David Pastrnak maintained all along that he wanted to be a Bruin. He made good on that claim on Thursday.
And the Bruins certainly compensated him well for it.
Pastrnak, one of the most skilled, electric forwards the Bruins have ever had, signed the richest deal in club history, a maximum eight-year contract that will carry an $11.25 million average annual value, a cool $90 million contract.
For the most part, Pastrnak has been able to compartmentalize the negotiations aside from the hockey. It certainly hasn’t slowed him down this year, as he’s on track to become the Bruins’ first 50-goal scorer since team president Cam Neely did it back in 1993-94.
“I think I was pretty honest with you guys. I didn’t really worry about it much, especially when I get to the rink and play. That was off my mind,” said Pastrnak. “Obviously when you’re at home, you think about it. It’s a little different (from his last contract negotiation). You are older and you are not making the decision alone. You have a family, so it’s been definitely different since I signed the last one. I was much younger. I would say it didn’t affect me on the ice. It was more when I was sitting at home and thinking.”
The Czech-born Pastrnak came to the Bruins as an outgoing, effervescent 18-year-old and has grown up in the organization through both good times and tough personal times. Two summers ago, his and his fiance Rebecca’s son, Viggo Rohl, died six days after being born; that understandably took a lot out of him. Last summer, when he was on better emotional footing, he wanted to put negotiations aside and just focus on his offseason workout program. He put his trust in agent J.P. Barry and General Manager Don Sweeney to get things done.
He admits that in the back of his mind he thought of what playing elsewhere might be like, but he didn’t go too far down that road.
“Of course you think about every situation,” said Pastrnak. “The life is not always easy for you. There’s been many things that’s been talked through this process. Of course you think about your options. But as I’ve said, at the end of the day, this is home and it’s our home away from home.”
The deal will take him to his 35th birthday. He has a full no-movement clause in the first five years of the deal. In Year 6, he has a modified no-trade clause that stipulates he must provide an eight-team list of teams he’d agree to be traded to, which bumps up to 10 teams in Year 7. In Year 8, he must provide a list of 10 teams that the club could not trade him to.
Pastrnak could well be on his way to being a lifetime Bruin, like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci appear to be.
“It’s huge,” said Pastrnak. “These are the guys I grew up with, pretty much in my NHL career and I’ve been learning from them every day. It’s an amazing accomplishment to play your whole career with one team. That’s definitely stuck in my head going into these negotiations. I’m honored and happy I’m staying here and I can’t wait to get to work.”
For Sweeney, he heard everything Pastrnak was saying about wanting to stay in Boston, but it did remove a weight off his shoulders to finally get the deal done.
“Until a deal is done, you have some anxiety, but we’re confident with what our organization offers to David with the success we’ve had and hope to continue to have,” said Sweeney. “And he’s a big part of that. The commitment from ownership to get a deal done is quite obvious with where this deal landed.”
Team-building moving forward will be more difficult. According to capfriendly.com, the Bruins have approximately $65 million committed for next season’s roster before any bonuses to Bergeron and Krejci and overages, with only six forwards, six defensemen and one goalie signed from this year’s roster. The cap is expected to go up only minimally from its $82.5 million upper limit for next season.
“There’s no question you have to hope that the cap is going to go up at some point in time,” said Sweeney.
Pastrnak has put his faith in Sweeney that the GM will be able to figure out how to stay competitive.
“Honestly, I must say that through this process, my relationship — at least from my standpoint — grew closer with Sweens,” he said. “And as a player, that’s none of my business, so I never dared to ask him about the future. I trust him. He’s doing his job and I’m going to do my job.”
What is left, should Bergeron and Krejci retire, is a pretty good framework. With Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Taylor Hall and Linus Ullmark all signed for two or more years after this year. Neely believes his team can remain competitive and not fall off a cliff as some have been predicting for years.
“You never know, but that’s the plan, certainly with our back-end and goaltending,” said Neely. “We’ll have some work to do up front in the next couple of years but I think we’ll still be very competitive.”
The news certainly made the locker room happy.
Cracked Marchand: “He better be buying every team dinner moving forward.”
Bruins acquire Bertuzzi
The Boston Bruins acquired forward Tyler Bertuzzi from Detroit on Thursday for two draft picks, including a 2024 top-10 protected first-rounder.
The Red Wings also received a fourth-round pick in 2025, per the announcement. Detroit retains 50% of Bertuzzi’s $4.75 million cap hit.
Bertuzzi, 28, has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 29 games this season. He missed roughly six weeks — including the whole month of December — with a hand injury that required surgery.
Bertuzzi helps the Bruins contend with the injury to Taylor Hall, who was placed on long-term injured reserve on Thursday. Hall, 31, has tallied 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 58 games this season.
Also Thursday, the Bruins placed forward Nick Foligno on injured reserve and recalled forward Jakub Lauko from Providence, the club’s AHL affiliate.
-- Field Level Media