- Tim Burke
Bruins Sign Pavel Zacha to Four Year Extension
After Saturday’s exciting 4-3 victory over the rival Toronto Maple Leafs at the TD Garden, the Bruins announced a four-year extension for forward Pavel Zacha with a cap hit of 4.75 million. After several seasons with the Devils, where Zacha had some struggles, he has fit in perfectly with Boston’s second line. Earlier in the season, I wrote about how Zacha’s versatility, work ethic, and skill fit in with the Bruins second line. Since then, I have continued to be impressed with Zacha’s game. Zacha’s combination of size, speed, and skill is special. He is in the middle of a breakout season in Boston, where he is first on the team in five-on-five assists. Zacha is on pace to reach his career high in points with 50. Playing with highly skilled players such as Pastrnak and Krejci certainly helps, but Zacha’s presence on that line is a significant part of their success. He wins puck battles, makes smart passes, and is a responsible two-way player who gives 110% every shift. He deserves to play on the same line as his fellow Czechs. All three members of the “Czech line” were set to be Unrestricted Free Agents. Extending Zacha provides more incentive for Pastrnak to stay in Boston, playing with his fellow countryman.
Following Zacha’s extension, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman stated that word around the league is that the Bruins have made progress on a contract extension with David Pastrnak. Most teams around the league are up against the salary cap. Boston is no exception. Zacha’s 4.75 million cap hit seems a little expensive right now, but with the cap expected to rise significantly in the coming years, this contract will be well worth it for the Bruins. The 25-year-old winger can also play center and may eventually replace David Krejci as Boston’s number two center. Krejci is expected to retire sooner rather than later, and now the Bruins have a solid replacement option in Zacha that will help them contend in the future.With Zacha’s contract extension, the Bruins have another complete 200-foot player and a player who fits in with their style of play for years to come. It is an excellent contract for the Bruins.
If the Bruins can extend David Pastrnak, the only glaring concern on this roster is the first-line center. The popular narrative is that Patrice Bergeron will retire at the end of this season. It is certainly a possibility. There are a lot of questions surrounding the future of the Boston Bruins. I think fans should enjoy the incredible year the Bruins are having and let Don Sweeney worry about the future and the salary cap. He is a clever GM, and I believe he will find a way for the Bruins to continue winning for a long time.