year,” Sweeney said. “He’s earned, in my belief, the opportunity to be in the top five of those guys coming off entry-level and we paid him accordingly. That’s a huge commitment from the organization.”

When looking at Pastrnak’s deal, it’s easy to find comparable numbers to other young forwards — including Nashville’s Filip Forsberg (six years, $36 million) and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau (six years, $40.5 million).

Of course, Leon Draisaitl’s new mega deal with the Edmonton Oilers (eight years, $68.5 million) certainly spiked the market — something that Sweeney made note of.

“Draisaitl is a comparable, certainly,” Sweeney said. “As were several other players that fall into the same band. They were all discussed and sort of blended in and created some different levels of conversation for sure.”