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David Pastrnak is a star and the Bruins should be willing to pay him like one

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As training camps draw closer all eyes in the NHL are starting to turn to the situation in Boston where restricted free agent David Pastrnak remains unsigned.

According to general manager Don Sweeney, there is no timetable on when a deal is going to be reached and there seems to be a bit of a gap between the two sides when it comes to the type of contract Pastrnak is going to get.

The Bruins have reportedly offered a seven-year deal worth around $6 million per year, while Pastrnak would reportedly prefer a deal closer to the eight-year pact Leon Draisaitl received from the Edmonton Oilers. Given their ages and overall production to this point, as well as the market for RFA’s of that skill level, it is not a completely unreasonable ask.

There are a couple of problems for the Bruins here, and a big one is simply the optics of the situation.

The Bruins have a 21-year-old player that appears to be on the verge of stardom in the NHL. He not only can be a young, cornerstone offensive player, he already is one. They also have more than enough salary cap room to fit him in.

What keeps the Bruins from getting the benefit of the doubt in this situation (at least from this perspective) is the track record they have in dealing with young, cornerstone offensive players. They tend to toss them aside, having traded Joe Thornton, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Tyler Seguin and standout defenseman Dougie Hamilton all within the past 12 years (and with three different general managers completing those trades). It creates the perception that the organization as a whole doesn’t properly value high end talent and would rather trade it away — often times for pennies on the dollar — than pay market value to keep it.

The argument against paying Pastrnak a deal similar to the one Draisaitl received, for example, is that the team is paying for potential. He might not pan out. It might not be a great value.

Pastrnak at this point in his career has one monster season and a couple of half seasons where he flashed star potential.

But his production puts him in some pretty rare and special company when it comes to impact players.

Over the past 20 years there have only been 10 players that have appeared in at least 170 games and scored at least 59 goals by the end of their age 20 season: Sidney Crosby, Ilya Kovalchuk, Steven Stamkos, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Skinner, Evander Kane, Jordan Staal, Vincent Lecavalier, Nathan MacKinnon and … David Pastrnak. The only player on that list that really didn’t continue on the same path that they showed early on has been Kane, and a lot of that has been due to injury and health.

What stands out about Pastrnak on that list is how little ice time it has taken him to reach that level compared to some of the others. Via Hockey-Reference.

On a per-minute basis his production is off the charts for someone his age.

Players that produce at this level at this age tend to be good enough to sustain it.

It’s not paying for potential. It’s paying for what a player will do for you instead of what a player has done for you.

The Bruins have been fortunate to get some tremendous bargains with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron over the years, and giving Pastrnak $7-8 million per season right now might look like a little bit of an overpay. But not every contract has to be below market value. Plus, if Pastrnak continues on his current path — and there is every reason to believe that he will given what he has done so far, his ability to generate shots and his possession numbers — that contract, too, could look like a bargain in the near future.

Bergeron says he’ll be ready for Bruins camp following off-season surgery

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With training camp quickly approaching, Patrice Bergeron has provided an optimistic outlook on his status, after the Selke Trophy winner underwent sports hernia surgery in the spring.

The Boston Bruins’ center had the operation in May after his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the opening round.

“Still doing some rehab. I’ll be ready for camp,” said Bergeron, per NHL.com.

“I feel good. There’s still some restriction there that we have to work on, but overall, I feel pretty good. I feel good on the ice, I feel good in the gym. We still have to definitely do some treatments, but definitely I feel good and I know I’ll be ready for camp.”

So, overall, he’s feeling good.

That is … good news for the Bruins, who rely heavily on the 32-year-old Bergeron as an anchor at both ends of the ice and in numerous key situations, including faceoffs, where he cleaned up with a 60.1 winning percentage on draws.

True, Bergeron’s offensive numbers dipped last season, but he still contributed 21 goals and 53 points to help the Bruins qualify for the post-season.

The key takeaway though from the NHL.com report: With the surgery behind him, Bergeron is now pain-free for the first time since last fall, and that could perhaps help him to a quicker, more productive start out of the gate this season.

Related: Hey! Another funny commercial featuring Patrice Bergeron

McAvoy ready to make an impact for Bruins

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Prized Boston Bruins prospect Charlie McAvoy made his NHL debut for the Boston Bruins last postseason out of necessity. The team was dealing with a rash of injuries on the blue line, and McAvoy, the team’s first-round pick in 2016, just happened to be the next man up. At just 19 years of age and with only minimal pro hockey experience on his resume McAvoy found himself playing playing more than 26 minutes per night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs alongside a future Hall of Famer in Zdeno Chara.

