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Looking at David Pastrnak’s contract options

What options does the Legend have?

NHL: Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes
Cash, or Czech?
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The clock is ticking until training camp starts, and the Bruins still need to sign their young superstar David Pastrnak. Without writing any more articles on how much, and for how long his contract should be, I’ll just look at the four options he has currently.

  1. Bridge deal (1-3 years)
  2. Long term deal (4-8 years)
  3. Hold out the whole year, play in the olympics
  4. Sign a deal after the season starts, which has cap implications

With reports that the Bruins want to sign Pastrnak to a 6+ year deal, and Pastrnak’s agent wanting to get a max term 8 year deal, a shorter bridge deal doesn’t seem to be in the cards. However, if one does get signed just to get both parties through the season, as long as it is less than 4 years, Pastrnak will remain a restricted free agent. Pastrnak would get arbitration rights as long as he plays 10 or more games this year, fulfilling the 4 years of professional experience outlined in Article 12.1. If the contract he signs is longer than three years however...

Pastrnak would become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the contract, having already accrued 3 seasons of 40+ games, some just barely. This is the most likely scenario, with him signing a six to eight year extension, making him an unrestricted free agent between the ages of 27 and 29, to then sign another long term deal

There is also the slim chance that Pastrnak could just not sign at all this year, which would mean we get to do this whole thing over again next year! I’m sure the Czech Republic would love his help against whoever the rest of the world sends to Korea!

Really though, this option really doesn’t make sense, since he would be missing a year of both development, and of solid earning potential. If a contract is not signed by December 1st, Pastrnak will not be able to play this year. That is the big deadline both parties are up against, though a deal will likely be made long before then. Via article 11.4 of the CBA:

Signing Deadline for Group 2 Free Agent. An SPC for a Group 2 Free Agent will be rejected and will be null and void ab initio (i.e., the Player's Free Agency and contractual status shall revert to the status he held prior to signing his SPC), if it is not signed and filed with Central Registry by 5:00 p.m. New York time on December 1 in the then current NHL Season.

If Pastrnak signs after the start of the season, but before that December 1st deadline then the cap hits for his contract will not be the same for the duration of his contract as there is a restricted free agent holdout penalty that changes how they are calculated. This is not explicitly spelled out in the CBA, but in talking with people versed in the CBA and contracts, as well as looking at the three cases from last year (Trouba, Rakell, Lindholm) we can deduce how they were calculated.

The first year of the contract and the remainder of the contract, provided it is more than a one year term, are calculated differently. The first year will have a higher cap hit, and subsequent years will have a marginally lower cap hit.

The subsequent years: Calculated using how much money is left to be paid on the contract and the total term.

((First year’s salary x days left in the season / total days in the season) + (remaining value of the contract) / total term of the contract))

The first year: Calculated using the first year’s salary, the number of days left in the season when he signed and is verified by the Central registry. This year, there are 186 days in the 2017-18 season, with the season starting on October 4th, and ending on April 7th.

The cap hit would then be found by the formula: Cap hit for the remaining years * total days in the season (186) / days left in the season

If explaining the math with words isn't making sense, I created a calculator to make life easier, and CapFriendly also explains it on their FAQ page, or pictorially.

For example, heres a worst case scenario with Pastrnak signing an 8 year, $64 million deal the day before the deadline, with the lowest amount of money in the first year.

David Pastrnak worst case scenario for RFA holdout penalty

Here are some examples from last year

Jacob Trouba:

Jacob Trouba’s RFA holdout penalty

Hampus Lindholm:

Hampus Lindholm’s RFA holdout penalty

Rickard Rakell:

Rickard Rakell’s RFA holdout penalty

Even if you’re in the camp of wanting to pay up for Pasta, the penalty could make it a painful pill to swallow. It goes without saying that avoiding this nightmare scenario makes the most sense for both parties.


What kind of deal gets done first?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Bridge Deal
    (55 votes)
  • 49%
    Long term Deal
    (311 votes)
  • 35%
    Long term Deal AT THE LAST SECOND
    (220 votes)
  • 3%
    Pasta takes off a year, plays for the Czech national team
    (19 votes)
  • 3%
    Long Term Deal plus that Cap Penalty. Oy...
    (19 votes)
624 votes total Vote Now