The Boston Bruins are set to kick off their training camp for the 2017-18 NHL regular season on Thursday morning with fitness testing at Warrior Ice Arena, but they’ll be missing one key player from the roster. B’s 21-year-old right winger David Pastrnak remains behind in his native Czech Republic as his agent and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney continue to try to work toward a contract extension for the game-breaking forward.
Pastrnak won’t be returning to North American until he has a contract agreed upon, and therefore won’t be in attendance for the start of camp on Thursday. Instead Pastrnak will seek out a team to work out with in Europe if the holdout becomes a long term situation, and will be forced to explore other options for the season aside from Boston.
For now, though, there is still plenty of time for Pastrnak to get signed to a big contract and quickly make the cross-continental flight to be on the ice for the weekend with little harm done to his preparation for the upcoming season. Pastrnak’s agent said he continues to go over ideas with Sweeney in very open lines of communication, and the two sides are talking about multiple deals with varying lengths of term.
“I’m still talking to Don on a few terms, but no breakthroughs yet,” said Pastrnak’s agent, J.P. Barry, in a text message to CSN New England. “We will keep at it.”
It certainly sounds like it’s entirely up to the Bruins to provide the “breakthrough” in negotiations that’s finally going to close the deal with their young player.
The increase in discussion between the two sides comes in direct proportion to the ticking clock when Pastrnak’s absence from camp begins to negatively impact his season. It’s believed that the Bruins and Pastrnak’s camp are a little closer than previously when the two sides were $2 million apart in average annual value (AAV) of the contract. It’s likely that the Bruins aren’t currently willing to go much past the $6.75 per season million handed out to Johnny Gaudreau a year ago, and Pastrnak’s camp could be convinced to take the $7.5 million per season that Vladimir Tarasenko signed for in St. Louis a couple of years ago.
Both are undoubtedly comparable contracts to Pastrnak, and that would leave around $7 million per season on a long term deal as the amount it would probably take to finally close the deal with the 21-year-old sniper. Pastrnak’s teammates and the Bruins coaching staff are undoubtedly hoping that things get done sooner rather than later, and that he’s able to step into camp and take his place on the right side alongside David Krejci early on in the preseason process.
“You coach the guys that are there. You’re putting lines together all summer, and now at this particular moment you’re thinking about who is going to be on David [Krejci’s] right side if Pasta isn’t here. That’s about as far as it’s gone in that regard,” said B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy. “I think with most guys if they miss some time, they’re playing a little bit of catch-up. How much catch-up? That’s speculation. How far behind? That’s speculation.
“But generally there is a bit of a catch-up period [with holdouts]. But let’s face it for his sake and for our sake, let’s hope there it’s very little if any at all [time missed].”
At the very least Pastrnak is going to miss the first official day of training camp for the Bruins, and will begin missing crucial on-ice practice days beginning Friday if the two sides haven’t been able to work out a suitable contract.