By: Melanie DaSilva | Follow me on Twitter: @meldasilva9
After the Boston Bruins’ season came to a close following their first-round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the last thing on David Pastrnak’s mind was his contract.
“I actually haven’t given it a thought yet,” Pastrnak told reporters. “It’s a lot of other stuff to be worrying about the whole year. So I haven’t been thinking about that at all, actually.”
He scored a team-high 40 goals and also notched 37 assists in his eighth season. He did it while grieving the loss of his newborn son, Viggo Rohl Pastrnak, who died last June, six days after he was born.
Pastrnak went through the entire season without discussing the topic, asking for privacy for himself and his family.
“We have an Angel watching over us, and we call him SON. You will be loved FOREVER,” Pastrnak previously wrote on Instagram. “Please respect our privacy as we are going through these heartbreaking times.”
Pastrnak finally spoke about his son to the media once the season closed. He acknowledged that hockey didn’t take up the same space in his mind as before.
“It went down a lot, to be honest,” he said. “It’s been a tough year overall for me. So I want to turn the page, pretty much, as quick as I can. We’re in a very much better place than we were months ago. It was tough, so we got it over and feeling better now.”
During the season, Pastrnak also embraced the role of alternate captain.
“Huge honor,” he said. “There have been some great leaders wearing those before me… This organization obviously has a lot of history. It’s a pleasure for me, and I’m very humbled about being here. They helped me as a person a lot and as a hockey player.”
Pastrnak did miss ten games during the season, including eight, towards the end of the year due to a core injury. The injury impacted him through the postseason, but he said his overall health was “fine.”
“I played with it for three weeks, and it was like a muscle injury, so it just kept tweaking the whole three weeks every day pretty much until that Columbus game that I tore it, tore the cartilage or something,” Pastrnak said. “So yeah, it was no fun. But I’m feeling all right.”
He said he doesn’t expect the injury to require surgery.
“It’s just going to be there for a while,” he said. “What I understood, probably maybe the whole summer then should be fine for next year.”
Pastrnak’s current contract expires after the 2022-23 season. The Bruins need to figure out how to keep him, and the process could ramp up during the summer when the team is allowed to sign him to a contract extension.
“It’s just a general conversation exit-wise in terms of having the opportunity at the earliest possible time allowable for us to have a conversation with his camp. And he knows that there’s mutual respect from David, me, and his camp,” Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said during his end-of-season press conference.
“And we’ll dive right into it at the earliest possible time that we’re allowed to and get that indication. There’s never been an indication otherwise that this is where he wants to play. He wants to win. He’s obviously a great player and an important player for us. And we’ll attack it like we have done with all the other players that we feel the same way.”
For now, Pastrnak is headed overseas to play for Team Czechia in the ongoing IIHF World Championship. He will join Bruins alum and fellow Czech David Krejci, who opted not to sign with the Bruins last summer.