In 48 hours, the Bruins will report to Warrior Ice Arena for off-ice testing. Twenty-four hours after that, they’ll take the ice for the first time at Training Camp. In six days, they’ll head to Quebec City for their first preseason game against the Canadiens.
Given the “status quo” of the negotiations with David Pastrnak, the chances of the 21-year-old missing the first week of preseason activities – and potentially beyond – are becoming more realistic by the minute.
“Status quo there,” general manager Don Sweeney said on Thursday regarding the ongoing discussions between the Bruins and Pastrnak’s agent J.P. Barry. “J.P. and I continue to talk and will continue to talk and find a deal at some point in time. But there’s no timetable on it and nothing really to expand on other than the nature of the talks have been ongoing.”
Following the conclusion of the Prospect Showcase in Buffalo, Sweeney echoed the same sentiment to reporters on Monday.
The first deadline to get a Pastrnak deal is nearing. Judging from the reported offer from the Bruins (6-7 years at $6 million per year) and Pastrnak’s camp’s counter-proposal (8-year, $8 million per) it appears neither side is budging. At some point, both sides will have to find common ground. Otherwise, the talks could continue into training camp and even into the regular season.
As Sweeney alluded to in the summer, the Bruins would match any offer sheet given to Pastrnak. While NHL squads are likely not to pursue Pastrnak, a few teams overseas are apparently keeping their eye on the ongoing talks. According to KHL Insider Aivis Kalnis, multiple teams have reportedly offered Pastrnak a deal to come and play in the European league for the 2017-18 season.
Rumblings have indicated that Pastrnak could play in the KHL this season. Has multiple offers.
— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) September 11, 2017
Whether or not the threat of Pastrnak going overseas is realistic or not is anyone’s guess. At the very least, it’s a negotiation tactic that’s been commonly used by agents ever since the KHL formed nearly a decade ago.
Coming off a career year where he tallied 70 points on 34 goals and 36 assists, Pastrnak has certainly earned himself a healthy raise. Both the Bruins and Pastrnak want a long-term deal. But the comparables from Pastrnak’s camp – most notably Leon Draisaitl – and the B’s hesitation to overpay players following their entry-level deals leaves us in this current situation.
“I was on record a while ago and I think I read even a general manager yesterday talking about nobody really hides from the fact that I don’t think it’s productive on either side,” Sweeney said. “So in a perfect world, yes, on all fronts.”
Certainly, it’s far from perfect, especially for an organization that’s botched similar situations before as seen with the trades of Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton. Granted, Kessel forced the Bruins and former GM Peter Chiarelli’s hand following his breakout season in 2008-09 and never wanted to return to the organization. The same can be said about the Hamilton trade, which happened under Sweeney just weeks into his first year, but not for the Seguin trade, of which the self-inflicting effects are still haunting the club.
The last thing the Bruins need is for history to repeat itself. Losing Pastrnak would leave a huge void on the top-six that would be difficult to fill from within given their youth on one end – with guys like Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk – and the lack of veteran depth at right wing. A bitter end to this saga could also give Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo something to ponder over when their entry level deals expire after the 2018-19 season.
Time is ticking on the Bruins and Pastrnak coming to an agreement before training camp. Before long, it may be the Bruins who are once again on the wrong side of history.