Photo credit: (Greg M. Cooper / USA Today Sports)
By Court Lalonde @courtlalonde
Don Sweeney has a lot of things to be optimistic about after the season that just past. The Boston Bruins made the playoffs, which I’m sure was his goal and wasn’t on board with the crazy goal the Jacobs family had, which was a deep playoff run. I still think that if the team didn’t get decimated with injuries they might have just had one because of the way the matchups went. Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy showed fans that the future of the Bruins defense will be in good hands. Brad Marchand was able to make his new salary worth it by almost having an MVP season minus a couple of minor blemishes. David Pastrnak had a breakout season and was on many highlight reels throughout the year.
— Bar South N Celly™ (@BarSouthNCelly) December 6, 2016
The last offseason Sweeney was looking to add to the roster and was looking for defensive depth and scoring to replace the departure of Loui Eriksson. The good news is, not signing Loui last summer turned out to be a huge bullet dodged by Sweeney because he had one of the worst seasons of his career. The good news is that some of that defensive depth he was looking for ended up being in the system and didn’t cost him cap space. He ended up signing David Backes to replace Eriksson, and some fans aren’t happy about the term but can’t deny that the play type of Backes was a welcome addition. As the salary cap goes up year after year, the Backes deal won’t look as bad anymore.
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This offseason Sweeney is going to be looking to maybe add a capable backup at a low cost and a scoring winger to play on the second line. His biggest priority though is going to be the resigning of David Pastrnak. Pastrnak has made it know that he wants to come back. “I’m not a person who would want to go from (team to team),” said Pastrnak. “I love it here. It’s where I got the chance to play in the NHL. I would wish to end here.” Let us hope he takes a hometown discount, but it’s not likely. It does mean that he is willing to negotiate and sees a future playing with the Bruins, unlike Phil Kessel and Dougie Hamilton in the past.
When looking over comparable contracts around the National Hockey League, a couple of them stood out to me. Nikita Kucherov did take a hometown discount in Tampa and is making 4.7 million over three years and had 85 points last year and 66 points the year before his new deal. Artemi Panarin is making six million over the next two years and got that contract after a 77 point season. Both these players have a knack for scoring goals and are considered skilled players like Pastrnak.
This past season we saw him score 34 goals and record 36 assists for 70 points splitting his time between Boston’s top two lines. He played well at the beginning of the season on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand but found himself at the end of the year playing with David Krejci. Having him on the second line with Krejci, allowed Bruce Cassidy to have two lines that provided scoring and made it harder for teams to focus their plan of attack. These stats alone will be a big reason why he should be expecting a big raise.
“Just trying to do our jobs.”
David Pastrnak postgame on Bergeron’s GWG + chemistry with linemates: pic.twitter.com/lEWzIHeZKf
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 21, 2016
We all know he can score goals and generate offense, but it’s his defensive game that needs to improve. He did show flashes of it during the regular season but did seem lost at times during the playoffs in his end and wasn’t strong enough on his skates. He spent the offseason bulking up and working on his game, and it did show, but he still has areas to work on to make him the elite player he can be. These areas might allow Sweeney to shave some dollars off his new contract.
What will the beginning number be on Pasta’s next contract?
— Court Lalonde (@courtlalonde) May 8, 2017
I feel that Pastrnak will sign a new long-term contract with the Bruins and that the number is going to be in the range of 5.5 to 6 million dollar range per year. I think Sweeney is going to try and lock him up long term because he is the future of the Bruins offense. The term will more than likely be in the range of four to five years when looking at comparables because the bridge deals don’t seem to be working out well. P.K. Subban is a prime example of too many short term deals that ended up costing the team more financially in the end.
Whatever this summer brings, one thing is for certain, sign David Pastrnak first and then move on to other needs.
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