By: Andrew Thompson Twitter: @godwentwhoops
The Boston Bruins had hoped to lock up forward David Pastrnak by now. The 21-year old winger had a truly breakout season in the NHL last year, putting up a 70 point (34 goal) performance for the Black and Gold. Pastrnak’s 70 points were good enough for second among Bruins scorers (second only to Brad Marchand‘s 85 point performance), so the B’s front office knew that Pastrnak would get a decent pay day for his work.
At the start of the postseason, many in the media (myself included) had Pastrnak being signed for a high-five/low-six million dollar deal. We were also pretty certain that the contract would be in the five-plus year range. While the length of the contract seems to be accurate, there have been a few signings that may change the dollar value to Pasta’s contract.
Connor McDavid signed an eight-year, $100 million dollar contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers (In his defense McDavid, won the Hart Trophy this year). Carey Price (who in my opinion is a phenomenal goaltender playing for the wrong team) is now the highest paid netminder in the NHL after he signed his eight-year, $84 million dollar extension with the Montreal Canadiens. Evgeny Kuznetsov (whose point totals (59) are close to Pastrnak) inked his own eight year deal, making on average $7.8 million a season with the Washington Capitals.
These signings (and a few others) muddied the waters of what was going to be a cut-and-dry signing for Boston. NHL teams chose to overpay players these season, and now the Bruins now find themselves in a weaker position, especially after the Kuznetsov signing.
In short, a few teams went overboard in signing their stars. Now the Boston Bruins will likely have to follow suit and pony up.
The B’s will have to adjust their paradigm (and perhaps their comfort level) with this contact. The original high-five/low-six million dollar estimate will have to be thrown out for a high-six/middle-seven million dollar figure. Is it what the Bruins want to pay out? Likely not. But it would fit the model of the contracts being signed in this offseason. (To be fair, while it would be a bit of an overpay, it wouldn’t be as extreme as the others we’ve seen so far.)
A seven-million dollar contract wouldn’t break the Bruins bank. The Bruins currently have just under $13 million in cap space available. Even a $7.5 million dollar contact wouldn’t devastate the Bruins organization.
The only downside to this signing is it how it would affect the rest of the B’s offseason. The Bruins still have to deal with Ryan Spooner and his request for arbitration. The B’s could be forced to let Spooner go for nothing if they don’t like the dollar amount put forth by the agreement. It could also limit the B’s ability to snap-up a free agent just before the start of the season.
On a side note, a big enough contract would force Sweeney to go “all-in” on the youth movement. (Which is something many fans seem to be fine with.) The B’s have four players on the projected roster with entry-level contracts right now. That number could go up depending on how well certain people do at training camp in September.
A deal WILL happen. The Bruins front office and Pastrnak’s agent will come to a meeting of the minds in the near future. Pastrnak’s too valuable to let go, and Sweeney is too smart to let that kind of career-defining mistake occur.
Besides, the odds of Pastrnak being snapped up by another team with an offer sheet are about as good as Jeremy Jacobs scoring a goal for the Bruins next season.