Bruins Sign David Pastrnak, Acquire Tyler Bertuzzi From Red Wings
It’s been a busy morning for the Boston Bruins.
The biggest news is they re-signed David Pastrnak to an eight-year, $90-million contract extension. The annual average value is $11.25 million with a full no-movement clause in the first five years and a modified no-trade for the final three.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boom goes that silly illusion that Pastrnak should accept a “hometown discount” of $8 million annually for eight years.
The Bruins had the 26-year-old winger for the past six years on a bargain deal of $6.7 million annually. Over the course of that contract, Pastrnak became an elite scorer, sitting fifth in total goals (223) and winning the Richard Trophy in 2020. He’s currently on pace to become the first Bruin to enjoy a 50-goal season since Cam Neely in 1993-94.
Pastrnak is poised to become the Bruins’ franchise player with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in the twilight of their careers. Indeed, the case can be made that he already is their franchise player.
The Bruins couldn’t afford to lose Pastrnak. His new cap hit is comparable to what Toronto’s Auston Matthews (another Richard Trophy winner) is earning on his contract. Yes, it’s expensive, but that’s the cost of keeping a superstar.
The Bruins also made another trade, acquiring Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in 2024 (top-10 protected) and a fourth-rounder in 2025. The Wings are also retaining half of Bertuzzi’s $4.75 million cap hit for this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move should provide the Bruins with impressive depth at left wing with Bertuzzi joining Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand for the remainder of the season. However, this deal may have been made due to a lower-body injury suffered by Hall on Monday. That could mean he’ll be sidelined longer than just a few games.
Whatever the motivation for acquiring Bertuzzi, it’s a significant move by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. It comes a week after bringing in Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from Washington. When healthy, the 28-year-old Bertuzzi is an agitating winger with a good scoring touch, tallying 30 goals in 68 games last season.
Bertuzzi is the second player traded by the Red Wings in as many days with Filip Hronek getting shipped to Vancouver yesterday. Wings general manager Steve Yzerman might not be done as he’s also reportedly looking at moving Jakub Vrana and Filip Zadina.
The Bruins’ David Pastrnak tallies his 40th goal of the season, the Jets’ Connor Hellebucyk stops 50 shots to beat the Rangers, the three stars of the week are announced, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored his 40th and 41st goals of the season in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Jake DeBrusk also scored and Linus Ullmark made 30 saves for the Bruins (43-8-5) as they opened a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the overall standings with 91 points. Claude Giroux replied for the Senators as they dropped to 27-25-4 (58 points) and sit six points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is gaining ground on Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid in the race for the Richard Trophy. The Bruins star sits one goal back of McDavid. This is also the third time in the past four seasons that Pastrnak has reached the 40-goal plateau.
The Winnipeg Jets got a 50-save performance by Connor Hellebuyck to defeat the New York Rangers 4-1. Mark Scheifele scored twice while Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists as the Jets improved to 35-21-1 to sit one point out of first place in the Western Conference standings with 71 points. Vincent Trocheck scored for the Rangers (33-15-9) as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points.
An overtime goal by Carter Verhaeghe lifted the Florida Panthers over the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 despite a 51-save effort by Ducks goalie John Gibson. Matthew Tkachuk collected two assists for the Panthers (29-25-6) as they vaulted over the Pittsburgh Penguins into the final Eastern wild-card spot with 64 points. The Ducks are 17-33-7 on the season.
Three unanswered third-period goals by Bo Horvat, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson gave the New York Islanders a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nelson finished with two goals while Ilya Sorokin kicked out 44 shots for the Islanders as they improved to 29-24-7 and hold the first Eastern wild-card berth with 65 points. Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker replied for the 27-20-9 Penguins while Tristan Jarry made 28 saves in his first game since Jan. 22.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders announced that center Mathew Barzal is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body (knee) injury. He’s expected to return before the end of the regular season.
San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer stopped 26 shots to shut out the Seattle Kraken 4-0 in his first start since Jan. 27. Erik Karlsson and Logan Couture each collected two points for the 18-29-11 Sharks. The loss leaves the Kraken (32-19-6) sitting in third place in the Pacific Division with 70 points, one behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings and two back of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights.
The Philadelphia Flyers upset the Calgary Flames 4-3. Wade Allison snapped a 3-3 tie in the third period while Samuel Ersson picked up the win with 32 saves as the 23-25-10 Flyers (56 points) sit eight points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund each had a goal and an assist as the Flames sank to 26-20-11 (63 points) to sit two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers leading scorer Travis Konecny left this game in the second period with an upper-body injury. There was no update regarding his condition following the game. Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim was a healthy scratch from this contest.
NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin as the three stars for the week ending Feb. 19.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights reportedly placed captain Mark Stone (back) on long-term injury reserve. The move gives the Golden Knights a projected $8.7 million in trade deadline cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move suggests Stone is likely out for the remainder of the regular season but could return for the playoffs. It’s also an indication that the Golden Knights are preparing to bring in his replacement before the March 3 trade deadline.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette is hoping that Alex Ovechkin returns to the lineup later this week. Ovechkin is away from the roster indefinitely dealing with the recent death of his father. The Capitals have lost four straight games, three of those without their captain.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: The Blues have activated defenseman Marco Scandella off injured reserve for Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. They also activated defenseman Scott Perunovich off LTIR and sent him to their AHL affiliate in Springfield for conditioning.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Defenseman Chris Wideman is the latest Canadien to be sidelined after suffering an upper-body injury during the club’s recent skills competition.
What’s the latest on Patrick Kane? Could the Bruins acquire Timo Meier? Will the Canadiens move Josh Anderson? Could the Penguins use their first-round pick as a trade chip? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
THE LATEST ON PATRICK KANE
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the Blackhawks and Patrick Kane are preparing for all possible trade scenarios with the trade deadline less than a month away.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).
Kane is aware that several teams have reached out to his agent to express interest in acquiring him. He admitted there are “definitely possibilities out there that are intriguing and could be exciting.” However, he has not yet decided if he’ll waive his no-movement clause.
Some contenders are believed to be concerned over Kane’s lower-body injury. However, the 34-year-old winger dismissed those worries. Meanwhile, Blackhawks management is preparing for “every potential scenario, large to small,” said team CEO Danny Wirtz.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears both sides are approaching this situation cautiously. Kane and Jonathan Toews are expected to meet with Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson in mid-Feburary to discuss their respective futures.
Both players could waive their respective NMCs. Perhaps only one of them will do so. Both of them could decide to finish the season in Chicago and explore their options in this summer’s free-agent market.
Teams with an interest in Kane will want assurances that his lower-body injury won’t impede his performance over the remainder of the season. It could also affect whatever return the Blackhawks receive if they find a suitable trade destination for him.
Meier, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. His current annual cap hit is $6 million but he’s earning $10 million in actual salary, which is what it would cost to qualify his rights by June 30 unless he and his team agree to a new contract before then.
Acquiring Meier would also mean clearing some salary to make room for him in the current lineup. Haggerty believes that would mean moving out a forward like Charlie Coyle or Jake DeBrusk, or a defenseman such as Brandon Carlo or Matt Grzelcyk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Haggerty pointed out, it seems unlikely that Pastrnak will be going to market based on his comments during the All-Star weekend over his contract situation. He anticipates the Bruins superstar will be staying in Boston on an eight-year, $88 million extension.
IS A JOSH ANDERSON TRADE LIKELY BEFORE THE DEADLINE?
SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked if there was any truth to a recent report that the Montreal Canadiens don’t want to trade winger Josh Anderson. He believes the more accurate portrayal of how general manager Ken Hughes feels about trading or not trading Anderson would be to say that he’s not actively shopping the winger.
Engels doesn’t see Anderson as an untouchable. He believes Hughes would move the winger for the right price, such as a package offer of a 2023 first-round pick, a good prospect and a roster player on an expiring contract. The acquiring club would also have to take on Anderson’s full $5.5 million cap hit.
He also raised the possibility that Hughes could see Anderson as a potential bargaining chip if there was a possibility of acquiring center Pierre-Luc Dubois this summer if he’s unwilling to sign a long-term deal with the Winnipeg Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the report being referred to here was TSN’s Darren Dreger last week saying Anderson wasn’t in play despite the Canadiens getting calls from other clubs. Dreger said the same thing as Engels: Hughes isn’t shopping him but could move him if he gets an offer too good to refuse.
Some of you might wonder why Engels believes the Canadiens would want an NHL player on an expiring contract in the deal. I think it would be to try and flip that player to another club at the deadline for another asset.
As for using Anderson to acquire Dubois, I concur with Engels that the winger on his own wouldn’t be enough to land the Jets center. They’ll have to add a first-round pick and a top prospect into the mix.
As Engels also pointed out, if the Canadiens really want Dubois and he wants to join the Habs, they only need to wait until the summer of 2024 when he becomes a UFA. Signing him will be expensive but they won’t have to part with any other assets to get him.
PENGUINS GM NOT PARTING WITH FIRST-ROUND PICK
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports Penguins GM Ron Hextall will not trade his 2023 first-round pick to move out some salary or in a straight-up deal. He said conversations have picked up in the trade market but he has not been asked for his first-rounder.
With limited salary-cap space, Hextall is in the market to improve his third forward line. Kingerski speculates he could be seeking a third-line center.
Matthew Tkachuk named MVP as Atlantic Division wins 2023 All-Star Game plus the latest on David Pastrnak, Sean Couturier, Robin Lehner and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Atlantic Division defeated the Central Division 7-5 to win the 2023 NHL All-Star Game with Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin tallying a hat trick. Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk was named tournament MVP.
Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images)
The NHL announced the 2024 All-Star Game will be held in Toronto.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak remains unconcerned that he hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Bruins. He told reporters on Friday that his agent and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney talk every day and insisted there was no rush to get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. While I understand why some Bruins followers may be nervous over his current contract situation I don’t believe they need to worry.
Pastrnak loves being a Bruin and they want to re-sign him. He’ll get the maximum eight-year contract. The only question is how much it’ll cost. Based on his performance, it will likely be over $11 million annually.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said there’s a possibility Sean Couturier could return to action before the end of this season. Couturier, 30, underwent a second back surgery last October. Fletcher said Couturier has resumed skating and is working out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t going to rush Couturier. Fletcher said they’re taking the long view with his recovery.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Bankruptcy documents filed last week by Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner and his wife, Donya, reveal they owe creditors $27.3 million against personal property of $5.1 million.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals signed winger Sonny Milano to a three-year contract extension worth $1.9 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals are using the All-Star weekend to take care of business as they also re-sign Dylan Strome on Friday to a five-year deal. Like Strome, Milano has found a home with the Capitals after struggling to prove his worth with previous clubs. With 22 points in 40 games, the 26-year-old winger could exceed his career high of 34 points in 2021-22 with the Anaheim Ducks.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed forward Adam Erne on waivers yesterday. If he clears by noon ET today, he’ll be sent to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids to make room for Jonatan Berggren.
SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to reporters before the All-Star Game yesterday. He said that the league has no plans to change its playoff format.
OTTAWA SUN: Bettman also confirmed that potential buyers for the Ottawa Senators will submit their bids soon. He indicated more than 15 groups have expressed an interest in purchasing the franchise.
“I want to be very clear, whoever buys this club is doing so to keep it in Ottawa,” said Bettman. “I say that so there is no speculation on the point.”
DAILY FACEOFF: Bettman said hockey-related revenue for 2022-23 could reach $6 billion “give or take”. It was around $5.4 million last season.
The commissioner also dismissed concerns over a recent report indicating US television ratings were down by 22 percent compared to last season. “Let’s not get too carried away with ratings,” said Bettman. “Viewership is up nationally.” He anticipates ratings will rise once the NFL season ends.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly claimed viewership was up 27 percent “across the board”. He also said the league will be showcasing games on ABC.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Bettman did say the league is monitoring the financial struggles of the Bally Sports regional sports networks and exploring options in case the worst were to happen. Daly said the Bally situation “may not necessarily result in bankruptcy.”
THE ATHLETIC: Bettman said the league must respect individual choice if players decide not to take part in events such as Pride Night. “You know what our goals, our values and our intentions are across the league, whether it’s at the league level or at the club level,” he said. “But we also have to respect some individual choice. And part of being diverse and welcoming is understanding those differences.”
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers have offered Canadian women’s hockey star Sarah Nurse a job at the club’s future practice and community rinks at FTL War Memorial. They want her to be the face of the Panthers’ girls’ hockey program.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like the two sides will be negotiating a deal.
THE PROVINCE: Hundreds of mourners filled the Musqueam Indian Band community centre on Saturday to celebrate the life of Gino Odjick. The former Vancouver Canucks forward died on Jan. 15 of a heart attack at age 52.
Results and highlights from the All-Star skills competition, the Capitals re-sign Dylan Strome, details behind the Senators’ farm-team coaching change and the despair of Canucks fans in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Here are the winners of the seven events staged on Friday’s All-Star skills competition at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals signed Dylan Strome to a five-year, $25 million contract extension. The 25-year-old center is on a one-year, $3.5 million deal and was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After spending 3 1/2 seasons trying to prove his worth with the Chicago Blackhawks, Strome signed a one-year deal with Washington last summer. He turned out to be a solid addition, especially as injuries piled up for the Capitals during the first half of this season. Strome is seeing top-six minutes playing at center. With 36 points in 52 games, he’s third among Capitals scorers.
TSN: Claire Hanna reports sources said trust issues were behind the Ottawa Senators’ decision to fire Troy Mann, the now-former head coach of their AHL affiliate in Belleville. “I’m told the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Mann gave some of the Ottawa Senators’ pre-scouting material to another NHL team.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, that was unexpected. It’ll be interesting to see if there are further details about this story in the coming days.
