If there’s anybody out there that’s a Boston Bruins fan in a breathless hurry to trade David Pastrnak and kick-start some kind of massive rebuild in Boston, the opening night of the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal should have been a sobering reality check.
The facts of the matter are that Boston Bruins brass and Pastrnak’s agent, JP Barry, are expected to meet up this week in Montreal and begin the frameworks for a contract extension that No. 88 can sign starting next week. There’s little doubt it’s going to be in the $9-10 million per season range based on his young age, his elite production and based on how difficult it is to find game-breaking forces like Pastrnak at the NHL level.
There were some whispers out there that Pastrnak was going to be a difficult signing based on friends like Torey Krug leaving the organization, but that’s something not really to be believed unless it actually plays out in reality. On the contrary, it appears that David Krejci might be an NHL option for the Bruins this coming season and that matching up friends Krejci and Pastrnak could be exactly the kind of thing to keep No. 88 happy and satisfied with the Boston Bruins organization that drafted, developed and helped mold him into the NHL superstar he is today.
This humble hockey writer hopes that Pastrnak stays in Boston just for the Dunkin’ Donuts commercial artistry alone.
But theoretically let’s say that Pastrnak is unhappy with some aspect of the Boston Bruins and the writing is on the wall that it’s going to be difficult to sign a right wing that’s got the talent to be a 50-goal scorer at the NHL level, and already has 240 goals and 504 points in 510 games for the Black and Gold.
The big pre-draft trade of 24-year-old Chicago Blackhawks sniper Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators has to give everybody pause about the kind of “haul” that Pastrnak might bring the Black and Gold in a similarly seismic trade. The Blackhawks were only able to land the No. 7 overall pick, a second-round pick and a third-round pick in exchange for a player that’s twice topped 40 goals in a season and has just about as many lamplighters as anybody else since he entered the league five years ago.
This is why his qualifying offer being $9M is inconsequential. Scoring goals is most important NHL skill & DeBrincat does it as well as any young player under age 25. You don’t trade that away for pennies on 💸. Horrible asset management by the Blackhawks. Sens are dangerous now https://t.co/mLJPINLAZV
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) July 7, 2022
That’s a steal for a Senators team that looks poised to make a move up the Atlantic Division after collecting another excellent young player, and it’s a fleecing of a Blackhawks team that can’t afford to ice a quality team after earmarking so much salary cap space to Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones. It’s also exactly what other interested NHL suitors, like buzzards circling overhead, will be offering the Boston Bruins if they’re forced into eventually trading Pastrnak to the highest bidder.
Sure, DeBrincat has a qualifying offer at $9 million that’s going to make him massively expensive following this upcoming season, but that’s also the NHL going rate these days for a dynamic young player capable of 40 goals. It’s absolutely what the Boston Bruins should be ready, willing and able to pay a player in Pastrnak that they have every intention of retaining as a future core piece along with Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm and Jeremy Swayman.
In fact, the Boston Bruins should heed the DeBrincat warning after the Chicago Blackhawks were savaged on hockey social media by their own city for an underwhelming return for one of the best young players in the league.
The City of Chicago weighed in on the Alex DeBrincat trade 😅 pic.twitter.com/ZhGFqORbFT
— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) July 7, 2022
If the B’s brass, or Boston Bruins fans for that matter, are harboring any secret notion that a Pastrnak trade could wholly set them up for the future, the 2022 NHL Draft’s opening night should disabuse them of that notion pretty quickly. Instead, an underwhelming return for a rare hockey talent like Pastrnak could become exactly the kind of misstep that the Boston Bruins simply can’t make at a delicate time in their Original Six existence. It should be the final option, only, after all other attempts to keep the marketable, likable and highly effective star have been exhausted.
Following the firing of Bruce Cassidy, the uncertain nature of how long Patrice Bergeron will keep going and an organization that’s short on young prospect talent right now after shipping out so many first rounders in recent years, the Boston Bruins can’t afford any more gaffes on the level of a 2015 first round that’s still stinging them all these years later.
It’s beginning to feel like being forced into a Pastrnak trade might turn into exactly that kind of spiraling disaster for the Boston Bruins, so it’s time to heed the DeBrincat warning that’s played out directly in front of them this weekend.