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With just eight days to go before the start of training camp at Warrior Ice Arena, eight seems to be the number for the Bruins and restricted free agent David Pastrnak.
Stuck at a contractual crossroads, with Pastrnak the last piece to a B’s offseason puzzle that’s left Don Sweeney’s club with over $10 million in available cap space and a glaring hole on the club’s right side, the sides have shifted their focus towards an eight-year contract, the maximum length allowed by the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“We are now discussing an eight-year max term to see if we can find some common ground,” Pastrnak’s agent, J.P. Barry, told The Boston Globe on Tuesday night.
In a summer headlined by a lot of talk and no action, it’s been widely reported (and confirmed to WEEI.com by league sources) that the Bruins began their discussions with a six-year, $36 million contract offer to Pastrnak, which was denied, and then bumped it up to a seven-year, $42 million contract offer, which was again denied.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has remained patient throughout the process, acknowledging the various ‘holding patterns’ of the negotiation, while team president Cam Neely offered considerably more candid comments last week, nudging Pastrnak’s camp over what Neely perceived to be reluctance to start the dialogue on a new deal.
“They know our position on the current marketplace for elite young forwards,” Barry wrote in his email to the Globe. “We will continue our negotiations again [Wednesday].”
It’s believed that Barry would like to see his client earn a contract similar to the eight-year, $68 million contract ($8.5 million average annual value) restricted free agent Leon Draisaitl signed with the Oilers last month, while the Bruins have clearly made it apparent that they would prefer to get Pastrnak in at around $6 million per season.
But if the B’s are to sign Pastrnak to an eight-year deal and eat up considerable, prime unrestricted free agency years off Pastrnak’s future, there’s no doubt that they’ll have to pony up much more than the $6 million per season offers that have failed thus far.
The 21-year-old Pastrnak scored 34 goals and 70 points in 75 games last season.
Ty Anderson is the Boston Bruins beat writer for WEEI.com, and has been covering the National Hockey League for HockeyBuzz.com since 2010. He can be heard on the Saturday Skate program on 93.7 WEEI (Boston), and has been part of the Boston Chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Contact him on Twitter or send him an email at Ty.AndersonHB[at]gmail.com.