Sweeney’s Contract Magic With Marchand And Pastrnak

Did Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney sign two of the best NHL contract extensions of the last decade?

Boston Bruins willing to trade first-round draft pick

Sweeney has taken some heat for being so hamstrung by the salary cap last offseason and throughout this season. Some of that criticism is surely warranted, but that’s the price an NHL team has to pay in order to be a perennial Stanley Cup contender in the salary cap era. Throw in the essentially flattened cap that NHL GMs have had to work with since COVID halted the world and the 2019-20 season, and Sweeney’s managerial body of work may be one of the best in the NHL. His teams have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs four straight times since COVID hit, and when they hit the ice for the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs later this month, that will be eight straight playoff appearances in nine seasons overall for the Boston Bruins under Sweeney’s watch.

One of the keys to Sweeney’s and the Bruins’ consistent success and playoff appearances has been the contract extensions that he signed Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak to in 2016 and 2017, respectively. On Sept. 26, 2016, Sweeney locked Marchand in on an eight-year, $49 million ($6.1M AAV) contract extension, and then just under a year later, on Sept. 14, 2017, Sweeney signed Pastrnak to a six-year, $40 million ($6.6M AAV) contract.

As this tweet below points out, those two contract extensions have proved to be two of the best any NHL general manager has signed his players to over the last decade.

Since signing his contract extension that expires after next season, Brad Marchand has become an elite NHL winger, four-time all-star and the 27th captain in Bruins franchise history. The now 35-year-old winger hit the 30-goal plateau for three straight seasons (39,34 and 36) after signing the extension and then did so again when he lit the lamp 32 times in the 2021-22 season. If he can snap out of his current ten-game goalless streak and score his  28th goal of the season and 400th in his career when he and the Bruins play the Hurricanes in Carolina on Thursday night, he will have five games to score 30 goals for the sixth time in his career. Since signing his current contract, Marchand has scored 246 goals and 391 assists in 569 games.

As for David Pastrnak, since signing that contract extension in September of 2017, the Czech winger has gone on to become one of the most elite goal scorers and dynamic playmakers in the NHL and in Boston Bruins history. Over the course of that six-year contract, Pastrnak hit the 30-goal plateau in all but one season, and that was the COVID-shortened season of 2020-21 in which he lit the lamp 20 times in the 48-game truncated season. He scored 35 goals in the first season of the contract in 2017-18, 38 in 2018-19, and 48 in 2019-20. If the latter season had not been paused due to COVID, Pastrnak likely would’ve had his first 50-goal season of his career. He finally reached that plateau with authority last season when he lit the lamp 61 times in 82 games and has followed that up with 46 goals in 76 games this season.

During the course of that six-year contract that expired after last season, Pastrnak scored 242 goals and had 252 assists in 420 games, and that is why, as he has proven again this season with 46 goals and 58 assists in 76 games, that he is worth every cent of the second extension Sweeney signed him to when he locked him up on an eight-year, $90 million, ($11.2M AAV) contract extension last season.

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