Even though the Bruins’ season came to an end in that first-round matchup against the Ottawa Senators, McAvoy showed them a promising glimpse of their future on defense.

Now he is ready for a full-time role with the team this upcoming season.

He spoke to the Bruins’ website this week about that first NHL experience and what he can learn from that when it comes to making the Bruins’ opening night roster this season.

From Eric Russo of the Bruins website.

“I think that the experience I had last year was an unbelievable opportunity,” said McAvoy, who joined 13 of his teammates for a captain’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday morning.

“That experience was so valuable for myself to get familiar with the organization and the team itself, and I can use that now heading in for the full year, the rookie camp, opening the season, all of those things.

“I’m excited to have a full year and I can definitely use all of those experiences that I had to make sure I’m ready to go.”

McAvoy’s developmemt has to be exciting for the Bruins because their defense, the team’s greatest strength just a few years ago, has taken some significant steps backwards in recent seasons due to trades (Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton) and age (Chara getting older, Dennis Seidenberg moving on).

But there is hope on the horizon with some of the young talent that has been assembled on the back end.

Torey Krug has developed into one of the most productive offensive defensemen in the league, while Brandon Carlo had a really promising rookie season, appearing in every game and playing at a high level for a 20-year-old.

Now McAvoy is ready to join the picture and give the Bruins another young and potential impact player.

The Bruins have a lot of talent up front with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and David Pastrnak (once they get him signed) leading the way, and now they have a pretty strong group of young, offensive minded defensemen that can get the puck to them and help create chances.

Report: Pastrnak’s agent to ask Bruins about eight-year deal on Friday

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The Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy caught up with Bruins exec Cam Neely and David Pastrnak‘s agent J.P. Barry, and there are some awfully interesting updates regarding the rising forward’s negotiations.

Most pressingly, Barry told Conroy that the two sides are set to speak again on Friday, and there will be an argument made from Pastrnak’s side for an eight-year deal.

Barry backed up reports that a six-year, $36 million contract (which included a $6M cap hit) wouldn’t be enough.

Somewhat refreshingly, Neely addressed one of the burning questions head on: how would Leon Draisaitl‘s eight-year deal with an $8.5M cap hit figure in?

“If it looks like an abundance of players and the market has shifted, then you should look at it, but if it’s one player that you’re hanging your hat on then I don’t know if that’s a market shift,” Neely said. “I don’t know if the market has really shifted as much as people think.”

Interestingly, Neely also noted that while there was some early talk about a shorter “bridge” contract for Pastrnak, there hasn’t been much dialog in that regard recently.

All things considered, it might not be easy to talk Pastrnak’s price down that far from the Draisaitl price point. The two players generated similar numbers in 2016-17, although perhaps there could be some argument that a center might be worth more than a winger.

Neely mentioned that the Bruins’ own spending wouldn’t factor in much, yet that could conceivably be a useful talking point.

After all, Draisaitl could point to Connor McDavid‘s $12.5M and say, “I might not be worth that, but I’m worth about two-thirds, right?”

The Bruins’ highest cap hit is David Krejci at $7.25M, with Tuukka Rask at $7M. Theoretically, Neely and/or GM Don Sweeney could ask Pastrnak how much more he’s really worth than, say, Patrice Bergeron or Brad Marchand.

The fact that Pastrnak is an RFA (with quite a few RFA years to burn) also gives the Bruins leverage, whether the Oilers took advantage of their own leverage with Draisaitl well enough or not.

At least Bergeron provides some optimism, as CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty notes.

It’s all pretty fascinating stuff, although one can understand Bruins fans getting a little uneasy as this all drags out.

Report: Bruins offer Pastrnak long-term deal at $6M per year

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David Pastrnak is still without a contract for the upcoming season, with time ticking before training camps open in a few weeks.

That said, it’s been reported in the Boston Globe that the Bruins have offered Pastrnak a long-term contract that would pay him $6 million annually — which would put him alongside David Backes as the fourth highest paid forward on the club, according to CapFriendly.

According to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe, the Bruins have left the length of the deal, either six or seven years, up to the 21-year-old Pastrnak, who broke out last season for 34 goals and 70 points in 75 games.

The Bruins currently have about $10.1 million in cap space with only Pastrnak remaining to get under contract.

Trade rumors involving Pastrnak (read about them here) started circulating a couple of weeks ago, as this negotiation process has continued well into the summer. General manager Don Sweeney had a brief response when asked about the rumor: “Not trading Pastrnak.”

Related: Bruins would be wise to go long-term with Pastrnak

H/T to The Score.