Dear Bruins GM Don Sweeney,
Don't ruin a good thing. Get the deal done. It's time to pay David Pastrnak what he's worth - or perhaps even a bit more.
Let's not fret over the price of Pasta. You need the 21-year-old right wing to score goals. As it turns out, he's darn good at doing just that. Is there a problem here? I don’t think so. So sign David Pastrnak now.
When Bruins training camp opens Thursday in Brighton, all eyes will be on the kids. Your roster is primed for a Black and Gold youth infusion. B's fans spent the summer daydreaming about Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork and the next wave of top-shelf prospects joining Pastrnak in the NHL.
The future is most definitely now.
So why mess with such promise? Why drag out an unnecessary contract dispute with your budding superstar? All that’s reportedly separating player and management is somewhere around $1 million per season and an extra year or two in term. You recently signed David Backes for too much and too long. How is Pastrnak now a problem?
Here’s the thing, Mr. Sweeney. For the first time in over two years (or since you hastily traded young defenseman Dougie Hamilton in June 2015, to be precise) things are finally looking up for the Bruins. And as general manager, you deserve the credit.
It was you who ushered in the mid-season coaching change last February that sparked a playoff run and a wildly refreshing "let the young-guns play" philosophy under interim coach Bruce Cassidy. It was you who made the (admittedly no-brainer) decision to have Cassidy return behind the bench this fall. And it was you who smartly avoided signing any high-priced, high-risk free agents a la Backes this off-season. Instead, you’ve left upwards of a half dozen roster spots for the taking heading into training camp
The idea, of course, is to let your deep prospect pool fight it out. May the best millennial win. This is simply how successful NHL teams are built in 2017. Step 1: assemble a veteran core (Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand – dare I still say David Krejci?). Step 2: round things out with the fast legs and cheap contracts of up-and-coming, unproven players.
With his entry-level deal now expired, Pastrnak, a restricted free agent, wants to get paid. So the attention now turns to you, Mr. Sweeney. Do you see the Czech scorer as the next member of your core? You had to be wincing in August when the Edmonton Oilers set the market with Leon Draisaitl at eight years and $8.5 million per season.
Your hopes for a tidy six year, $6 million-per-season contract are now smashed, but reports have you inching closer to a compromise. Time is running out.
Tomorrow, your 2017-18 Boston Bruins report to training camp with the promise of a new season ahead of them. The untapped potential of your young talent has emerged as a leading story line – and for good reason. It would simply be a shame if Pastrnak, your best young player, wasn’t under contract and ready to lead his team into the future.
So don't ruin a good thing, Mr. Sweeney. Get the deal done. Sign Pastrnak now.