As the 2017 NHL offseason continues to roll along, the fate of certain players has been determined, while others await the verdict. For the Boston Bruins, two players, in particular, have been involved in many talks regarding either re-signing or a trade. What does the future hold for the two RFAs, Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak?
It’s pretty safe to say that every fan of the Boston Bruins wants David Pastrnak to return to Boston, wearing a black and gold sweater in the 2017-18 campaign. The Czech Republic native had a breakout season this past year, accomplishing 34-36-70 totals in 75 games that he skated in.
Pastrnak surprised many critics as well. At the beginning of his career, the main talking point was about his size or the size that he was lacking. David did not let that affect his hard work, as he eventually made the roster and he made the most of the opportunity. Pastrnak finished second in total points for all restricted free agents, behind only Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers.
There is no denying that the 21-year-old has earned a pay raise, after just coming off of his entry-level deal. Now what should the new contract be?
For me, the smartest decision would be to sign Pastnak for long-term. The National Hockey League seems to be growing year-by-year and if that continues to occur, the salary cap could very well continue to rise. Signing Pastrnak to a six or seven year deal at around $6.5 million would get the best ‘bang for your buck’ when the later years come along. By the time David is in year four or five, I imagine $6.5 million would be considered as a steal.
If the Bruins decide to sign Pasta to a three-year deal, he will be reaching his peak once the contract finishes, therefore the $6.5 million will most likely rise quite a lot.
Also, I wouldn’t worry about the signing taking this long. There is no way Boston lets Pastrnak go. I can see the management waiting for the signing of Leon Draisaitl in Edmonton. Both players are RFAs this offseason and had similar seasons. Draisaitl put up seven more points than David did, not amounting to too much of a difference. Pastrnak’s camp most likely wants to see what Draisaitl gets to get as much as they can as well.
Prediction: Bruins sign F David Pastrnak to a eight-year deal with an AAV of $7 million.
Ryan Spooner has indeed had a rough time in Boston. From nearly the beginning of his career in 2012, Spooner has had to hear trade rumors after trade rumors due to his ‘insufficient numbers’.
Ryan was off and on in the NHL in the 2012-13 season, 2013-14 season, and 2014-15 season, playing in 4 games, 23 games, and 29 games in each of those respective seasons.
During the 2015-16 campaign, however, Spooner received his chance. In 80 games, Ryan finished with 11-36-49 totals and a -9 rating. Spooner’s numbers did decrease in the past season, completing the year with 11-28-39 totals and a -8 rating in 78 games.
Due to the diminishing points from one year to the next, many people began to call for the head of Ryan Spooner. Trade rumors that would send Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche to the Bruins in exchange for Ryan Spooner, Jakub Zboril, and a 1st round pick continued to grow. However, Avalanche general manager, Joe Sakic’s asking price for Duchene was way too high for the Bruins. Even defenseman Brandon Carlo was added into the rumor.
For the majority of the season, Ryan Spooner controlled the third-line center position, along side Jimmy Hayes and Matt Beleskey. Both Hayes and Beleskey had a dismal year, leading to the eventual buyout of Jimmy Hayes this offseason. Although Spooner did get some power play minutes along side of David Pastrnak, they didn’t seem to add enough points to impress people.
Spooner finished this last season with only two points behind Duchene while Duchene played first line minutes on a last-place Avalanche team. Another main arguing tool for the Duchene/Spooner trade, was that Matt Duchene indeed played on a team who finished dead last in the overall season standings. Although, in the past, there have been players who have incredible seasons on terrible teams.
Alexander Ovechkin began his NHL career with a near-dead-last team. The 2005-06 Washington Capitals finished third-last in the league, followed by another third-last finish in the 2006-07 season. Alex Ovechkin, however, produced at nearly his highest level. Ovechkin tallied 52-54-106 totals in ’05-06 and then 46-46-92 totals in ’06-07.
If Matt Duchene was a great player, he would produce more points than 41. To get 90+ points on any roster is a challenge, no matter what player, but at least 60-70 points for a first liner should be expected.
The final suggestion that has been going around involving Spooner, is to ship him to another team for a third round selection and give the chance to some young players within the system. Now, Ryan Spooner has proven to be a solid third-line player that can also handle the power-play. Spooner has previously dealt with the second-line spot whenever David Krejci gets injured. Ryan has also gained chemistry with superstar-in-the-making, David Pastrnak due to those 5-on-4 minutes. Depending on what team you are sending Spooner to in that trade, the third round pick may not be that high, therefore the player may not turn out to be as good as Spooner is right now. Saying that, that specific prospect could become a roster player in the future, but the odds of that happening are small.
Overall, I think the Bruins’ management realize the potential of Ryan Spooner, which is why he is still technically on the team. If a trade involving Spooner intrigued Boston enough, you have to imagine that it would have occurred during the entry draft. Expect a signing for Spooner following the arbitration date, (July 26th). Whether Ryan Spooner is shipped out of Boston later on, that will most likely depend on how he begins the next season.
Prediction: Bruins sign F Ryan Spooner to a one-year deal for $1.75 million.