With the regular season less than two months away, the Boston Bruins have not yet signed 21-year-old star David Pastrnak. Pastrnak’s rookie contract expired last season, making him a restricted free agent.
With $10 million in cap space, the Bruins have the room to sign Pastrnak, it’s just a matter of how much the team thinks he is worth. General Manager Don Sweeney knows that not making the right offer to Pastrnak could come with major consequences.
As long as Pastrnak is without a deal, he is not able to join the team at training camp, which could lead to him not being able to play when the regular season begins. With an Atlantic Division that will be more competitive than ever, the Bruins cannot afford to fall behind early in the race.
The Bruins have a history of parting ways with major talent, and Pastrnak could be following the same path out the door.
Drafted first overall by the Bruins in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Thornton was seen as an elite playmaker who could be a game changer. Thornton played seven seasons with the Bruins before being traded to the San Jose Sharks for forwards Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau, along with defenseman Brad Stuart.
Thornton is still a major talent in the NHL, putting up 1,391 points in his career, including 1,007 assists.
Although Phil Kessel is seen as a “problem” by some throughout the NHL, he is still a gifted goal scorer who has shown his ability to win over the past two seasons.
Kessel was taken fifth overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins.
Kessel was traded by Boston to the Toronto Maple Leafs for three draft picks, including two first round picks. Kessel only lasted three seasons with Boston, scoring 66 goals in 222 games.
One of those draft picks in the Kessel trade turned into superstar Tyler Seguin. Seguin was taken second overall in the 2010 Entry Draft behind Taylor Hall. Like Kessel, Seguin only lasted three years in Boston before they shipped him to Dallas in exchange for Loui Eriksson and three prospects.
Ever since joining the Stars, Seguin has scored 306 points in 305 games, proving that he is an elite NHL centerman.
The Bruins did not see Seguin for what he was, they only looked at the negatives in his game.
Is Pastrnak next?
Thornton, Kessel, Seguin, and Pastrnak have one common trait. They are all gifted offensive talents who are worth the money. The Bruins are not the type of team that gives out the big contracts, which is why they have struggled in recent years.
Teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks give out the hefty contracts, which is why the two teams have a combined six Stanley Cups between them since 2009.
Signing Pastrnak to a long-term, big money deal is the path the Bruins have to take. Or else, they will have another Tyler Seguin situation on their hands.