NHL rumors: Latest update on David Pastrnak extension talks with Bruins

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NHL rumors: Latest update on Pastrnak extension talks with Bruins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Which Boston Bruins fact would have been harder to believe before the 2022-23 NHL season -- David Pastrnak not having a contract extension by Christmas or the team starting out 28-4-3?

It's probably the latter, but the fact that Pastrnak remains unsigned beyond the current campaign is still surprising.

Pastrnak was asked in September if he was optimistic something would get done with the Bruins, and said, "Yeah, of course." The Bruins have made it known on several occasions throughout 2022 that they want to re-sign the 26-year-old right wing.

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So where are we in negotiations between the two sides?

"There’s been ongoing dialogue, but my sense is the gap in positions is real," The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun wrote Thursday. He also noted, "The good news is that talks haven’t broken off."

Pastrnak's agent, J.P. Barry, told LeBrun on Wednesday, "I’ve been in regular discussions with (general manager) Don (Sweeney) about our respective positions for a few months. We remain apart at this juncture. We will continue to negotiate.”

Pastrnak is having a tremendous season and leads the Bruins in goals with 24, assists with 24 and points with 48. He has tallied at least one point in 30 of the team's 35 games. Pastrnak ranks tied for sixth in points and tied for fourth in goals scored among all players.

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The Bruins must find a way to come to terms with Pastrnak before free agency begins in early July. Losing a player of Pastrnak's caliber for nothing would be a massive setback, especially for a franchise like the Bruins that has one of the league's worst prospect pools and lacks young stars at the NHL level.

There's still plenty of time for both sides to find common ground, but the longer they go without an extension, the more likely it is for this situation to become a distraction.