It has been over a month and a half (April 24) since the Bruins last took the ice for their season-ending Game 6 overtime loss to the Senators. Free agency has been ongoing for nearly two weeks (July 1) so why is it taking so long for Boston and their star right wing David Pastrnak to agree to a contract extension that was believed to be a mere formality? The restricted free agent saw his three-year deal which was signed when he was a rookie in 2014 recently expire. As the 25th overall pick in 2014, he was a Bruin for the now bargain basement price of $2.775 million (all guaranteed) which included a signing bonus of $277,500 and an annual average salary of $925,000. Given his age (he recently turned 21) and the fact that he is coming off a career-best 34 goals and 36 assists 2016-17 campaign, it doesn’t take super agent Scott Boras to figure out that he’s in line for a huge pay increase.
Before we sound the panic alarms though, I would caution against jumping to conclusions-specifically that he’ll hold out come training camp in September or demand a trade, after all this isn’t the NBA. He has been pretty quiet on social media so far this summer (last posting a picture on Instragram on June 30 from his native Czech Republic and retweeting a GIF of Rafael Nadal bumping his head at Wimbledon on Monday). Rather than simply relying on social media to paint the complete picture like a clueless teenager, let’s look at what some important parties in this saga have stated on the record.
Back in May, Bruins president Cam Neely exclaimed, “we want David and David certainly reiterated a number of times that he wants to play here and stay here (in Boston). He loves it here, so I feel confident that we can get something done with him.” The team has already extended a qualifying offer to him for 2017-18 but it’s clear that they probably low-balled him since that happened weeks ago and there hasn’t been a response from Pastrnak or his camp at least publicly. At the end of Bruins Development Camp this past Sunday, B’s GM Don Sweeney had this to say about the Pastrnak negotiations: “I’ve spoken to his group and hopefully that will lead to a resolution at some point in time in the near future, but we have no timeline.”
My best advice for Bruins fans starting to get worried about this molasses slow process is to sit back, go outside and enjoy this beautiful weather which we know all too well as hearty New Englanders won’t last nearly long enough. Have faith that Boston will do the right thing by Pastrnak and learn from their mistakes in the recent past of trading talented goal-scorers like Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin. Pastrnak is a budding superstar and a potential cornerstone of the franchise for years to come, that’s why the team is taking their time to appease him. There is no need to create unnecessary drama for a guy who is going to be counted on for big things with the Bruins.