Report: Bruins, Pastrnak are 'financially very close' in contract talks originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Boston Bruins star David Pastrnak still isn't signed beyond the 2022-23 NHL season, but it does sound like the two sides have made progress toward reaching a contract extension.
"I've been told the Bruins and their star winger are 'financially very close,'" ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported Tuesday.
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She also wrote "It sounds like Pastrnak will get paid on level with the top stars in the league, and for more money than Boston's front office was originally budgeting. I have heard that Pastrnak also wanted to be comfortable with the Bruins' long-term vision so they can stay competitive in the next era after Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand are done."
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It's not surprising to hear Pastrnak could make as much as the top stars in the league. He absolutely deserves it based on several factors, most notably on-ice performance.
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He's on pace to score 61 goals and tally 115 points this season, which would make him the Bruins' first 60-goal scorer since Phil Esposito in 1974-75. The Bruins haven't had a 50-goal scorer since Cam Neely in 1993-94. If Pastrnak reached 113-plus points, it will be the most for a B's player since Adam Oates' 142 in 1992-93.
If Pastrnak is paid like the top stars in the league, how much could he make per season? Well, the top salary cap hit in the league is Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid's $12.5 million, per CapFriendly. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will surpass McDavid with a $12.6 million cap hit when his extension begins in 2023-24.
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There are six players with a salary cap hit of $11 million or higher this season. New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin is the only winger in that group, and his $11,642,857 cap hit is second behind McDavid.
Paying Pastrnak between $10.5-$12 million per season sounds like a lot, and it would be, but that's what 26-year-old superstars who are box office on and off the ice are likely going to cost moving forward. The Bruins don't have anyone else like Pastrnak at any level of their organization. He is a generational scorer and someone who could be the face of the franchise for another decade.
The Bruins must get this done and ensure Pastrnak remains in Boston long term, even if the cost to do that is more than they originally anticipated.