Brad Marchand said he would be fine with it if David Pastrnak winds up making more money than he does for the Boston Bruins.
Pastrnak, a right wing, remains unsigned as a restricted free agent with he and the Bruins reportedly working on an eight-year contract.
"We all want to see each other be successful," Marchand, a left wing, told The Associated Press on Monday. "He had a great year last year, so we'll be very happy for him with whatever he ends up getting. The contract that he signs, [he's] going to make a lot of money, he's a phenomenal player, he's 21 years old, he's going to have a long career. We all like to see each other be successful and do well, and that's the way the game goes.
"The League's trending upwards and the contracts are getting higher and higher. You look around and some of the deals that were thrown out this summer for young guys, it wasn't like that three or four years ago, and that's the way it is now. So, again, we're all very happy for one another, and whatever he gets is going to help other guys get more too. So that's just the way it is."
Marchand, 29, is the Bruins' fourth-highest paid player (third-highest paid forward) with an annual NHL salary cap charge of $6.125 million from an eight-year contract he signed Sept. 26, 2016. Reports this offseason have suggested that the Bruins may be hesitant to pay Pastrnak more than Marchand, who scored an NHL career-high 39 goals last season and won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011.
Negotiations between Pastrnak and the Bruins continue daily, general manager Don Sweeney said Monday. Pastrnak's agent, J.P. Barry, has proposed an eight-year contract, the Boston Herald reported.
"Hopefully it gets done," Marchand said. "[David is] a great player, he will be for a long time and a big part of this team, obviously we want to see him around. We don't want to see this hang over his head and over the team's head, and we'd just love to see him back. I'm sure something will get done soon."
Pastrnak's situation is most often compared to Leon Draisaitl's with the Edmonton Oilers. The 21-year-old forward signed an eight-year, $68 million contract with the Oilers as a restricted free agent Aug. 16 (an $8.5 million salary cap charge).
Pastrnak completed his three-year, entry-level contract last season, when he was second on the Bruins behind Marchand in goals (34) and points (70). He was too young this summer to opt for arbitration. Draisaitl had 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) for the Oilers.
Pastrnak, the No. 25 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, has 123 points (59 goals, 64 assists) in 172 games, all with Boston.
Forward David Krejci ($7.25 million annually through 2020-21), forward Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million through 2021-22) and goalie Tuukka Rask ($7 million through 2020-21) are the Bruins who make more than Marchand, according to CapFriendly.com.
The Bruins open training camp Thursday and their first regular-season game is against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden on Oct. 5.