BRIGHTON, Mass – The David Pastrnak contract ends up being a solid win for both sides of the negotiating equation.
The Bruins were able to coax the 21-year-old right wing into a deal that was probably slightly under market value ($6.67 million average annual value rather than the $7 million he could have demanded) for six years, and Pastrnak will miss only the first couple of days of training camp as he flies into Boston on Friday. Pastrnak gets a massive raise coming off his entry-level deal, the security of a six-year contract and can become an unrestricted free agent at 27, when he’ll get a monster contract if he continues to be a game-breaking force.
- Pastrnak, Bruins agree to six-year, $40 million deal
- With deal done, Bruins open camp prepared for "higher expectations"
It’s clear, however, that this is another big accomplishment for Don Sweeney in his time as Bruins general manager as he’s now locked up his two best offensive players to long-term contracts under $7 million per season.
“I’d always said we were going to find a deal. We were right up against [training camp], but there was no deadline. We didn’t look at it that way. We had strong, open communication and the work finally paid off for both sides to finally find a good landing spot,” said Sweeney. “I know it’s a deal that both sides are happy with and now we have a full complement [of players] at camp, which I think everybody would acknowledge is in everybody’s best interests.
“You just keep working at it. JP [Barry, Pastrnak's agent] and his camp and our camp, we just kept at it and found the right landing spot for both sides. There are a lot of variables that go into it, and in the long run, the result is a positive one for all parties. David is a big part of what we’re trying to build here and David is a very motivated player. He made a hell of a jump last year and he’s earned the opportunity to be in the top five of guys coming off the entry level [contracts].”
Sweeney also managed to preserve Boston’s internal salary structure where Pastrnak isn’t going to make more money per season than established Cup-winning veterans like Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million) or David Krejci ($7.25 million). Perhaps most important in the short term is Pastrnak’s entry into training camp just a couple of days late, where he can begin rekindling the chemistry with Krejci, and the removal of any drama or potential bad vibes from a camp that’s crucial for Sweeney, team president Cam Neely and new coach Bruce Cassidy.
Instead, the Bruins players can rib Pastrnak about his 45-minute holdout on the first day of camp, then welcome with open arms. The Czech forward dominated to the tune of 34 goals and 70 points at 20. Now, it’s going to be all about hockey in camp rather than players, coaches and executives worrying about protracted negotiations with No. 88.
“We’ll get that kid from across the sea, and make him do all the testing hopefully with all of us watching. So, we can give him a little hazing for the...I don’t what was it...25- or 30-minute holdout. It will be great to have everyone here and be going at full power heading into the season,” said Backes. “That little side story [is over]. He’s a hell of a player and he makes us a lot more potent. He makes our lineup a lot deeper and we can spread out a lot more scoring while he’s going to garner a lot more attention after the year he had last year.”
Pastrnak is expected to fly into Boston on Friday, hit the ice this weekend and get plenty of time with Krejci as the two Czech forwards are expected to be paired together again this season.