The Boston Bruins have a major decision to make with David Pastrnak this offseason. At this juncture, their primary objective is to get the star forward signed to an extension, and that is entirely understandable. However, if he is not open to signing a new contract with the Bruins, they will be forced to move him. They simply cannot lose a player of that caliber for nothing through free agency in 2023.
Pastrnak signing an extension is unfortunately not a slam dunk, either. Fluto Shinzawa recently reported that a source close to Pastrnak texted The Athletic saying that the winger wouldn’t sign a new contract with the Bruins if Don Sweeney remained with the team (from “A David Pastrnak trade and full rebuild loom as a possible next step for Bruins,” The Athletic, 6/7/22). That has since been denied by his agent, but there’s no question that it has made things more interesting heading into the summer.
Alas, if Pastrnak and the Bruins do not come to terms on an extension, a trade will have to be considered. If this scenario comes to fruition, these three teams could be potential landing spots for the 2014 first-round pick.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings seem like a team who would target Pastrnak if he’s officially made available. They already are linked to Chicago Blackhawks sniper Alex DeBrincat, and he plays a very similar game to Pastrnak. Furthermore, after the successful 2021-22 season that the Kings had, they are in a position where they should be adding to their roster. Acquiring a superstar winger like him could be exactly what helps them become potential contenders again.
Although the Kings have officially moved past their rebuild, there are still some areas that they need to improve. They have some solid right-wingers on their roster, but none of them stand out as being first-liners. Pastrnak’s elite goal-scoring ability makes him just that, so the Kings would be extremely wise to pursue the 26-year-old forward. With that, he has the kind of big personality that could help him thrive in Los Angeles.
In terms of an ideal trading partner for the Bruins, it’s hard to find a better one than the Kings as they have an abundance of alluring prospects and young NHL-caliber players. Two top-tier prospects who could be on the Bruins’ radar in a Pastrnak blockbuster are Alex Turcotte and Brandt Clarke. When it comes to the NHL-ready options, Arthur Kaliyev, Rasmus Kupari, and Sean Durzi would be worth considering. Of course, any deal would also have to include a first-round pick.
The Anaheim Ducks are in a position where they can make a major splash this summer. Although general manager (GM) Pat Verbeek traded away Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, and Rickard Rakell at the deadline, the future is still very bright for this franchise, as they have an array of young players like Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry who took massive steps forward this season in their developments. With this, they could be in a position to bring in a player like Pastrnak to help improve their core even more.
The Ducks are also heading into this offseason with just under $40 million of cap space, so they can afford Pastrnak with ease. They also would have zero trouble signing him to a long-term extension if they acquired him with their plethora of cap space. Having a dynamic duo of Pastrnak and Zegras could be exactly what helps Anaheim get back into the playoffs. This is especially true if their younger players continue to improve every year.
The Ducks have some pretty interesting players that the Bruins could pursue in a trade centering around Pastrnak. Mason McTavish is exactly the kind of prospect that Boston should target, as their center depth is disastrous. This will be even more prevalent if Patrice Bergeron decides to retire. With that, two NHL players who would be worth considering are Max Comtois and Jamie Drysdale. To round this move off, perhaps the Bruins could get back the first-round pick they gave up in the Lindholm trade.
New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils are expected to have an eventful offseason. Although it’s only mid-June, they already have been linked to players like DeBrincat, J.T. Miller, and New Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau. Thus, if the Bruins shop Pastrnak this offseason, it’s hard to believe that they wouldn’t target the Czech native. Their biggest goal this offseason is to add scoring wingers to their roster, and it’s hard to find a much better one than him.
When looking at the Devils’ forward group, it’s clear that Pastrnak would be a perfect fit on their first line. This would be massive for Jack Hughes, as it would finally provide him with an elite linemate. With Hughes having a pass-first mentality, he could be a perfect center for a sniper like Pastrnak to play with. To round off the trio, Jesper Bratt would be a quality choice at left wing. That would be a pretty lethal combination and one that could get the Devils back into the postseason.
Like the Kings, the Devils also have plenty of assets to make a potential Pastrnak trade occur. It has been reported that they are open to moving their second-overall pick, so that is already a major starting point for the Bruins. Yet, it’s also hard to believe that they would part ways with it unless Pastrnak immediately signed an extension. As for potential prospects, Alexander Holtz, Arseni Gritsyuk, and Shakir Mukhamadullin stand out. For an NHL player, Yegor Sharangovich could be a strong fit in the Bruins’ top six. This is especially true when noting that he can play all three forward positions.
Alas, it will be intriguing to see what happens with Pastrnak this summer. The Bruins desperately need to find a way to get him signed to a long-term extension, as he is their best goal-scorer. However, if no progress is made during the contract negotiations, don’t be surprised to see the star shopped with these three teams in the mix.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.