BRIGHTON, Mass – With roughly two weeks to go until NHL training camp, the Bruins commenced with captain’s practice on Thursday morning at Warrior Ice Arena without 21-year-old David Pastrnak. The game-breaking right winger remains the lone unsigned B’s player as the calendar turns to September on Friday, and regulars like Patrice Bergeron, Matt Beleskey and Brandon Carlo skated together while Pastrnak works out away from his teammates.
The Bruins have made a pair of long-term offers to Pastrnak over the course of the offseason with both amounting to a $6 million average annual value (AAV), an amount that isn’t close to what a couple of comparable players in Vladimir Tarasenko ($7.5 million per season) and Leon Draisaitl ($8.5 million per season) signed for under similar circumstances.
So the two sides currently sit a fair distance apart from each other in negotiations, and the clock is ticking toward the start of B’s camp. Despite all of that and semi-recent organizational failures with other young stars like Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel, Bergeron remains “optimistic” that the Pastrnak contract situation won’t become a major issue for the team.
“It’s one of those [things] where I’m still optimistic and positive. It’s a situation where it’s up to them to figure it out and I leave it up to Don [Sweeney],” said Bergeron, after finishing off a 45-minute skate. “At the same time I think David [Pastrnak] is a young player that wants to be here, and that wants to be a part of the solution with us and wants to win.
“I guess I’m not necessarily worried about the situation going too long. I certainly wish that it could be done soon, but that being said I can’t really take a position on that. I’m going to leave it up to David and his agent, and Don [Sweeney] to figure this one out.”
One issue brought up has been a hesitancy from the Bruins to blow up their internal salary structure, and end up paying 21-year-old Pastrnak more than Cup-winning veterans like Brad Marchand ($6.125 million), Bergeron ($6.875 million) and David Krejci ($7.25 million) on just his second contract. That may be something Sweeney and Bruins management want to keep intact, but then again none of those other players ever scored 34 goals and 70 points when they were 20 years old.
Bergeron said that isn’t something he’s concerned about in the B’s dressing room, and differing player salaries isn’t something the players would be dwelling on.
“It’s business at the end of the day. In those contract negotiations you’ve got to leave the emotion out of it, and it’s the same for [all of] us,” said Bergeron. “We’ve all been a part of negotiations and you know how it goes sometimes. It’s not always easy. I think the hard feelings of the numbers shouldn’t be an issue. It’s about hopefully getting it done soon and moving forward, so we can have [Pastrnak] with us and start building something good here.”
One would assume there will be some movement on both sides as things creep closer to the start of camp, but it also feels like it might be a little while before things get resolved with a sizeable gap between the Bruins and Pastrnak’s camp.