Harris: With David Pastrnak in fold, Bruins can focus on building lines now


Now, was that really so difficult?

After months of talks, and apparently lengthy stretches of silence, the Bruins and restricted free agent winger David Pastrnak Thursday arrived at a compromise that should have been attainable long ago: A six-year contract worth $40 million, or $6.67 million per year.

That represents for this season, if our math is correct, a tidy little raise of $5,741,670 over the $925,000 Pastrnak earned in 2016-17, the final year of his entry-level pact.

Pastrnak jumps into the upper-echelon of the NHL salary structure, as the seventh highest-paid right-winger in the league. And he would become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022-23 season, two months after he turns 27, which means his next contract after this one could be far larger.

Yes, moms and dads, get your youngsters on skates as soon as possible.

The Bruins and Pastrnak thus avoided the sort of acrimonious turmoil that can surround a free agent holdout, causing distractions in the locker room and lasting rancor. Pastrnak’s teammates, who may well have had some inside information, weren’t surprised the deal got done.

In hindsight, the threat the young Czech might play in the KHL wasn’t real. Some of those clubs may have made offers, but that doesn’t mean Pastrnak had any interest, beyond, maybe, putting a little negotiating pressure on the B’s.

“You never know with those situations, I guess,” said center Patrice Bergeron. “But I was kind of under the impression that it was going to get resolved at some point. You just didn’t know when. I think that’s the way that Pasta was feeling, as well.”

Pastrnak spent much of last season skating on a line with Bergeron. But B’s coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday the plan for the start of camp is to play Pastrnak, who’ll arrive in Boston Friday and possibly be on the ice by Saturday or Sunday, with No. 2 center David Krejci.

“That’s the plan,” said Cassidy. “They speak the same language on the ice. Both in the style they play and how they communicate. I think Krech likes having guys with speed to open up ice for him so he can draw opposition plays to him and dish pucks.

“David Pastrnak has become a really high-end shooter; and David Krejci has always excelled at getting pucks to those type of players, They like to score. They think offense. Guys like that like to play together.”

Cassidy said he envisions pairs of players in forming his lines, which means Bergeron-Brad Marchand as one pair,…



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