Haggerty: Should the Bruins keep Pastrnak below Marchand's deal?

Haggerty: Should the Bruins keep Pastrnak below Marchand's deal?

With NHL training camp a little more than a month away, the Bruins and David Pastrnak remain decidedly apart on a contract extension for the game-breaking 21-year-old right winger. 

As with many things in life there are probably numerous reasons why a deal hasn’t been reached at this point in time between Boston and their prolific, exciting young winger. Some have speculated there’s a divide on the length of term between the two camps with Pastrnak’s camp looking for a shorter bridge deal, but there’s no hard evidence that is actually the case at all. 

There is some thought perhaps the hold-up is about the presence of lockout-proof bonuses in Pastrnak’s long term contract, and the Bruins hesitancy to go down that road given their long standing as one of the hawkish organizations among the NHL Board of Governors. 

The bottom line is that there is no Pastrnak contract because the money isn’t right quite yet and anything else could, and would, be solved in short orders once the actual financial numbers were hammered down. Part of the hang-up is Pastrnak sitting in the same RFA situation as unsigned Leon Draisaitl with the Edmonton Oilers. Both prolific young forwards are comparable players while looking for second contracts this summer, and both could end up settling for similar contracts when it’s all said and done over the next month or so. 

That could mean as much as $7 million or more per season on a long term in the same neighborhood as the $7.5 million per season that Vladimir Tarasenko signed for with the Blues a couple of years ago, and that all raises an interesting situation for the Black and Gold. 

Both Pastrnak and 29-year-old Brad Marchand will be named a current list of “The Top 20 Wings Right Now” during that program’s airing on the NHL Network on Sunday night, and those forwards very clearly led the B’s offense last season. They’re also expected to do very much the same this season in Boston.  Marchand signed a contract for eight years, $49 million last fall that pays him $6.125 million per season, and by all accounts it’s going to be a bargain for the Bruins after he nearly hit the 40-goal mark last season. 

All of this begs the question whether the Bruins should draw a line in the contractual sand that says Pastrnak can’t make more than Marchand on his coming contract extension. Sources had indicated to CSN that both the Bruins and Pastrnak’s camp had previously made big progress on a contract that was going to fall slightly short of the Marchand contract in both term and average annual value. Those talks have moved “into a holding pattern” according to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, and perhaps some of that is Boston’s internal salary structure as well. 

All things being equal the Bruins would prefer to keep Pastrnak’s number below Marchand given his seniority, the service time and No. 63’s place on the team as a leader and key producer, and they are wise to hold out for that kind of contract with their electric, young right winger. If Pastrnak jumps ahead of nearly every other player on the Bruins roster after one admittedly brilliant year with 34 goals and 70 points, that could be problematic when it comes to keeping a cohesive, strong dressing room full of players happy with their own contract situations.    

A six-year contract worth about $6 million per season for Pastrnak would seem to benefit all parties involved. . 

Unfortunately none of these best laid plans may matter if Draisaitl signs a deal with Edmonton in the $7-8 million per season range, and thereby gives Pastrnak’s camp the ammunition they need seeking a bigger number from Boston. The Bruins are in a position where they need to sign Pastrnak whatever the going rate is to keep their resident game-breaker for the next 10 years, and they need to do it without a lengthy, damaging holdout in NHL training camp. 

There is still hope they can somehow get Pastrnak signed to a second contract that fits Boston’s internal salary structure, puts him slightly Marchand in term and average annual salary, and leaves a little something extra for Boston within their current $10 million of salary cap space. 

There’s always a Dumb and Dumber-style chance of anything having to do with the Bruins when your Club President is Seabass, right? 

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.