BRIGHTON, Mass – The good news is that the Bruins and David Pastrnak’s camp continue discussions on a new contract for the 21-year-old restricted free agent, and there are no real signs of trouble. The bad news is that there’s no timetable in place for the Bruins to get the game-breaking right winger signed, sealed and delivered, and Pastrnak remains unsigned and dangling precipitously at a period of time when he could theoretically be susceptible to a hostile takeover via offer sheet from any of the other 30 NHL teams.
The truth is it’s more common to see Halley’s Comet than an offer sheet extended for an RFA in the world of the NHL, so the Bruins aren’t in a whole lot of real danger of that happening. Furthermore, the B’s have north of $13 million in salary cap space open to match any offer sheets that did theoretically materialize as they enter the very slow season for the league’s transaction report.
Still, it sounds like the Bruins have gone from encouraging progress to not much happening since Connor McDavid, Carey Price and Evgeny Kuznetsov, among others, signed inflated deals that may lifted the waters for free agent boats around the league for elite players looking for new contracts. None of them are straight-up comparable players to Pastrnak after his breakout campaign saw him net 34 goals and 70 points, but the bottom line is those kinds of players are seeing spikes to their market value.
“Just had some talks this week with [Pastrnak’s] group and hopefully that will lead to a resolution at some point in time, in the near future, but we have no timeline,” said Sweeney, while speaking on the final day of Bruins development camp at Warrior Ice Arena.
Sources with knowledge of the negotiations said progress was being made on a deal that would pay Pastrnak something just shy, both in term and AAV (average annual value), of the eight year, $49 million contract signed by Brad Marchand last fall. Something more in the neighborhood of six years, $36 million was thought to be what Pastrnak was looking at prior to the McDavid, Price and Kuznetsov signing their big money deals. Now there’s legitimate question as to whether Pastrnak gets some kind of bump from those numbers given that the really elite RFAs are getting paid like unrestricted free agents these days.
Whatever the final numbers, it’s in the B’s best interest to get it done prior to training camp and ensure that Pastrnak and David Krejci are both present to work with whichever young forward, one of Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk or Danton Heinen most likely, ends up getting a look on their left wing during the early portions of the season.