NHL Free Agents: Salary Cap Will Play A Factor In David Pastrnak’s Next Contract
All eyes were on David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins entering this season. That remains the case nine games into the season as Pastrnak leads the Bruins in scoring.
Pastrnak is in the final year of a six-year, $39.9 million contract that he signed as a restricted free agent back in 2017. His current contract carries a salary cap hit of $6.67 million a season and with his early season production it is expected, Pastrnak to get a significant raise on his next contract.
Back when he signed that contract, Pastrnak scored 30 goals for the first time. Since then he has topped the 30-goal mark in every season outside of the pandemic-shortened season of 2020-21. In two of those seasons, Pastrnak eclipsed the 40-goal mark as well.
In the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season, Pastrnak recorded 48 goals in 70 games. There was no doubt he was surpassing 50 goals that year. Pastrnak was tied for the NHL lead in goals scored and took home a share of the Rocket Award with Alex Ovechkin. Last year, Pastrnak also hit the 40-goal mark as well.
Through nine games this season Pastrnak is again on pace to pass the 30-goal mark again. Pastrnak leads the Bruins in every statistical category with 17 points, seven goals, and 10 assists. He also leads the Bruins with seven power-play points. In addition, Pastrnak is second in the NHL in points and goals trailing Connor McDavid. Pastrnak’s 10 assists are fourth in the NHL. Talking about making a statement in a contract year.
Speaking of his contract, as reported last week on NHLRumors.com via Pierre LeBrun of TSN, talks between the player and team are ongoing, but there is a sizeable gap when it comes to the dollar amount. As LeBrun noted this could be a situation that comes down to the final hours just before free agency opens as we saw play out in Nashville with Filip Forsberg.
Similar to Forsberg, who wanted to play his entire career in Nashville, Pastrnak wants to remain a Bruin for life. He understands what it means to play your entire career with one team. Just look at the leaders on that team during his time with the Bruins, Zdeno Chara (who left not by his choice to go play with the Capitals and Islanders) and Patrice Bergeron.
The biggest issue for the two sides to hammer out is the dollar amount. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Pastrnak is not signing an eight-year contract extension. However, the starting point is going to be Forsberg’s contract in Nashville. Forsberg signed an eight-year, $68 million contract extension that carries a salary cap hit of $8.5 million.
That average annual value is likely the starting point for Pastrnak and his camp when it comes to the negotiation. Another contract comparable is Johnny Gaudreau‘s seven-year deal in Columbus that carries a salary cap hit of $9.75 million a season. Pastrnak has put up better numbers than both. So expect something in that range as we know he wants to win just as much as he wants to get paid.
Not to mention how things will play out when it comes to Pastrnak signing that extension in turns of where the salary cap is. That was a huge factor into when Forsberg signed his new deal with Nashville. Forsberg signed two days before free agency opened which meant after that point, he could only sign a seven-year deal, not an eight-year deal.
Meanwhile, Nathan MacKinnon signed his new deal right before the season with the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado is hoping the salary cap goes up by the projected $3-$4 million as the league finally will be caught up on player escrow.
So it is a guessing game when it comes to the salary and what his project AAV will be in the next contract. However, the Bruins are not worried about getting a deal done with Pastrnak. The lines of communication remain open with Pastrnak’s agent J.P. Barry. And while the two sides have work to do to find common ground, the fact they are talking is a good sign.
Will there come a point where they eventually put these talks aside and focus on them again after the season? Sure, it happens with a lot of top players around the league, but that should not be a cause for concern.
It is clear David Pastrnak wants to focus his attention on the ice with the Bruins sitting with an 8-1 record leading the Atlantic Division. Nobody expected this from Boston to start the season. And being reunited with his Czechia teammate from the World Championship David Krejci has rejuvenated Pastrnak even more. Pastrnak will let his agent handle the contract, while he handles business on the ice.
David Pastrnak is one of the best goal scorers in the NHL right now and he will get a number suitable for that title. The 25th overall pick from the 2014 NHL Draft understands it is a business, but also understands what it means to wear the Spoked B for life.