“To be honest with you, we haven’t really gotten a response on what they’re looking for,” President Cam Neely said (via the Boston Herald) about the David Pastrnak contract negotiations during last week’s Bruins Fan Fest pit stop in Providence.
Well, that’s another head scratcher in the ongoing Pastrnak contract extension saga.
Here we are in September – nearly a week away until the start of training camp. Neely, GM Don Sweeney and the Bruins front office are still hoping to get a long-term extension done. Their reported original offer was a six-year deal worth $6 million per season. That later was extended to a seven-year offer worth the same price.
Well, that might have been a good offer before Pastrnak’s career year in 2016-17. Following his 70-point season (34 goals, 36 assists), that offer appears laughable to some around The Hub, especially after Leon Draisaitl signed his eight-year contract extension with an annual cap hit of $8.5 million.
“We’re looking at those comps, not so much our own team. What did those players do prior to getting contracts and how does it stack up against David?” Neely added in the Herald interview. “I know everyone’s talking about the Draisaitl contract, and rightfully so they were waiting to see what was going to happen there. But that’s one player.”
The Draisaitl-Pastrnak comparison has been well documented. The talented forwards rank 1-2 among the top scorers in the 2014 NHL Draft, with Draisaitl having a slight edge (137 points to 123) over Pastrnak through their first three seasons.
There have been other Pastrnak comps thrown around as well like Fillip Forsberg and Vladimir Tarasenko. Both signed lengthy lucrative deals in their second NHL contract. Unlike Pastrnak, both Forsberg (127 points in his first two years) and Tarasenko (116 points in his first two seasons) had better track records prior to signing their six and eight-year extensions, respectively, over the last two summers
Another Pastrnak comparison is Nikita Kucherov, who signed a bridge deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season and coming off his first 40-goal season a year ago. Unless negotiations go into the regular season, neither the Bruins nor Pastrnak’s camp – led by agent J.P. Barry – will likely seek a short-term contract.
Renewed discussions between the Bruins and Pastrnak’s camp were reported to take place this past weekend according to the Herald. With the comps on the table, Barry is expected to seek an eight-year deal for his client.
From the Bruins perspective, however, they aren’t too concerned about the Pastrnak comparisons. Both sides have expressed a desire to get a new deal done. Time is running short, however, with training camp a little over a week away and the Bruins’ season opener commencing exactly one month from Tuesday.
“I know when they talked early on, they had some parameters to work around, some comps that I think both sides felt were fair at that particular time, so an offer was made but there really wasn’t much dialogue after that,” Neely stated to the Herald. “So I think it’s kind of pointless for us to negotiate against ourselves.”
Considering their past history with breakout stars like Dougie Hamilton and Phil Kessel following their entry level deals, Neely, Sweeney and company may want to rethink that aforementioned sentiment.
The crisp, autumn air is settling into New England. The Patriots are a couple of days away from hoisting their fifth Super Bowl banner in Foxboro. The Red Sox are hoping to secure another playoff appearance. The Celtics were the talk of the NBA this summer following the marquee additions of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.
Though they are fresh off their first postseason appearance in two seasons, the Bruins are the low man on the totem pole among the four professional sports teams in Boston. While the B’s haven’t felt the need to make a big splash in the off-season – especially given their restocked pipeline – signing Pastrnak before training camp is a must both from an on-ice product and for the fact that they could use some positive press following a quiet summer.