Bruins

Bruins likely to reach agreement on long-term deal with Pastrnak

Bruins likely to reach agreement on long-term deal with Pastrnak

The good news is, the David Pastrnak contract negotiations are headed in the right direction.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney said as much more than a week ago at the NHL scouting combine, where he updated reporters on contract talks with the impending restricted free agent. Pastrnak is looking at a major raise in pay in his second deal.

RELATED

“[Pastrnak’s agent] J.P. [Barry] and I have sat down, we’ve had some good discussions,” Sweeney said to reporters in Buffalo at the combine. “It’s moving in the right direction. Timeline, I don’t have. But we expect to complete a deal and for him to be a longtime member of the Boston Bruins. That’s our intention.”

Pastrnak, 21, exploded for 34 goals and 70 points in 75 games in his third NHL season, along with a plus-11 rating, while essentially playing as a top-6 trigger man for either Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci. Pastrnak joined an elite group of players -- Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, Anze Kopitar, Evgeni Malkin, Sean Monahan, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Jeff Skinner and Sidney Crosby -- with 30 goals and 60 points in a season prior to turning 21 since the salary cap was instituted in 2005.

The feeling is that Pastrnak is just scratching the surface of his potential, and could be an NHL superstar on par with some of those names in another couple of seasons.  

He struggled a bit, understandably, late in the season as opponents keyed on both him and Brad Marchand as Boston’s biggest offensive cogs. But he continued to show that he is every bit as important to the B’s future as fellow gifted youngster Charlie McAvoy.

Watching them hook up for a power-play goal in the the playoffs, one couldn’t help but picture them doing that again and again over the next decade. For that to happen, of course, Sweeney and Barry need to hammer out a deal that’s likely to be long-term and for big money, which has become the norm for elite young players coming out of their entry-level deals.

On the one end of the spectrum is the super team-friendly three-year, $14.3 million deal that Nikita Kucherov signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to the 2016-17 season, after which he went out and had a Hart Trophy-worthy year. This would be the absolute best-case scenario and Kucherov is absolutely a comparable to Pastrnak after he posted 30 goals and 66 points in his final entry-level season.

More likely than the Kucherov deal for Boston’s right-wing phenom would be something similar to Artemi Panarin (two years, $12 million) if a bridge deal was the approach. But the belief at this address is both the Bruins and Pastrnak’s camp are looking at one of the bigger second contracts, something in the five-to-six year range and perhaps beyond, as the B’s clearly want to build around a player who bought into the team’s program last summer, got bigger and stronger and has dedicated himself to being a complete, game-breaking player at the NHL level.

That would be something similar to the longer-term contracts signed by comparable players at the same point in their NHL careers. Johnny Gaudreau signed a six-year contract for $40.5 million ($6.75 million per season) with the Flames late this past preseason. Sean Monahan agreed to a seven-year, $44.6 million contract ($6.38 million per season) recently. Mark Scheifele (eight years, $49 million), Filip Forsberg (six years, $36 million), and Vladimir Tarasenko (eight years, $60 million) would round out the comparable players in negotiations.

The raft of recent RFA contracts puts Pastrnak’s value squarely in the $6-7 million per season range in a deal that would buy out some of the right winger’s free-agent years but also give him a big chunk of dollars up front while he’s still restricted and fully under team control.

The big question at this point is whether or not Pastrnak is headed for a possible training-camp holdout, as Kucherov and Gaudreau were last season. The circumstance was a bit unique last fall because both of those players were still getting their work in at the World Cup of Hockey rather than sitting at home, and that might have ultimately added to the slow-moving negotiation process.

For those worried this could turn contentious, as it did with guys like Phil Kessel and Dougie Hamilton and led to their departures, the bottom line is this: There are no issues or reservations in Pastrnak's mind when it comes to the team, the coach or the city.

Pastrnak wants to be in Boston with the Bruins. The B’s value the player and his bright future. And a deal is going to get done. 

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

screen_shot_2018-04-19_at_12.39.30_am.png
USA TODAY Sports Photo

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

TORONTO – The Bruins top line totaled up 20 points in the first two games, and the B’s took both of those against the Maple Leafs. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had zero points in Game 3 on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre, and the Bruins ended up dropping that game to the Leafs. 

So clearly the Bruins’ playoff fate could be strongly tied to the ebbs and flow of their top forward trio, but the hope with the B’s is that the formula won’t be that simple throughout the postseason. A big part of the reason the Bruins gave up a boatload to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash was to acquire another forward capable of shouldering a scoring load, and turn Boston’s second line into a much more dangerous group. 

All three members of the B’s second line, David Krejci, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk, all have goals during the best-of-seven series, but they also came up empty in Game 3 with Krejci and DeBrusk only managing two shots on net between them. They know that they’re capable of more given the offensive talent on the ice, and given that so much defensive attention is being paid to neutralizing Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak rather than them. 

“We had lots of good looks. I missed a couple. We had lots of good looks that just didn’t go in,” said Krejci. “So we need to work extra harder [in Game 4] to bury those chances and have them end up in the back of the net. We need to stick to the game plan and respect the game plan.”

MORE BRUINS:

Nash had five shots on net and some pretty good chances, but the best scoring chance was a DeBrusk dangle and pass to Krejci wide open at the net. It looked like the puck hit a rut on the ice and Krejci was never able to settle it down for a shot despite the nice-looking pass, so that line is left biding their team for another chance to carry the offense. 

“I think that’s the main reason why we’re the second line. We all have attributes that can help this team. It hasn’t really come to the table yet, but I still thought that we generated chances [in Game 3], and I think our whole team did. It just wasn’t bouncing our way,” said DeBrusk. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time you take the positives from it. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to get harder from here on in. Hopefully our top line does their thing, but if not then we’ll be ready to hopefully help out in that category.”

The Bruins top line is ready, willing and able to shoulder the lion’s share of the scoring burden for the Black and Gold, and most nights they’re going to be able to live up to that kind of responsibility. But if the Bruins want to beat the good defensive teams and become a much more difficult team to play against in the postseason, they’re going to need to start getting production from a second line that should be built to play the power, puck possession game in the postseason.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

bruins_bergeron_021116.jpg
File Photo

Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

TORONTO – At some point, they’re going to have to start thinking about re-naming the award after Patrice Bergeron himself.

The Bruins center was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy on Wednesday night for the seventh consecutive season, and is going for his NHL-record fifth trophy for being the best defensive forward in the NHL. Bergeron was named a finalist along with Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. Bergeron finished his 12th NHL season with 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points with 26 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in 64 games.

MORE BRUINS:

He ranked fifth in the league in faceoff win percentage (57.3, min. 1,000 face-offs), 12th in face-offs won (784), third in even strength faceoff win percentage (58.0, min. 500 face-offs won) and first in shorthanded faceoff win percentage (58.3, min. 50 face-offs won). The 32-year-old forward also ranked second overall in the team puck possession metric SAT (shot attempts differential), with a 57.56%, which should make the fancy stat nerds very happy.

Some might argue there other more worthy candidates given that Bergeron missed 18 games due to injury this season, but he was also the center of a line that didn’t give up an even strength goal until January while putting up his customarily excellent stats. That being said, a guy like Aleksander Barkov also deserved plenty of consideration outside the top-3 finalists that all come in with equally strong chances of taking home the award.

Bergeron has won the Selke in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. If he wins the year's Selke Trophy, he will break the record held by four-time winner and Montreal Canadiens Hall of Famer Bob Gainey. The Selke Award is given annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season, and will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE