Bruins

Could Peter Chiarelli have impact on David Pastrnak's contract talks with Bruins?

Could Peter Chiarelli have impact on David Pastrnak's contract talks with Bruins?

It’s been two full seasons since Peter Chiarelli was fired as the general manager of the Boston Bruins, but the former general manager still might have some say so over Boston’s salary cap situation moving forward. Chiarelli was pushed out in Boston as a result of a long stretch of poor drafts and some ill-advised contracts that edged the Bruins into salary cap trouble. 

He was almost immediately hired as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, and it’s in that capacity with his penchant for giving out generous deals that he might just put the screws once again to the Black and Gold. It all relates to the unresolved negotiations between the Bruins and 21-year-old restricted free agent David Pastrnak as he hits among a talented pool of RFA’s that haven’t yet been signed by their teams more than week since the July 1 open of free agency.

Don Sweeney said last weekend that he continues to speak with Pastrnak’s agent, JP Barry, and the hope is that the Bruins will close a long term deal with him sooner rather than later. 

“Just had some talks this week with [Pastrnak’s] group and hopefully that will lead to a resolution at some point in time, in the near future, but we have no timeline,” said Sweeney, while speaking on the final day of Bruins development camp at Warrior Ice Arena. 

To recap Pastrnak’s situation, there is virtually zero danger of an offer sheet being extended for an RFA in the world of the NHL, so the Bruins aren’t in a whole lot of real danger of that happening with their game-breaking right winger. Furthermore, the B’s have north of $13 million in salary cap space open to match any offer sheets that did theoretically materialize as they enter the typically quiet period of the NHL offseason. 

MORE BRUINS

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations said that progress was being made on a deal that would pay Pastrnak something just shy, both in term and AAV (average annual value), of the eight year, $49 million contract signed by Brad Marchand last fall. Something more in the neighborhood of six years, $36 million was thought to be what Pastrnak was looking at prior to Connor McDavid, Carey Price and Evgeny Kuznetsov all signing big money deals over the last few weeks.

It sounds like the Bruins have gone from encouraging progress to not much happening since McDavid, Price and Kuznetsov, among others, agreed to inflated deals that may lift the waters for free agent boats around the league when it comes to elite players looking for new contracts. None of them are straight-up comparable players to Pastrnak after his breakout campaign saw him net 34 goals and 70 points last season, but the bottom line is that elite, game-breaking players are seeing spikes to their market value.  

Getting back to Chiarelli and the Oilers, one player that is a direct comparable to Pastrnak is fellow 21-year-old restricted free agent center Leon Draisaitl. The young top flight Edmonton center is still unsigned after McDavid got his $12 million plus per year contract, and there were even mild Draisaitl trade whispers that the Oil won’t be able to afford both of those talented young centers.

Both Pastrnak and Draisaitl were first round picks from the same 2014 draft class, both had breakout third campaigns with comparable numbers and both have been brilliant performers on the international stage over the last couple of seasons. So it makes perfect sense that the hold-up for Pastrnak with the Bruins is simply waiting for Draisaitl to sign with the Oilers, and seeing if he sets a bigger, more lucrative market for his fellow restricted free agents. 

It could very well be that the talented, well-regarded Draisaitl tops $7 million in AAV with the Oilers when it’s all said and done, and that forces Sweeney and the B’s into inflating the final salary numbers for Pastrnak before it’s a done deal. Clearly the Bruins are going to do whatever it takes to lock down a player in Pastrnak that they see as a big building block for the franchise’s future, and that means paying more than they’d like to if it comes to that. 

It would just be the ultimate in hockey irony if it’s another helping of Chiarelli largesse in contract negotiations that ends up costing the B’s once again in the end.

David Pastrnak on injury: "Could I have avoided it? I wish [I had]"

David Pastrnak on injury: "Could I have avoided it? I wish [I had]"

BRIGHTON, Mass. – David Pastrnak had a mile-wide smile on his face at the thought of getting back on the ice with his teammates and playing games after missing the last five weeks with a left thumb injury. The 22-year-old is excited to knock the rust off and get back to the midseason form that had him post 31 goals and 66 points in 56 games, and saw him on a pace for 50 goals and 100 points prior to falling on his left hand back in early February.

“It’s a lot of fun being back on the ice with the guys. It’s been a few weeks [out of the lineup] so you kind of recognize that these guys are your friends and family, so it’s obviously feeling really good to be back,” said Pastrnak, who joked that he might not have been hurt a few years ago had he fallen on his left hand when he was 160 pounds instead of the 190 pounds he’s weighing in at these days. “Obviously these things happen in life and you just try to take advantage of it as a person and a player.

“Last year I was fortunate enough to be healthy all year, so it was really tough the first few weeks [after the thumb injury]. It feels good now. I’m taking shots and one-timers with no pain, so I’m happy to be moving forward.”

MORE FROM JOE HAGGERTY

But the young Bruins star also voiced tones of accountability and perhaps even remorse as he recounted the late Sunday night fall that led to the off-ice injury and the 16 games and counting that he’s missed as a result of it. The hope is that Pastrnak might even be able to play on Tuesday night against the Islanders while wearing a protective splint on his left hand, and he will be manning the right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand when that does happen.

“Obviously I let the guys down a bit. It’s a tough time. It’s not an injury that happened on the ice, so I took full responsibility for that. That’s what hurt me most. Could I have avoided it? I wish [that I had]. But obviously things happen. The fact that I could let somebody down, I definitely hate that. The first couple of weeks were tough.”

Now Pastrnak has roughly three weeks to get ready for the postseason and get back into top scoring form, and that’s the most important thing for both the player and the team now that he’s over the injury hump and ready to return. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Brad Marchand trolls Torey Krug in St. Patrick's Day themed Instagram post

Brad Marchand trolls Torey Krug in St. Patrick's Day themed Instagram post

It's been abundantly clear this season that, when healthy, the Boston Bruins have great chemistry. And it's easy to see why. This bunch of guys just seems to connect, and there's no better example of this than Brad Marchand and Torey Krug.

For the better part of the last few weeks, Marchand and Krug have been involved in a social media "feud" with one another. The posts have mostly made fun of one another for their stature or likeability, and they even tried to drag Patrice Bergeron into it at one point. And now, the battle has escalated yet again.

On St. Patrick's Day, Marchand took the time to post this hilarious image of Krug on Instagram.

Keep in mind, this is the same Instagram that Marchand launched with poking fun at Krug on his mind. His second post featured a well-captioned picture of Krug and did a lot to continue the "feud," which has largely been the two players making fun of each other's smaller statures. And obviously, this holiday-themed leprechaun post is continuing that theme.

As the season goes on, it will be interesting to see what heights these two go to in order to troll one another. Right now, they're both putting out some quality entertainment off the ice and on the ice (though Krug is still recovering from a concussion).

The Bruins suit up on Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Last time out, the Bruins snapped a three-game losing streak in their 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.