BRIGHTON, Mass – David Pastrnak said with a wide smile that the first big purchase he made after signing his $40 million contract was an $8 Japanese dinner at the Galleria food court in Cambridge, so clearly money hasn’t changed the 21-year-old.
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Pastrnak joined his Bruins teammates Saturday for the second on-ice day of training camp at Warrior Arena and skated with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk in a line that could make it all the way into the regular season if the chemistry is right.
Pastrnak was clearly happy to be signed, sealed and delivered after his agent, JP Barry, and the Bruins got things hammered out on Thursday morning. He said he never envisioned playing anywhere else but in Boston.
“It was a little bit harder when it turned to September and other guys from Czech towns left to get ready for their seasons and I kind of stayed by myself," said Pastrnak, adding with a smile that he had a rule at home with his mom this summer that they don’t talk about the contract. "It was a little tougher, but I can’t say I got really nervous. That’s how it works and you just have to be patient. Sometimes you can’t find an agreement until we did, and I want to thank JP [Barry] for a great job. I trust him and I let him do his job.
“The only thing is I really wanted to be here with the guys. It was a really long summer and I couldn’t wait to see them. Torey Krug went through it a couple of summers ago, and it’s just a part of hockey. For me, the biggest focus was getting ready for the season and leaving [the contract] to more experienced guys.”
With one of the biggest contracts handed out to a player coming off their entry-level deal, it’s clear that the bar will be raised for Pastrnak after 34 goals and 70 points last season. That’s okay with Pastrnak, who still takes the same hard-working attitude to the game that’s equal parts confident swagger and joyful approach to hockey.
“I want to have a better season and I want the team to have a better season, and that’s the motivation,” said Pastrnak. “There’s no [pressure] for me unless you guys [in the media] are going to put the pressure on me. For me, it’s still hockey and I’m excited to be back.
“I want to play as much as I can and just help the team. It’s fun to play here and I’m happy I can come back to the Garden. I want to get stronger in the legs, I want to always get faster and keep getting a better shot. There are so many things you want to get better at as a player, but you can’t really do it all at once. Everything has a progress and I had a great summer back home.”
Now, with Pastrnak signed and ready to go with little missed time after a summer of uncertainty, the young winger is poised to see exactly how good he can be with the best years of his NHL life in front of him.