He’s coming off a career year in which he was the second leading scorer behind Brad Marchand on the Black and Gold during the 2016-17 season. So, after tallying 70 points on 34 goals and 36 assists in 75 games, inking David Pastrnak to a new contract was one of Don Sweeney’s top off-season priorities.
Here we are on July 9. The two sides haven’t agreed to a new deal, but are continuing to negotiate. With the start of free agency and Bruins Development Camp in the rearview mirror, the fact that the two camps haven’t signed the necessary paperwork at this point could leave some Bruins fans in a panic mode.
Is it concerning that Pastrnak hasn’t signed a new deal? A little bit. But there’s no need to hit that panic button.
“Just had some talks this week with [Pastrnak’s] group and hopefully we’ll get to a resolution at some point and time in the near future,” Sweeney said prior to the fourth and final day of Bruins Development Camp at Warrior Ice Arena. “But again no timeline.”
All this is coming on the heels of former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli inking Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid to an 8-year contract extension with the Oilers worth over $100 million. McDavid’s contract will certainly raise the bar for future negotiations between players and GM’s.
Comparables like McDavid’s and Vladimir Tarasenko’s (eight years, $60 million signed in 2015-16) to bridge contracts similar to Nikita Kucherov (three years, $14.3 million), might lead to some tricky tactics. That is why Sweeney and the Bruins front office try to avoid the route of comparables.
“Possibly, but there’s internal caps, internal structures on everybody’s individual team,” Sweeney said following the first day of free agency.
“I’m not going to talk about any other players. I’m going to talk about my own players in terms of when we go into contract negotiations. There will be plenty of comps, we’re not just going to use one.”
Whether it’s dollars and cents or term, the two sides apparently still have some details to iron out. Barring a jump off the cliff in any ongoing discussions, the Bruins and Pastrnak are in a good position to get a deal signed sooner, rather than later, as Sweeney alluded to on Sunday.
With a little over $12.9 million in salary cap space, the Bruins have the flexibility needed to sign Pastrnak, who is expected to make somewhere in the $6 million range. That would leave over $6 million in cap space to use for other impending events, including Ryan Spooner’s arbitration hearing on July 26 and continued negotiations with Drew Stafford.
Then there’s the potential of any NHL team signing Pastrnak to an offer sheet. In that regard, Sweeney and the Bruins are in a good position to match any contract that teams might offer to the now 21-year-old Czech forward.
“Yes. We’re in a really good position that way,” Sweeney said back on July 1. “We’re having really good dialogue, we just haven’t found [common ground].”