Where do you think David Pastrnak will land? Do you think he will make a deal with the Boston Bruins? If not where could he land? -- @glushbeats
UPDATED: Pastrnak signed a six-year, $40 million contract ($6.67 average annual value) with the Bruins on Thursday.
I thought all along Pastrnak would get a deal done with Boston, that it wouldn't linger throughout training camp. I never thought the Kontinental Hockey League was an option for him, as it so rarely is for young NHL stars, which is exactly what Pastrnak is after scoring 34 goals and 70 points last season.
However, I also thought Pastrnak would hold firm on an eight-year contract, which is the maximum length he can sign under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I also thought the average annual value of his contract would fall somewhere in between $7 million and $8 million because the comparison I was using was the eight-year, $68 million contract ($8.5 million AAV) Leon Draisaitl signed with the Edmonton Oilers on Aug. 16. Draisaitl and Pastrnak are 21 and have played three NHL seasons. Draisaitl had 77 points in 82 games last season. Pastrnak had 70 in 75 games. Draisaitl has 137 points in 191 games. Pastrnak has 123 points in 172 games. The comparison is legit.
But the other legitimate comparison was that of Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg, who had 133 points in 182 games when he signed a six-year, $36 million contract ($6 million AAV) on June 27, 2016. The Bruins clearly held firm on using the Forsberg comparison instead of the Draisaitl comparison and it worked in their favor.
As for Pastrnak, he is now going to be well compensated as the third highest-paid forward on the Bruins, behind David Krejci ($7.25 million AAV) and Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million AAV). He's also going to be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent when he's 27. This contract works well for him too. Even better, he'll be in training camp by the weekend and the Bruins should have their full team on the ice.
Video: TBL@BOS: Pastrnak opens the scoring with PPG
What's the likelihood Drew Doughty signs with another team when his contract is up, and who would have the best chance to land him? -- @bloodfury96
Doughty told NHL.com staff writer Lisa Dillman on Tuesday that he wants to stay with the Los Angeles Kings for his entire career and he only wants to win the Stanley Cup with the Kings. That should, at least for now, put to rest any speculation or fear about him wanting to leave when his contract expires after the 2018-19 season. He did tell The Hockey News he would leave the Kings when his contract expires if the team isn't heading in the right direction. On Tuesday, he said he is excited about the direction of the team. Regardless, it's too early to worry about Doughty's future. He still has two seasons left with the Kings and he truly does love playing in L.A. The Kings are under new management (general manager Rob Blake) and they have a new coach (John Stevens). A colleague told me Monday that the Kings should be a team to watch going into this season because Stevens' approach is vastly different from that of former coach Darryl Sutter, who is a hard-liner and hard driver. The change could be the breath of fresh air the Kings need to get back to playing winning hockey. A solid season complete with a trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs might be enough to convince Doughty to sign a contract extension next summer. He'd be eligible to do so on July 1, 2018.
Video: The guys on Drew Doughty's comments on playing in LA
Do the Edmonton Oilers move Leon Draisaitl to center for a more balanced attack or leave him with Connor McDavid? And where does Ryan Strome fit? -- @HeyimbanuPeter
NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell, who covers Western Canada, reports to me that he is hearing rumblings about Oilers coach Todd McLellan floating line combinations that don't feature McDavid and Draisaitl on the same line. He said he's hearing McLellan may want to see how Strome fits with McDavid in training camp. This is the time to do that, to see what kind of chemistry can be created between new teammates and even old teammates. McLellan already knows that McDavid and Draisaitl work well together. Why not see if Strome fits with McDavid? Why not see if Draisaitl can center his own line, which would give Edmonton the equivalent of what the Pittsburgh Penguins have in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin?
Video: Leon Draisaitl takes the No. 39 spot
Who is most likely to stick with a team off a professional tryout contract for this upcoming season? -- @k_corpstein
My top three candidates going into training camp are defenseman Cody Franson (Chicago Blackhawks), right wing Jimmy Hayes (New Jersey Devils) and center Jay McClement (Penguins).
The Blackhawks have to fill Brian Campbell's spot on defense and Franson might be the ideal fit at a bargain price. He's right-handed with size (6-foot-5, 224 pounds), moves well, advances the puck, joins the rush and drives possession. These are all important factors in fitting in with the Blackhawks, who appear to have an opening on the right side for a third-pair defenseman.
