We are in the dead of the hockey offseason, which means media members are desperate for topics to write about.
With weeks left until training camp and over a month until the season, the question is being posed: Is it time to worry about David Pastrnak’s contract?
He has the most goals in Bruins history before the age of 21. He scored 34 goals and 70 points last season and played on statistically the best line in the NHL with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He one of their best players now and is going to be a franchise cornerstone for years to come. And is going to get paid. I get why people are worried, why is it taking this long? The Bruins history with trading young player is certainly scarring, but you shouldn’t be worried, yet.
It’s not rare for Restricted Free Agents to go this deep into the offseason unsigned. Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba all went into the fall unsigned last season. We saw it first hand in the fall of 2014 when Torey Krug and Reilly Smith went into training camp unsigned. Pastrnak isn’t even the only big name RFA unsigned, as Columbus’s Alexander Wennberg, Vancouver’s Bo Horvat, and Toronto’s Connor Brown all remain unsigned. So no, it’s not time to fret about his contract. And no, he’s not getting traded. David Pastrnak will be playing for the Bruins come next season, the question is what the contract will be.
The 2 comparable raised are Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl and Nashville’s Filip Forsberg. Forsberg signed a 6 year, $6M AAV last year,while Draisaitl signed an 8 year, $8.5M contract. Pastrnak’s .715 points per game over his career are less than Draisaitl’s .717 and Forsberg’s .723. The Oilers’ overpaid for Draisaitl at $8.5M, and his contract essentially wiped out any chance of Pastrnak getting a Forsberg-like deal, so which direction are the Bruins, and Pastrnak’s camp looking in?
Pastrnak is UFA eligible in 5 seasons, so buying one year of free agency in a 6 year deal would bring the price down from an 8 year deal buying 3 years of free agency. I know it’s far down the line, but giving Pastrnak 1.5-2 million per season more to assure he’s in Boston for 2 more years is well worth it.
Negotiations are a 2 way road, and one side will have to give at one point. One report said the Bruins were not willing to give Pastrnak more money than they’re 2 best players, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, which, if true, is ridiculous seeing that the two are on absolute sweetheart contracts. Obviously Don Sweeney and the Bruins are trying to get his cap hit down as low as possible for when contract extensions for guys like Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk, and other young guys stepping into the lineup in the next year or two, but they can’t go as far to hurt relationships with Pastrnak or hold so firm that he’s not in their lineup opening night.
That said, there’s still plenty of time before training camp, and even then I wouldn’t worry too much. It would be shocking to see a lineup without David Pastrnak when the Bruins open up against Nashville.
It’s going to get done, there’s no need worry. It’s just a matter of how it gets done.
Ah, it’s nice to be talking about hockey again.
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