NHL Rumor Mill – August 15, 2017
Updates on David Pastrnak and Will Butcher in your NHL rumor mill.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reacts to speculation from NHL Network analyst Brian Lawton suggesting contract problems between the Boston Bruins and restricted free agent David Pastrnak could result in the winger getting traded. Haggerty acknowledges both sides could be getting a little antsy because training camp is less than a month away and there’s no deal in place yet, but he rejects the notion that the Bruins will trade Pastrnak.
Haggerty notes the Bruins need Pastrnak’s speed and offensive skills, points out there’s no one comparable coming up in their organization to replace him. He also believes the Bruins would be on the losing end of a Pastrnak trade, recalling the Tyler Seguin deal four years ago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m with Haggerty on this one. Yes, anything’s possible and the Bruins have a recent history of shipping out good young players (Seguin, Phil Kessel, Dougie Hamilton), especially when contract talks got difficult. But as Haggerty noted, they simply cannot afford to part with Pastrnak.
I don’t doubt the young winger’s camp is waiting to see how much RFA forward Leon Draisaitl gets from the Edmonton Oilers in hopes of using him as a comparable. But Pastrnak is coming off his entry-level contract and didn’t have arbitration rights. If necessary, the Bruins can wait him out, even if that means he refuses to report to training camp.
It’s been reported the Bruins hope to re-sign Pastrnak to a long-term deal worth slightly less per season than Brad Marchand’s $6.125 million annual cap hit. Ultimately, they could be forced to pay more than that (perhaps $6.5 million annually) but I expect they will get a deal done.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports the Detroit Red Wings are expected to be among the suitors for former Colorado Avalanche prospect defenseman Will Butcher. The 2017 winner of the Hobey Baker Award is now an unrestricted free agent. In addition to the Wings, Kulfan reports “Pittsburgh, Chicago and Minnesota (both close to home for the Wisconsin native), Buffalo, Toronto and New Jersey have been linked to Butcher.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of the constraints on NHL entry-level contracts, money won’t play a role in where Butcher goes. He’ll likely sign with an NHL team that can provide him what Kulfan calls “immediate playing time.” He could get that from Detroit, Buffalo or New Jersey.