The Boston Bruins have signed restricted free agent forward David Pastrnak to a six-year contract worth $40 million.
The new deal packs an average annual cap hit of $6.67 million and will make him the fourth-highest player on the Bruins behind David Krejci, goalie Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron.
The 21-year-old is coming off his entry level contract and earned a hefty payout thanks to a stellar 2016-2017. He posted 34 goals and 36 assists last season for a total of 70 points in 76 games. He had two dozen points on the power play and scored 10 goals on the man-advantage, plus he registered a blistering 262 shots on goal.
The Havirov native was drafted 25th overall in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and has spent three seasons with the Bruins.
Pastrnak has four points in six playoff games.
“He’s a dynamic player,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He backs the opposition off; you have to respect him on his ice because of his ability to quick strike. He’s a dynamic player and he’s also got a great one-timer on our power play. So there’s a lot of team meetings where the other team is talking about [how] he can beat you offensively. That’s what he means to the team.”
Negotiations between the Bruins and the forward were part of the headlines for the last few days, with general manager Don Sweeney assuring fans that they were speaking daily and trying to iron something out.
As is generally the case in this situations, rumours were also part of the bargain. Some had Pastrnak generating interest in the KHL, but the likely story is that the buzz was used as free agency leverage.
In the end, the deal is done and Boston has their man.
“It’s nice to be a full team again and to have him back,” Boston captain Zdeno Chara said. “It’s always nice when you don’t have players missing more time, whether due to injuries or negotiations for example…so it’s nice to have all the guys being together and just the focus can be on our training camp and work on what we have ahead of us.”