From that hockey wasteland spring rumors, both interesting and completely bogus. I tend to think the one that lit up Bruins Twitter earlier today falls into the latter category:
That’s Brian Lawton, former GM of the Lightning and former player. Does he have sources? Maybe. Is he more plugged in than the local guys? Nah.
The reasons for this rumor taking off this evening aren’t hard to understand: there’s nothing else to talk about and Bruins fans, whether they’ll admit it or not, have a tiny part of them that fears management is going to screw this up again.
However, it’s really, really, really, really hard to see a scenario in which the Bruins would feel the need to trade David Pastrnak.
- The Bruins have plenty of cap space. It’s as close to a non-issue as it can be. Yes, I get it that you don’t want to blow all your cap space if you don’t have to, and that other guys are going to need new contracts soon. But per CapFriendly, the Bruins have $10 million in cap space. Even if Pastrnak was asking for the moon (i.e. $10 million), the Bruins could afford to do it. It would put them in a bind, sure; however, there a ton of moves the Bruins could make to shed money that would make more sense than losing Pastrnak: trade David Krejci or David Backes for pennies on the dollar, move an Adam McQuaid-type player, etc. It simply doesn’t make sense to lose your most talented player over a tight budget when money can be cut elsewhere.
- Pastrnak isn’t a malcontent. He’s said (many times) that he loves Boston, loves his teammates, loves playing here, loves his coaches...it’s all good, man. While it’s true that players will sometimes say one thing and mean another, Pastrnak is about as genuine as they come. His joy for the game is authentic, and he isn’t the kind of kid to play media games. He’s said that he’s not worrying about the contract, that his agent is taking care of it, and that he’s preparing for fall in Boston. There’s no reason to not believe him.
- The Bruins don’t have problems with Pastrnak; the love goes both ways. Hell, the Bruins made Pastrnak the centerpiece of their recent trip to China, choosing him to be the most public face of their big sponsorship with ORG Packaging. With the other “big” trades people cite, the sentiments above weren’t exactly the same. It was widely speculated that Phil Kessel made it plain that he didn’t want to play for the Bruins anymore. Bruins management (stupidly) had concerns about Tyler Seguin’s commitment and attitude. Dougie Hamilton didn’t want to play here. How big of a role each guy’s attitude played in what eventually happened is open to speculation, but the takeaway is that each situation was wildly different from Pastrnak’s.
- There’s no way the Bruins would get a remotely fair return for Pastrnak in a trade. The kid is destined to push for 50 goals and is the Bruins’ most naturally talented player (in a battle with his Czech counterpart for that role). If the Bruins had to trade Pastrnak, teams would know that they felt they had no other option. When a team knows it has you over a barrel, you end up with a terrible return (hello, Dougie Hamilton trade...though that one was also poor judgment on Don Sweeney’s part). There’s really not a viable name on the trade market that could come close to replacing Pastrnak’s value to the Bruins. They’d end up getting hosed (again).
- Pastrnak is too important to the Bruins’ future. The kid is in line to be the face of the franchise, if he’s not already. He’s a media darling due to his happy-go-lucky attitude, is talented as hell, and is well-liked by his teammates. Unlike, say, moving Brandon Carlo, there’s no one in the organization who can replace Pastrnak (and no one coming, unless you really believe in Zach Senyshyn’s ceiling). Jeremy Jacobs, with another lockout in site, is going to demand playoffs again this year, ideally with a few more home dates. Ownership isn’t letting up on the “win” pressure; trading Pastrnak makes those playoff home dates far less likely.
Part of me wondered if this rumor was even worth a post; however, it’s the summer, it’s good for debate and like I said above, there’s a part of every Bruins fan that fears another dumb move is in the works.
However, every sign out there points to Pastrnak being a big part of this franchise for years to come.
In all likelihood, this rumor is either completely made up or is being “sourced” by a team-friendly guy trying to float the idea to get Pastrnak to pressure his agent to get a deal done so he can stay.
The real hold-up is probably either:
- An issue with the size of the signing bonus (like the McDavid contract), which ownership is unwilling to pay.
- An issue with length, with Pastrnak’s camp wanting it to end in his first year of UFA eligibility and the Bruins wanting it to end with him remaining under RFA control.
- An issue with the AAV, with the Bruins being reluctant to go above Marchand or Bergeron levels and Pastrnak wanting something in the $8-9 million range.
What do you think? Bogus and baseless or frighteningly possible?