Bruins

Report: David Pastrnak has multiple offers from the KHL

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Report: David Pastrnak has multiple offers from the KHL

BOLTON, Mass – With the start of NHL training camp just a couple of days away and 21-year-old David Pastrnak still unsigned, both sides continue to brace for leverage and the upper hand in negotiations. The latest unconfirmed development is a report from a KHL Hockeybuzz reporter, Aivis Kalnins, that Pastrnak has “multiple offers” on the table from the KHL if he and the Bruins can’t come to a suitable agreement for the restricted free agent.

As of Monday evening, there was no confirmation or denial to CSN New England from Pastrnak’s agent, JP Barry, in an email seeking clarification on the report.

MORE - Hagg Bag: Emptying out the questions before training camp

The Bruins have a couple of confirmed offers of six and seven years at $6 million per season that are months old at this point. Pastrnak’s camp made a counter-offer over the last few weeks for a maximum eight years that’s believed to be in the neighborhood of $8 million per season. That leaves a wide gap between the organization and the player’s camp on the 21-year-old that broke out for 34 goals and 70 points last season.

It would certainly appear there’s a middle ground there with Pastrnak eventually getting something in the $7-7.5 million per season range that Vladimir Tarasenko earned a couple of years ago in a comparable situation to the B’s right winger. But there’s been little budging from either side and that leaves tactics out of the negotiating playbook, including threats to have the Czech-born Pastrnak skip the NHL season and play in Russia instead.

It’s the same threat restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou has attempted to use to pry a bigger contract out of the Detroit Red Wings this summer, and the same tactic Torey Krug’s camp used when he eventually held out in training camp a couple of seasons ago. It certainly feels like a ploy to get the Bruins to finally pony up the money that Pastrnak is rightfully asking for. 

The difference in Pastrnak's case being the massive void on the right wing that would be there for the Bruins if the game-breaking forward took his talents to Russia for the season. Boston has botched things with other elite young talents like Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel, and doing so once again with an elite young player would only cement that reputation. 

One potential sticking point to a massive contract for Pastrnak that was debunked on Monday was any potential issues with his Bruins teammates should he become one of the highest paid players on the team. In fact, Brad Marchand said it was exactly the opposite despite the Bruins agitator going a different route and taking a hometown discount last fall with an eight-year deal that pays him $6.125 million per season.

“We all want to see each other be successful,” said Marchand at the Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament at the International on Monday. “[Pastrnak] had a great year last year so we’ll be very happy for him with whatever he ends up getting. The contract that he signs, Pasta’s going to make a lot of money, he’s a phenomenal player, he’s 21 years old, and he’s going to have a long career. We all like to see each other be successful and do well, and that’s the way the game goes.

“The league’s trending upwards and the contracts are getting higher and higher. You look around and some of the deals that were thrown out this summer for young guys, it wasn’t like that three or four years ago and that’s the way it is now. So again, we’re all very happy for one another, and whatever he gets is going to help other guys get more too. So that’s just the way it is.”

Perhaps the Bruins value their internal salary structure so much that they don’t make a restricted free agent one of the team’s highest paid players while coming off an entry level contract, and that means pushing him toward an AAV (Average Annual Value) below Marchand, Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million) or David Krejci ($7.25 million) . But it’s clear by the words of both Marchand and Bergeron that they don’t begrudge the 21-year-old Pastrnak doing whatever he can to maximize his payday, but doing so while also making certain he’s signed, sealed and delivered back to Boston sooner rather than later. 

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season. 

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