THE PROVINCE: Some Vancouver Canucks fans are growing frustrated with the club’s ongoing on-ice struggles and the lack of answers from the front office. “We’re stuck in a state of perpetual mediocrity and it’s extremely frustrating because hope is disappearing,” said fan Andrew Melo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melo probably isn’t the only Canucks fan sharing that feeling right now. In the 12 years since the franchise came within a game of winning the 2011 Stanley Cup, they’ve reached the playoff just four times and are poised to miss this year’s postseason.
The Canucks have had difficult periods before, from their first eight seasons where they made the playoffs twice, their mid-80s struggles, and the late-90s that saw the departures of franchise stars Pavel Bure and Trevor Linden.
Melo isn’t wrong when he describes the Canucks’ current woes as those of perpetual mediocrity. Former general manager Jim Benning deserves his fair share of the blame. The current management of hockey ops president Jim Rutherford and GM Patrik Allvin has done little thus far to improve things.
The main reason, however, seems to be owner Francesco Aquilini’s stubborn resistance to a proper roster rebuild. That’s resulted in a scattershot approach toward “retooling” that threatens to waste the best years of young Canucks stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.
The 24-year-old center is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1 with arbitration rights and will also be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He was repeatedly linked last summer to the Montreal Canadiens before signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Jets.
Kypreos didn’t rule out the possibility of Dubois joining the Canadiens this summer. “He is not staying in Winnipeg long term,” said Kypreos. “There is nothing that can change his mind from what I’m hearing”.
Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).
According to Kypreos, the Jets’ surprisingly strong performance this season is the only reason Dubois isn’t on insiders lists of candidates to be moved at the trade deadline. He doesn’t believe there’s anything that could change Dubois’ mind even if the Jets were to win the Stanley Cup this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ agent raised eyebrows last summer saying his client wouldn’t mind playing for the Canadiens one day. The center downplayed the rumors tying him to the Canadiens last summer and did so again last week when the Jets played the Habs in Montreal.
Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness recently sang Dubois’ praises, adding he’d do everything he could to convince him to sign a long-term contract. There’s no indication thus far that Jets management has engaged in contract extension talks with the Dubois camp.
The Canadiens, of course, haven’t mentioned any interest in Dubois because they’d run afoul of the league’s anti-tampering rules. His addition would accelerate the Habs’ rebuild but they could be leery of investing in a big-ticket player at this early stage of the process. If there were interested, they could balk at the cost of trading for him and then inking him to an expensive new contract.
It’s clear the “Dubois to the Canadiens” speculation isn’t going away as long as uncertainty remains about his future in Winnipeg.
Horvat is eligible for unrestricted free-agent status on July 1. The 27-year-old center has become a fixture in the rumor mill since rejecting a contract offer from the Canucks weeks ago.
Dhaliwal said they want to see how things work between Horvat and new head coach Rick Tocchet. They can only sign Horvat or Andrei Kuzmenko but not both and so far no offer has been made to Kuzmenko.
“Can they send one final offer Horvat’s way?” asked Dhaliwal, who nodded and said the two sides did talk over the weekend. He firmly believes the Canucks won’t give the Horvat camp permission to talk with other teams as they don’t want to lose leverage in negotiations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal stressed there is no confirmation the Bruins have an interest in Horvat. The Canucks need blueline depth but Carlo’s injury history should be a concern.
Media consensus believes Horvat’s a goner. As always, however, it’s worth remembering that this season was supposed to be J.T. Miller’s last with the Canucks before he was signed to a long-term contract extension.
LATEST ON TARASENKO AND PASTRNAK
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford believes trade-deadline talk involving the St. Louis Blues should pick up once Vladimir Tarasenko returns from a hand injury later this month. The 31-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA on July 1.
Rutherford believes Tarasenko’s return will become a showcase of whether he can prove he’s healthy and can help playoff contenders. He has a full no-trade clause so it remains to be seen if he’ll waive it to go to a contender or ride out the season in St. Louis and hit the open market in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes would be interested in Tarasenko after losing Max Pacioretty to injury for the rest of the season. They have nearly identical average annual values with Pacioretty earning $7 million and Tarasenko $7.5 million.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claiming the Boston Bruins and winger David Pastrnak are getting closer to a contract extension. He believes the two sides are meeting almost every day.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins aren’t going to let Pastrnak hit the open market in July. He’s going to stay in Boston on an eight-year contract. It’s just a question of how much the average annual value breaks down.
Pastrnak is a former Richard Trophy winner who is jockeying with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the goal-scoring crown this season. He sits fifth in total goals (251) since 2016-17. I expect he’ll get around $12 million annually. That’s the going rate for goal scorers of his caliber.