Leave it to David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins to correct the market.
The impasse between the club and its dynamic young forward waded only briefly into holdout status this offseason, as the two sides agreed on a 6-year, $40-million contract on the morning NHL training camps officially opened Thursday.
It was a complicated process for a variety of reasons. First, the negotiation began less than a year after the Bruins signed a more established and, frankly, a more valuable winger in Brad Marchand to a contract that has already proven to be an enormous bargain. And setting team dynamics aside, Pastrnak has only proved that he can produce with the game’s elite for one season, having bagged 34 goals and 70 points in 75 games last year after totalling just 53 points during the first two seasons of his entry-level contract.
But what may have complicated matters most in this negotiation were the massive contracts doled out to comparables earlier in the summer months. Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Johansen – both centers – signed maximum-term contracts with the Oilers and Predators, respectively, in turn raising the bar for top-tier forwards exiting entry-level deals.
Having waited until the curtain raised on training camp, the Bruins kept the cost down considerably when compared to these two deals, signing Pastrnak to a contract that resembles the six-year, $36-million deal Filip Forsberg struck with the Predators last summer before another episode of market inflation.
For that reason, patience clearly paid off for the Bruins, who have established another bar for future negotiations around the league – and one other teams will most certainly appreciate (see Maple Leafs).
By no means is this a massive disappointment for Pastrnak and his representative team. They were able to leverage one high-production season into a six-year deal that will see him earn $6.67 million per season – more than both Patrice Bergeron and Marchand. (And yes, David Krejci still has all three, somehow.) Pastrnak will also preserve a couple seasons of unrestricted free agent negotiating power.
All in all, this a fair deal for player and team. Well, most of the team.
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