The Devils need depth. Hayes would provide that. There is a lot of competition in New Jersey for forwards in a bottom-six role, but many of the players, including John Quenneville, Nick Lappin, Stefan Noesen, Miles Wood, Michael McLeod and Blake Speers are young and on the fringe of being NHL regulars. Hayes could give the Devils more time to develop at least one of those players.
McClement could be Matt Cullen's replacement in Pittsburgh.
Video: CHI@CAR: McClement buries a slap shot past Darling
How do you see the Nashville Predators this season? Who replaces the leadership of Mike Fisher? New captain? -- @MeierGilles
The Predators should be a playoff team and considered a legitimate threat to get back to the Stanley Cup Final. Any team with Nashville's defense and goaltending has a chance, and that's even without defenseman Ryan Ellis for a few months, perhaps until the end of December or early January, because of offseason knee surgery. They have strong front-line scoring too with Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. Kevin Fiala is coming off a serious leg injury, but if he can get back to his pre-injury form I expect his production to go up. The question is can Nick Bonino be a legitimate No. 2 center? We'll find out in time, but Nashville is deep enough and talented enough.
As for the leadership, defenseman Roman Josi should be the new captain. He learned under Shea Weber, bided his time under Fisher and now it's his time.
Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Josi finishes Ekholm's pinpoint feed
Seems as if people are writing off the New York Rangers. Is there any scenario where their young centers take the next step and it's OK? -- @MattyWill7
There is no reason to write off the Rangers, but I'm not ready to pick them as a Stanley Cup favorite either.
They have enough scoring. Mika Zibanejad has the talent to be a 70-point center. He must get out of his own way to do it. He must play consistently. He hasn't done that yet in his NHL career. The time is now. Kevin Hayes has the size and skill to handle the heavier workload as the No. 2 center. No, he hasn't done it yet, but this is his chance. They must combine to do enough to replace what the Rangers lost in Derek Stepan. Is that a lock? No, but the depth the Rangers have around them on the wing is still strong with Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Jimmy Vesey, J.T. Miller, Pavel Buchnevich, Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast. The Rangers should be able to score, especially because they'll have a defense that should be faster and more offensive with Kevin Shattenkirk and a more experienced Brady Skjei. They should have a better power play than they had last season because of Shattenkirk.
The Rangers are still strong in goal with Henrik Lundqvist, who, if healthy, should be counted on for 30-35 wins. Don't ask me what happens if he gets hurt and has to miss extended time. All bets are off if that happens. It's hard for any team to withstand the loss of their No. 1 goalie. A key, though, will be Ondrej Pavelec in a backup role. I think he'll have to give the Rangers 13-15 wins if Lundqvist stays healthy. It's been two full seasons since Pavelec won at least 13 games. The Rangers might have to re-evaluate their backup goaltending situation midseason if Pavelec isn't doing enough to assist Lundqvist, who should not be counted on for more than 55 starts.
Video: NYR@MTL, Gm5: Zibanejad buries shot for OT win
Are you jumping on the Carolina Hurricanes bandwagon this year? -- @nhlcanesfans
Yes I am. I have already picked the Hurricanes to make the playoffs. I think they'll be fourth or fifth in the Metropolitan Division, meaning they'll finish as either the first or second wild card from the Eastern Conference.
Interestingly, I had a conversation with Carolina coach Bill Peters on Monday. Peters told me he solicited four opinions for who he should name as Hurricanes captain and was given a different name by each person: Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin and Jordan Staal. Peters will likely name one of them captain before the season begins. He would not give me any hints at the direction he's leaning now.
Video: Jeff Skinner comes in at No. 17 on Top 20 Wings list
Do you think that the Washington Capitals giving Jryki Jokipakka a tryout was more about competition or wanting to fill an opening? -- @gdohlke79
It's about both. The Capitals have openings for bottom-pair defensemen, or perhaps even a second-pair defenseman depending on how you view Brooks Orpik. Getting Jokipakka on a PTO increases the competition they'll have in camp, pushing rookies Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos, and veterans Taylor Chorney and Aaron Ness. Jokipakka could win a job or at least make the competition better. If they had a solidified top-six group it would be just for competition, but the Capitals don't, so why not see what Jokipakka can offer them? It makes sense.