Though the back-and-forth may have seemed too contentious at times, the negotiations with the right winger are finished and the two sides nailed the value
It always gets done in the end, right? The negotiations may have dragged on until the dawn of training camp, but the Boston Bruins have locked up right winger David Pastrnak to a six-year deal worth $40 million. That’s an annual average cap hit of $6.6 million and a very good contract for both sides.
Pastrnak blew up in 2016-17, notching his first 30-goal season in the NHL and finishing second in Bruins scoring to linemate Brad Marchand. With Patrice Bergeron centering the pair, Boston had one of the most impressive top lines in the league – and Pastrnak is still on the rise.
The key for Pastrnak is that he can play the two-way game that Bergeron and Marchand are known for, so despite his youth, he’s not a liability in his own end. His 57.2 Corsi For percentage was outstanding, even if it was a bit lower than the rates put up by Bergeron and Marchand, who both broke 60 percent (the trio didn’t play all season together).
And the offensive chops are exciting. Pastrnak’s speed and shot make him tailor-made for today’s game, so don’t expect his numbers to fall anytime soon. He was nearly a point-per-game player last year and has already become Boston’s most dangerous goal-scorer on the power play.
With six years locked down, the Bruins have one of their most important transitional players in place. What do I mean by “transitional?” Look at Boston as a team in flux right now. Veterans such as Zdeno Chara, David Backes and David Krejci are on the decline (even elite players age, don’t forget). Youngsters such as Charlie McAvoy, Anders Bjork and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson are on their way up. The Bergeron line and Torey Krug are kind of in the middle, since they’re all still producing quite capably, but Pastrnak is by far the youngest of that bunch at 21. The fact he is so good already is a great sign for a team that may need him to do some heavy lifting in the coming years.
It’s often a difficult thing to imagine when looking to the future, but there will come a time where Bergeron and Marchand are no longer top players in the league. Maybe it doesn’t happen for another five years, but it’s tough to say. Pastrnak is shaping up to be an excellent player for the next decade and that’s a huge luxury for the Bruins as they attempt to keep up in the Atlantic Division.
Because the Bruins do have a very nice prospect pool right now and it won’t be long before a lot of those kids are regulars. Eventually, Pastrnak will have the opportunity to take on a leadership role on this team and from what I’ve seen from him in the past (particularly at the world juniors with the Czechs), he has that resource within him.
Even if Pastrnak doesn’t become a leader on the team, he will still be a huge offensive driver for the Bruins and this contract puts him in a nice peer group. Johnny Gaudreau, Nathan MacKinnon and Mark Scheifele will all be pulling in similar coin and it’s fair to put Pastrnak within their lofty company.
While it may have taken awhile, this contract is a big win for both Pastrnak and Boston.