The Bruins were already on pace for the best record in NHL history when they added toughness and depth for what they hope will be a long playoff run this spring.
Now general manager Don Sweeney has helped secure the team’s future, too.
Boston signed All-Star forward David Pastrnak to an eight-year contract extension on Thursday that will pay US$90 million — the sixth-richest deal in NHL history. The deal locks up one of the league’s MVP candidates through the 2030-31 season for US$11.25 million per year.
“Our goal was all along to make him a lifelong Bruin,” Sweeney said. “We’re very happy to have David be a part of our team now and for the foreseeable future.”
Pastrnak, 26, is second to Edmonton’s Connor McDavid this season with 42 goals, adding 38 assists while leading Boston to the best record in the NHL. Entering Thursday night’s game against Buffalo, the Bruins (47-8-5) had 99 points in 60 games — a 135-point pace that would surpass the 132 of the 1977 Montreal Canadiens.
Sweeney has also bolstered the roster heading into Friday’s trade deadline, acquiring forward Tyler Bertuzzi on Thursday in a deal that will send a top-10 protected first-round pick in 2024 and a fourth-rounder in 2025 to Detroit. (The Red Wings are retaining half of Bertuzzi’s salary for the rest of the season.) Last week, Sweeney acquired defenceman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway from Washington.
That might have helped Pastrnak commit long-term.
“We’re confident in what our organization offers to David,” Sweeney said. “The success we’ve had — and hopefully going to continue to have — is a big part of that.”
Pastrnak, who was eligible to become a free agent after this season, has spent all of his nine NHL seasons with the Bruins, totalling 282 goals and 302 assists. With fellow forwards Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand, he helped the team finish with at least 100 points in the last four full NHL seasons and reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2019.
“These are the guys I grew up with, pretty much my NHL career,” Pastrnak said. “I’ve been learning from them every day. It’s an amazing accomplishment to play your career in one team. That’s definitely what was stuck stuck in my head going into this negotiation.”
Bertuzzi, 28, helps fill a gap left by an injury to Taylor Hall, who was placed on long-term injured reserve on Thursday. The 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick, who has 16 goals and 20 assists this season, won’t be available until late March — if at all.
By placing him on injured reserve, the team saves US$6 million against the salary cap, making room for Bertuzzi. The ex-Red Wing has 14 points in 29 games this season and 88 goals and 114 assists in a career in which he has never made the playoffs. Forward Nick Foligno was also placed on injured reserve. He has 10 goals and 16 assists this season.
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