These are trying times in Boston.
Not only have the Bruins not won a Stanley Cup in 11 years, but they’ve also gradually slid backward from near-misses in 2013 and 2019 to an inglorious first-round exit this spring.
Coach Bruce Cassidy was behind the bench for the most recent Cup final three years ago and hadn’t missed the playoffs in six seasons, but was nevertheless let go this week amid reports his approach didn’t work well with younger players.
The dismissal immediately fueled speculation that one of the team’s cornerstone pieces, 26-year-old winger David Pastrnak, would be next in line to leave, as general manager Don Sweeney concedes the contention window is closed and goes all-in on a roster rebuild.
Pastrnak has a year remaining on a $40 million pact he signed in 2017. He could be an attractive trade piece given his age, expiring contract and point-per-game production across each of the past four seasons, including a career-best 48 goals in 2019-20.
The B/R hockey team looked at the volatile situation and considered some of the dreamiest possible destinations for Pastrnak, whose 504 points in eight seasons are second-best on the Bruins in that timeframe and 23rd-best across the entire NHL.
Scroll through to see what we came up with and leave a thought or two of your own in the comments section.
The Anaheim Ducks were the NHL’s 10th-best team from opening night through New Year’s Day, so it’s not hard to understand why optimism exists for 2022-23.
And because the Ducks were the league’s third-worst team from January 2 through the end of the season, it’s equally easy to see why changes still need to be made.
Newly hired GM Pat Verbeek has a flood of young talent in the organizational pipeline, 11 draft picks in Rounds 1 and 2 across the next three seasons and better than $39 million in salary-cap space available to fill out next season’s roster.
If he’s looking for an elite player like Pastrnak to round out what he’s already got in-house, he’s got plenty of assets to put together an enticing offer.
And given the amount of flux likely coming on rosters across the Pacific Division this summer, it’s not inconceivable to think adding Pastrnak translates to a playoff berth next year.