David Pastrnak had 70 points for the Bruins in 2016-17.

Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Is Jonathan Drouin contract a blueprint to new David Pastrnak deal?

Ty Anderson
June 16, 2017 - 3:30 pm

Traded by the Lightning on Thursday in what was the offseason's first blockbuster, Bolts-turned-Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin didn’t even have time to pick out some new gloves before he signed a six-year, $33 million contract with the Habs.

On the heels of a career-best year in goals (21), assists (32), points (53), and power-play production (nine power-play goals and 26 power-play points) in Tampa, Drouin’s $5.5 million cap-hit seems like a fair reward for that massive leap in production and transformation into a legitimate top-six talent.

It was without question the best season of Drouin’s polarizing career, yes, but his campaign paled in comparison to (once fellow) pending restricted free agent and Bruins top-liner David Pastrnak’s year. It was in Boston that the 21-year-old Pastrnak also put up career-bests across the board, with 34 goals, 36 assists, 70 points, and 24 power-play points (10 goals and 14 assists) in 75 games for the Bruins.

In essence, you should probably expect the Bruins to fork over a bit more than $5.5 million per season.

But that should not come as a shock to you.

Although Pastrnak clearly wants to remain a Bruin (unlike past restricted free agents such as Dougie Hamilton and Phil Kessel), the belief is that the starting point for any long-term deal with Pastrnak has probably always seemed to hover around the $5.75 million and up price range. His current trajectory is worthy of that paycheck; Only Oilers superstar Connor McDavid (plus-52) and Nashville forward Viktor Arvidsson (plus-45) had a higher point increase from last year to this past season than the plus-44 that Pastrnak put up for the Bruins. His importance to the Bruins -- be it on the first line to assemble the NHL’s best line (a statement of fact) with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, or as the right-side sniper David Krejci desperately needs -- would back that contract up, too.

So, if it’s not Drouin’s deal that directly compares to Pastrnak’s future contract, which one does?

Calgary’s Sean Monahan just completed the first year of a seven-year, $44.6 million contract, with 27 goals and 58 points for the Flames. Monahan counts against the Flames’ books for $6.375 million, and has been worth the price, with steady improvements into a budding superstar talent. The Preds’ Filip Forsberg is another easy comparison for Pastrnak, too, as the first year of his six-year, $36 million extension with Nashville was rewarded with Forsberg playing a major role in their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance, with 31 regular-season goals and then nine goals and 16 points in 22 playoff games. Both Monahan and Forsberg were inked to these contracts right out of their entry-level deals, too.

These contracts, based on the value and current state of the NHL salary cap and where the game is shifting (speed, skill, and more skill), seem more than fair.

But the extreme here would be Vladimir Tarasenko.

The Blues locked Tarasenko up for eight years at $7.5 million per season after the first 30-goal and 70-point season of Tarasenko’s career (Tarasenko finished the year with 37 goals, a 16-goal increase from the year before, and 73 points, a 30-point increase from the season before). Pastrnak, as alluded to above, had a 19-goal and 44-point uptick from last season to this past season, although it is worth noting that he did play in 24 more games. But Tarasenko has made good on that payday, with 79 goals (the fourth-most in the NHL) and 149 points (10th-most in the NHL) since the start of that deal.

Still, that’s one hefty salary.

But given the relationship between Pastrnak and the Bruins (and not to suggest that Tarasenko’s relationship with the Blues is anything short of splendid), it would only make sense for Pastrnak and the Bruins to find the middle ground of getting No. 88 paid, but not at the cost of their future success. Read as: Locking him up closer to Forsberg/Monahan money allows the Bruins to remain legitimate contenders for a greater window than say a $7 million contract would.

And I believe the former is more of a relative than the latter, too.

There’s also something to be said for how Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has handled negotiations. Marchand had every reason and chance to bend the Bruins over a barrel after he recorded a career-high 37 goals and 61 points for the Bruins. His status was on the rise, too, especially during an incredible run for Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. But, with a strong relationship between the player and the city, Marchand was inked to what seems like a definite bargain, with an eight-year, $49 million contract that kept No. 63 in town at just $6.125 million per season.

In fact, if the Bruins could somehow find a way to get Pastrnak to agree on a matching contract to that of Marchand’s, the Bruins would be in an absolute golden situation moving forward.

But really, at this point, any deal between the Bruins and Pastrnak seems like a win for both sides.  

Comments ()