(Photo Credit: Brian Babineau-NHLI)

By: Theo Lander | Follow me on Twitter @lander_theo

David Pastrnak’s looming contract situation appears to be the sole gray cloud over the Bruin’s meteoric start to the season. 

The Czech sniper is in the midst of a career year, thus far having nine goals and 16 assists for a total of 25 points in just 16 games. He is currently tied for third in league scoring and leads the Bruins in goals, assists, and points. At 26 years old, Pastrnak has managed to remain a point-per-game player for nine years, tallying 529 points in 526 games.

Pastrnak only finished outside the top 16 in goals scored once since 2016 and came just shy of the 50-goal mark before the pandemic cut the NHL regular season short in 2020. Pastrnak is the most dynamic goal-scorer the Bruins have had in a long time, and he is essential to their success moving forward, as he has been for the last nine years. Check out these NHL betting odds from a reputable website that’s been in business for over 20 years.

Don Sweeney previously indicated that the organization would be “aggressive” in efforts to re-sign Pastrnak during the offseason, but talks have been ongoing since then. It appears from an outside perspective that Pastrnak wants to remain in Boston, given his recent remarks in the media:

“Yeah, of course,” Pastrnak said. “This city is where I got the chance to become the player I am — become the human being I am. … I came here as a kid and now I’m a man. I’m extremely happy, lots of great memories. I’ve said many times, I love it here, and it’s an honor to wear this jersey.”

David Pastrnak, Sept. 16 2022

Despite the seemingly agreeable discourse between the two parties, we’re now a fifth of the way into the season with no contract extension in sight. Given the information available to the public, it would be reasonable to assume the sticking point in negotiations is monetary-based. This would be an understandable obstacle because Pastrnak is worth a lot of money. 

Just how much is an elite goal-scorer worth in today’s NHL? According to CapFriendly.com, the NHL salary cap is projected to increase to $83.5 million next year, which would be a 1.21% bump from the current limit of $82.5 million. Pastrnak’s current contract is perhaps the best in terms of value in the NHL, with a cap hit of just $6.6 million in 2022-2023. In the six years since he signed this contract, he has tallied 190 goals and 216 assists for 406 points in 354 games. These numbers are undoubtedly indicators that Pastrnak is due for a massive pay raise, and one that would make him a top earner in the NHL. 

Two players with similar numbers/impact on their clubs are Maple Leafs forwards John Tavares and Mitch Marner. Tavares signed a contract worth $77 million for seven years back in 2018, which gives him an $11 million annual cap hit. MarnMarner’s-year $65 million contract that he signed in 2019 holds an annual cap hit of $10.9 million.

PastPastrnak’sy would indicate that his contract should be worth around this figure, but it should be noted that the upper cap limit has increased by 10% since TavaTavares’ning in 2018. With that in mind, Pastrnak could theoretically field offers from other franchises that are as high as $12 million annually. This methodology is not an accurate indicator of actual value, but it should give us a rough estimate of the ballpark within which the two parties are negotiating. 

With that in mind, what is the most likely outcome? While David Pastrnak could maximize his value by signing a contract with a different franchise, he would seemingly only do so for an eight to ten percent raise compared to what he could re-sign with Boston for. Pastrnak loves playing and living in this city, so I would wager that he wouldn’t be willing to leave for that amount of money.

If he were to sign for $11 million, then some roster changes may have to be made in order to stay under the salary cap long-term. But David Pastrnak is a commodity that would be nearly impossible to replace in the next five years, and thus he is worth the extra hassle to retain.