By: Jeremy Perrigo
Star forward David Pastrnak resigned with Boston Thursday to a 6 year 40mil contract with an annual average value (AAV) of 6.67mil that runs through the 2022-2023 season.
After two relatively average seasons with the B’s, Pastrnak had a breakout year that saw him record 34 goals and 36 assists for 70 points in 75 regular season games during 2016-2017 season.
In the Presence of Stars
Early on in the season Pastrnak was in the running for most goals against Winnipeg Jets’ star rookie Patrik Laine and Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby. While Laine and Pastrnak went on to finish 7th and 11th in goals respectively, with 36 and 34, Crosby won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for most goals on the season with 44.
Even as Pastrnak’s point production slowed during the second half of the regular season, his 70 points were enough for him to finish 19th overall in the league. This put him above notable point-producers such as Jamie Benn (69 points), Alex Ovechkin (69 points) and in a tie with Penguins sniper Phil Kessel.
Pastrnak was second in scoring on the Bruins only to Brad Marchand, who finished the regular season with 39 goals and 46 assists for a total of 85 points. Patrice Bergeron, who revealed at the end of the year that he played through a sports hernia for most of the season, finished with 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points.
Does the Number Fit?
Both Bergeron and Marchand are in the midst of long-term deals that see them each make over 6 mil per year. Bergeron is locked up until the 2022-2023 season on an eight-year, 55 million dollar contract with an AAV of 6.875 mil per year. Marchand will not be a UFA until the 2025-2026 season after signing an eight-year 49 million dollar contract with the B’s at the beginning of the season (AAV of 6.125).
It is suspected that one of the reasons why it took so long for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to strike a deal with the 21 year-old winger was due in part to the assumption that Pastrnak and his agent J.P. Barry, who has other well-known clients such as Evgeni Malkin and Roberto Luongo, were waiting to see what power forward Leon Draisaitl would be paid in Edmonton.
Pastrnak and Draisaitl are both coming off their entry-level contracts. Draisaitl was taken third overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Edmonton and Pastrnak was taken 25th in the same year by Boston. In the time since being drafted Pastrnak has played 172 NHL games, scoring 59 goals and 64 assists for 123 points giving him a points per game average (P/GP) of .72. During that same period Draisaitl has 191 games played with 50 goals and 87 assists for 137 points, also averaging .72 P/GP.
Draisaitl signed a contract with the Oilers for 8 years worth $68 mil (AAV of 8.5). This contract likely set the ceiling for Pastrnak and what he could ask for. While they are both comparable players points-wise, it is widely considered that Draisaitl has a higher potential. Draisaitl is a more complete player in all three ends of the ice. At 6’2” north of 215 lbs, the Oilers’ forward has an inch on Pastrnak who weighs in at less than 200 lbs. Adding to the comparison is the fact that centers are valued more than wingers overall, making Draisaitl the all around better option.
So the fact that Pastrnak signed for much less than Draisaitl is not surprising. There was a lot of speculation that Pastrnak would potentially sign in the range of 7-7.5mil per year. The fact that Sweeney was able to sign a long-term deal with the B’s young star for under 7mil is a huge plus for the team. Not only is the contract cap-friendly, it also keeps Pastrnak making less than Patrice Bergeron, who is undisputedly Boston’s top all-around forward.
An Elite Comparison
Pastrnak’s contract resembles the contract signed by Calgary star forward Johnny Gaudreau at the start of last season. Gaudreau signed a 6 year 40.5mil contract with the Flames that has an AAV of 6.75mil. Gaudreau is a certified star who has averaged 68 points his first three seasons in the league. While Pastrnak is coming off a breakout season it is uncertain if he will maintain this new-found success and become a player more equally comparable to stars like Johnny Hockey.
What is important that Boston was able to get Pastrnak signed to a reasonable contract in time for him to report to at least part of training camp and be available for preseason games. It was in neither party’s interest to start the regular season with Pastrnak’s contract still up in the air. While Pastrnak may not be Leon Draisaitl or Johnny Gaudreau he is still an essential asset in the success of the Bruins organization going into the foreseeable future.