NHL Rumours: Boston Bruins May Hold Off Breaking the Bank for Star Forward

Welcome back to NHL Rumours. Now that the regular season has begun, the NHL’s 32 teams will be looking to tie down their superstars who could hit free agency in the summer. at the top of the Boston Bruins agenda is the future of David Pastrňák. One of the best players in the league, the Bruins are desperate to keep him in Boston. However, the winger will come at a cost.

NHL Rumours: Discussion Over David Pastrňák’s Future Ongoing

Per Pierre LeBrun, the Bruins and Pastrňák do have an open dialogue regarding a new deal.

LeBrun states that should Pastrňák hit free agency, he would be viewed as worth the same as Artemi Panarin. However, a deal matching the Russian winger would break Boston’s wage structure and could cause some hesitation on their side.

What Does This Mean?

When comparing Pastrňák and Panarin, the similarities are there. The former has managed 508 points in 512 games, with Panarin scoring 575 in 511 games. Therefore, it is easy to see how Pastrňák could land a deal in the same area.

The seven-year deal which Panarin signed with the New York Rangers carries an $11,642,857 AAV and a full no-movement clause. This makes him one of the best-paid players in the NHL.

Nobody would argue that Pastrňák, the highest earner on the Bruins, deserves a major pay rise from his current $6,666,667 AAV. However, in order to remain competitive, the club has maintained a long-time understanding that players take relatively team-friendly deals. Boston’s wage structure has worked well for them, with the team making the playoffs each year since 2016. However, the Bruins’ Stanley Cup window is creeping shut and Pastrňák will be all too aware.

Future Options

Aged 26, Pastrňák came close to a Stanley Cup victory in 2019 but his side lost to the St Louis Blues. Whilst he clearly enjoys Boston, the slow downward trajectory of the Bruins’ competitiveness and lack of prospects could be cause for concern that 2019 was his only chance to get a ring.

This could prompt Pastrňák to make the decision to pursue Panarin money as compensation for staying with a declining team. If this is the case and the Bruins feel he is demanding too much, a trade at the deadline to a contender to be on the cards. As a former Rocket Richard winner, Pastrňák has great value even as a rental. His contract does carry a no-trade clause, but only for 10 teams, meaning a trade could be facilitated if the Czech wants it.

If Pastrňák opts to simply hit free agency, plenty would be looking to acquire his services and a massive payday would be heading his way.

He is still young enough to play on a bubble team with an upward trajectory and more cap, which is what the aforementioned Panarin did when he signed in New York. Alternatively, if an immediate contender is willing to move heaven and earth to land him, it is hard to imagine that being constantly in the conversation as a Stanley Cup champion would not be appealing.