Bruins News & Rumors: Zacha, Pastrnak, Bergeron & More

In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, general manager Don Sweeney moved Erik Haula to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Pavel Zacha last week. Meanwhile, contract talks with David Pastrnak are ongoing, but according to one source, it may take some time before a deal is done. Another contract management is waiting eagerly to be signed is Patrice Bergeron’s, who continues to remain undecided on whether or not he will play another season. Last but certainly not least, Jack Ahcan has agreed to a one-year extension for the 2022-23 season.

Bruins Acquire Zacha

On the opening day of free agency, Sweeney struck a trade with the Devils, which saw Haula headed out of town in exchange for Zacha. This trade has the potential to work out great for the Bruins, as Zacha is still just 25 years old and was taken sixth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. The one issue, however, is that he is still without a contract for the upcoming season.

Pavel Zacha New Jersey Devils
Pavel Zacha, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

On Monday, Zacha filed for salary arbitration. This means that negotiations between the two parties will begin on Wednesday and have to be wrapped up by Aug. 11. It’s uncertain what his contract will look like since he has not yet lived up to his draft status. In 70 games last season, the Czech forward recorded 15 goals and 36 points.

As for Haula, his tenure with the Bruins lasted just one season, and the Devils will now become the sixth team he has played for in the past five seasons. That said, his lone season in Boston was solid, as he stepped up when called upon to be the team’s second-line centerman and did a solid job in that role. In 78 games, he had 18 goals and 44 points.

Pastrnak Extension Could Take Some Time

After some trade whispers popped up early this offseason, Sweeney has since stated that his only desire is to get Pastrnak signed to a long-term deal and the GM recently said he plans to be aggressive in doing so, meaning a contract agreement could be reached in the near future. However, according to one source who spoke with Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now, that may not be the case.

Related: Boston Bruins: Predicting David Pastrnak’s Next Contract

“The feel I get is that both sides are in a wait and see mode right now,” the source told Murphy. “Don has a ton on his plate with Bergeron, Krejci, signing Zacha, and probably making some trades to make that all work. On the flip side, I think Pastrnak and his camp are probably interested to see where things are headed in Boston. There could be some lean years ahead soon. Does he want to be a part of that? This could drag on, or maybe it gets done this week. Who knows? But I don’t think it’s as much a certainty it gets done before camp as some may believe.”

This comes as no surprise, but it sounds like Pastrnak is the one hesitating, not the other way around. As mentioned above, the Bruins could struggle in the coming years as plenty of their core is reaching the final stages of their careers, while some of that core (Bergeron & Krejci) remain unsigned.

Bergeron Still Pondering Future

Weeks ago, many insiders believed that Bergeron would soon sign a one-year contract with the Bruins for the 2022-23 campaign. While that is still possible, it’s no longer the guarantee it was thought to be in June. According to Sweeney, the reigning Selke Trophy winner is still undecided on whether or not he wants to continue playing.

“Nothing’s changed,” Sweeney told reporters. “I think we’re in a really good place with Patrice. Just the timing and working out the details of his contract, allowing him to declare that he’s good to go. Could be any timeframe there. … He’s the only one that’s gonna make that final announcement because he has the final say.”

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As Bergeron continues to play the game at an elite level, watching him retire would be very disappointing for fans. That said, he has earned the right to take his time and make the proper decision for himself and his family. The soon-to-be 37-year-old recorded 25 goals and 65 points in 73 games this past season.

Bruins Re-Sign Ahcan

On Sunday, it was announced that the Bruins have re-signed Ahcan to a one-year, $750,000 deal. The deal will reportedly have a $115,000 salary in the American Hockey League and a $125,000 total guarantee.

Ahcan, 25, spent most of the 2021-22 season with the Providence Bruins, where he scored six goals and 23 points in 46 games. He got in an additional six games at the NHL level, where he recorded the first assist of his career and averaged over 16 minutes of ice time. He remains a depth option more than anything at this point but could see some time with the big club again in 2022-23.

Looking Ahead for the Bruins

Now that opening of free agency and the NHL draft has passed, the Bruins must now focus on Bergeron and Krejci. Getting these two signed will be huge if they hope to chase a Stanley Cup in the 2022-23 season. If that doesn’t come to fruition, it may be tough for Jim Montgomery’s squad to reach the playoffs.