How the Boston Bruins could be lowballing David Pastrnak

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 12: David Pastrnak
OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 12: David Pastrnak /

The Boston Bruins, David Pastrnak ongoing contract negotiations saga could result in the two sides parting ways.

At $6 million annually, David Pastrnak would become the Boston Bruins fourth highest paid forward at the age of 21. But contracts given to other, comparable players, illustrate the offer falls well shy of fair market value. Given the team’s history of contentious contract negotiations with its young stars, is Pastrnak the next out the door?

Sure, $6 million is a lot of money. Most of us would jump at an offer of millions of dollars to play a sport we love. If  Pastrnak signs the  Bruins reported contract offer for either 6 years and $36 million or 7 years and $42 million, he will be set for life. And another significant payday likely awaits when he reaches his late 20s at the conclusion of this deal.

Doesn’t add up

But unlike most businesses, the salaries of sports stars are not confidential. Pastrnak and his representatives know that two of his, arguably less talented, teammates, David Krejci and David Backes, make as much or more than he’s been offered.

OTTAWA, ON – APRIL 12: David Pastrnak
OTTAWA, ON – APRIL 12: David Pastrnak /

Further, the Edmonton Oilers just inked fellow 21 year old forward Leon Draisaitl to a contract worth an average of $8.5 million per season. Draisaitl’s recent production, with 29 goals and 77 points, is similar to Pastrnak’s 34 goals and 70 points last season. Draisaitl plays center while Pastrnak is a wing, but that alone doesn’t merit a $2.5 million gap in their salaries.

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If Draisaitl’s contract were an outlier, the Bruins’ offer would be more understandable. But other twenty-something forwards Ryan O’Reilly ($11 million), Vladimir Tarasenko ($8 million) and Johnny Gaudreau ($6.75 million) are scheduled to exceed the average annual value of Pastrnak’s offer. All are, arguably, inferior players, or will be if Pastrnak continues his expected ascent.

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Fair or not, the Bruins seem to be trying to keep Pastrnak’s salary below the $6.125 million of the team’s consensus best player, Brad Marchand. Why Pastrnak is expected to accept a below market deal just because his teammate took one is beyond me.

The Bruins’ way?

This would seem a benign negotiating tactic if the Bruins did not have a history of contract squabbles with other young stars. The names Seguin, Hamilton, Kessel and Thornton adorn the sweaters of other franchises in part because the Bruins did not want to pay them what they, and clearly others, believed they were worth. Criticism for lack of maturity or leadership followed them out the door. Is Pastrnak next?

Sadly, this is the Jeremy Jacobs owned Boston Bruins reputation for doing business. Indeed, it would be disappointing for Pastrnak to follow in Seguin’s footsteps and blossom into a star for another team.

Next: 2017-2018 Boston Bruins season preview

Disappointing. But not surprising.