David Pastrnak will be on the ice when the Bruins fully open training camp on Thursday. Will he be here for next year’s camp and the one after that and so on?

That is still to be determined.

But in his press conference on Wednesday after the players underwent their precamp testing, GM Don Sweeney did his best not to say much about the ongoing negotiations with his star right wing, who is entering the final year of his contract before unrestricted free agency.

Pastrnak said last week that he wouldn’t mind negotiating during the season, and on Wednesday Sweeney reiterated that same position.

“I don’t think there’s a concern (with that). David would be the only one to ideally speak to that. In a perfect world we would try and be aggressive, to have him sign long term as a life-long Bruin. It’s always been our goal,” said Sweeney.

Pastrnak expressed confidence last week that a deal will get done but, as is his way, Sweeney played it closer to the vest than the player when asked the same question,


“I really don’t expand until a deal is done. Because things just change,” said Sweeney. “You recognize that there’s factors in play and (comparable) groups and you just try to grind it out. Ultimately, you’ve got to find common ground and the player has to be happy and we’re going to try to do that.”

One factor that shifted the landscape was the mammoth contract extension that Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon signed on Tuesday, making him the league’s highest paid player at $12.6 million a season for eight years starting next season.

Pastrnak may not be quite in the same echelon as MacKinnon, who is coming off a Stanley Cup victory and plays center. But he’s not that far off, either. MacKinnon, a year older than Pastrnak, has 648 points in regular-season NHL games and 93 points in 70 playoff games. The 26-year-old Pastrnak has 504 points in 510 regular season games and 74 points in 70 playoff games. Pastrnak has hit the 40-goal goal plateau twice and MacKinnon has done it once.

Pastrnak could well approach Charlie McAvoy’s $9.5 million AAV and perhaps become the Bruins’ first $10 million man. Some team in the NHL would certainly pay him that. How much he’s willing to help the Bruins out, and how much value he puts on playing in a city and for a team he clearly loves remains to be seen. But a huge hometown discount would not appear to be in the cards.

Much was made of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci taking team-friendly, one-year deals. But Sweeney acknowledged that those two veterans are at different stages of their careers than Pastrnak, whose next contract will be the most lucrative of his career.

“The salary cap is a dynamic in any of these equations that we’re trying to put together. I don’t think there’s much of a comparable between where Patrice and David are in their careers,” said Sweeney. “David (Pastrnak) is a young player in the prime of his career and I think when Patrice and David Krejci signed their (previous) contracts, they were market-value deals. And I expect us to approach it the same as we did with all our other deals, whether it was Charlie McAvoy or anybody else… I think we’ve been pretty consistent in trying to put market-place deals (together). That’s just what it requires. They’re really good players. They have leverage.”


While Sweeney is certainly appreciative of Bergeron and Krejci of the deals that were signed, it can create a perception around the league that the Bruins are always getting their guys signed on sweetheart deals.

“Let’s be honest, the media doesn’t help us in that regard from a negotiation standpoint,” said Sweeney. “But we have to do our job, and ultimately that’s what I’m going to try and do. As an organization, we’ve been wanting to retain our good players, our young players and David’s one we want to retain.”

THE BRUINS didn’t officially announce when or even if Zdeno Chara’s number would be retired, but Cam Neely confirmed it would happen eventually.

Tuesday’s event that featured Chara signing a one-day contract to retire with the Bruins followed by a press conference made the end of the 45-year-old’s playing career official. But the expectation has always been that another ceremony would eventually follow.

Chara’s status as longtime Bruins captain, future Hall of Famer and Stanley Cup winner all but assured that No. 33 would eventually hang in the TD Garden rafters. Neely obviously agreed.

“I mean with all he’s done for the franchise, it’s kind of a no-brainer,” Neely told NESN.

At the press conference Neely was asked if he thought Chara, who the Bruins signed as a free agent from the Ottawa Senators, was the best signing in history.

“Absolutely, I would agree with that statement, especially where the team was at that particular moment in time. Then what Zdeno not only brought on the ice but also in the locker room,” Neely said. “The leadership abilities and qualities he has and the demand that he had for his teammates to follow a certain lead and to really build back the culture of this organization.”

NOTES: One of the biggest question marks facing the Bruins will be how the defense holds up without McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk to start the season. Coach Jim Montgomery said he wants to pair veterans Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo with young players in mentorship roles for camp but expects they’ll play together once the season starts. The Bruins have just two established right-handed defensemen with McAvoy on the shelf, Carlo and Connor Clifton. Montgomery said Jakub Zboril will get the first crack at playing his off side but he’s also comfortable with Mike Reilly and, when he’s healthy, Grzlecyk playing on the right as well… Montgomery said Fabian Lysell will likely be in the lineup in the team’s first preseason game on Saturday in Philadelphia. He expects it to be a young lineup … While he expects to have Taylor Hall-Krejci-Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha-Bergeron-Jake DeBrusk to start as his first two lines, Montgomery didn’t want to speculate on the bottom six until he’s able to do more evaluation… Matt Filipe (lower body) will not be ready for the start of camp.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.