The agent for Bruins superstar David Pastrnak threw cold water on a report that his client would not re-sign with the Bruins if Don Sweeney remained as general manager.
“Untrue,” Pastrnak’s agent, J.P. Barry, said in an email. “We will sit down with Don in July and discuss an extension.”
The Athletic, citing an unnamed source close to the player, reported Tuesday that there would be “no chance” of Pastrnak returning if the same GM were in office.
“Not sure who this source is,” Barry said. “It’s a mystery.”
Pastrnak, entering the final year of the six-year, $40 million contract he signed in September 2017, can endorse a new deal as early as July 13. He is due for a major bump from his current $6.667 million cap hit, which ranks as one of the best bargains in the NHL.
Since Pastrnak signed that second contract, only Alex Ovechkin (222), Auston Matthews (219), Leon Draisaitl (204), and Connor McDavid (193) have scored more goals than Pastrnak (181). Those players command average salaries between $8.5 million (Draisaitl) and $12.5 million (McDavid).
The Athletic’s source said that in deciding his future, Pastrnak would be influenced by the departures of Torey Krug (2020) and David Krejci (2021). Both players were career-long Bruins before leaving town.
“88 had seen how Don has treated his two best friends,” the source in The Athletic report said. “No chance he comes back with Sweens as GM.”
Krug left for St. Louis in October 2020, signing a seven-year, $45.5 million deal with the Blues. After the deal was announced, Krug said the Bruins revoked his contract offer.
“When they offered me a year ago and then it’s gone, I don’t know what I’m expected to do,” Krug said. “Just being blunt and honest with you. Most people don’t share that side of it, but it is what it is.”
Following Krug’s departure, Sweeney did not address those comments. He said the sides disagreed on contract length.
“Not agreeing, from a contractual standpoint, is never disrespecting a player,” Sweeney said. “You just don’t find the common ground. The bottom line is we fell short on term. But from a competitive standpoint and what offers were made, we were very comfortable in the position we were in and what we tried to accomplish.”
Krejci returned to play in his native Czechia last season, citing a desire to play in front of family. His six-year, $43.5 million contract was at its end. The Bruins were not likely to offer close to the same annual value (a team-high $7.25 million).
“I want to play in front of my parents, brother and friends,” Krejci said in a statement at the time. “I want my children to live where I grew up, spend time with so many Czech family members who love them and create lifelong memories.”
Krejci produced a 20-26—46 season in 51 games with hometown HC Olomouc, 3-2—5 in five playoff games, and also shined on the international stage. He went 1-3—4 in four games at the Beijing Olympics in February, and put up 3-9—12 with Pastrnak in the Czechs’ bronze-medal effort at the World Championships last month.
Sweeney has left the door open for Krejci to return this season. Last week, the Bruins GM said he “had a discussion with David’s people … and I expect at some point in time we’ll communicate.”
Efforts to reach Krejci’s agent, Robert Hooper, were unsuccessful.