David Pastrnak is one of the five remaining unsigned restricted free agents, and easily the most important one to his team. As training camp is set to open tomorrow the Boston Bruins have yet to come to some sort of an agreement with the young sniper, and as agent J.P. Barry told Joe Haggerty of CSNNE there’s “no breakthrough yet.” Pastrnak is still in the Czech Republic, and has decided not to attend camp with the Bruins until a deal is done. Darren Dreger of TSN gets the feeling that something is coming later tonight, but there are definitely still obstacles to overcome.
One such obstacle is the KHL, which has reportedly already given offers to Pastrnak to play in Russia next season. It remains extremely unlikely that he would go there, as he’s maintained all along that he loves Boston and wants to play for the Bruins long-term, but it is still a negotiating tactic his camp can use. The added proposition of playing in the Olympics is just another factor on the KHL’s side, given that Pastrnak would likely be the Czech Republic’s top forward (sorry, Jaromir).
For Bruins fans still wringing their hands with anxiety, remember that holdouts for big name RFAs happen often. Last year, Johnny Gaudreau, Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Kucherov all signed just before the season began, with no ill-will between the two sides. Though Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell and Jacob Trouba ended up holding out into the season, there is no reason to think Pastrnak would do the same. Instead, he’s more likely to just miss a few days of training camp before a long-term contract is announced. Dreger reports that they’ve been looking at 5-8 years, though it’s still unclear where they will land.