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  • The Bruins remain in a bit of a holding pattern when it comes to some key contracts. Namely, an impending extension for David Pastrnak, and how they plan to fit other important players under the cap.

    The sense around Causeway St. is that the Bruins will eventually agree to an extension for Pastrnak, with an average annual value in the range of $9.5 million – the same number as his teammate, defenseman Charlie McAvoy. And from there, the other pieces should be able to fall into place.

    As the Sports Hub’s own Ty Anderson explained to me in the newest episode of the Sports Hub Underground podcast, which you can listen to above, the Bruins prefer to get these contracts done in a certain order, starting with Pastrnak then following up with deals to bring back both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. In the simplest terms, they want to get Pastrnak done first, then figure out how much they can safely spend on the others.

    But the actual process is more complicated than that, and ostensibly the reason why it’s taking a while for the dominoes to fall. In addition to the aforementioned trio, the Bruins have an arbitration hearing with the recently acquired Pavel Zacha set for Aug. 11.

    May 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his power play goal with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (22) behind him during the second period in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    May 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his power play goal with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (22) behind him during the second period in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

  • The big obstacle here is what’s known as cap overages, which occur when players hit bonuses or incentives that push their teams over the cap. Any overages that can’t be covered by the end of the season count against the cap for the following season. At the same time, a team cannot tie up more than 7.5 percent of its total cap in overages; in the case of the 2022-23 season, that would be about $6.2 million.

    Have a popsicle headache yet? Let Ty try to explain.

    “So, to get Bergeron and Krejci signed, without subtracting from this roster, they are going to need to sign them to bonus/incentive deals, like [Jarome] Iginla in 2013-14,” he said. “The problem with that is, you can only go a certain percentage of overage penalties.

    “So you can’t be like, ‘All right, we’ll just sign you to these bonus contracts and not worry about it.’ No, you have to try to get the math right. And you also want to make sure that you’re not completely screwing yourselves for next year.”

  • Pastrnak is signed for 2022-23, so an extension wouldn’t kick in until 2023-24. But they’re only looking at about $4.7 million of cap space as it stands now, according to CapFriendly. And at the same time, Ty believes that the Bruins are “reluctant” to trade anyone off the main roster right now, particularly on defense, due to their injury situation. They will be without McAvoy, Brad Marchand, and Matt Grzelcyk for extended time to begin the 2022-23 season.

    However, Bergeron and Krejci should still be doable. They could sign for incentive-laden deals that would max out just under $11 million, and the Bruins could stay under the overage maximum. That wouldn’t be ideal, because that money would come off their cap in 2023-24. But an in-season salary-dump trade would give them relief. And with Zacha expected to sign for more than $3 million in arbitration, they may need to place someone on long-term injured reserve to push the cap problems down the road, anyway.

    Maybe your head hurts now?

    Aug 19, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) and center Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrate the 2-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes following game five of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 19, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) and center Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrate the 2-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes following game five of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

    “I think if the Bruins do make a trade in-season to alleviate some bonus overage issues next summer, I think they want to wait until they’re fully healthy,” Ty said. “So right now it’s just like, you know, you’re kind of crunching all the numbers you can, every variable you’re factoring in here, like ‘How can we make this work to the best advantage for us?’ So I think that’s the holdup.

    “But I do think they want to get Pastrnak taken care of first – or have a rough idea, as to what he would cost – to be taken care of before bringing back Bergeron and Krejci.”

    This is all a long way of saying, the Bruins do have an ideal plan in mind to bring back Pastrnak, Bergeron, and Krejci. It’s just a convoluted path ahead of them. But it would explain the delay.

    Listen above for the full episode of the latest Sports Hub Underground, which also includes Patriots training camp talk and reactions to the blockbuster Matthew Tkachuck trade.

  • The rundown…

    (7:50) Matt gives his big-picture thoughts on the Patriots after one day of training camp in Foxboro. He’s optimistic about the offense, not so much about the defense.

    (26:46) Ty doesn’t like what the NFL has done to its schedule format, from the preseason all the way through the playoffs.

    (32:00) The Bruins still need to figure out an extension for David Pastrnak, as well as decide on Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Ty explains what he thinks they’re trying to accomplish.

    (40:43) The Florida Panthers made a blockbuster trade to acquire Matthew Tkachuck from the Calgary Flames. The popular sentiment was that the Panthers gave up too much, but Ty explains why he actually likes the deal for Florida.

    (50:42) Matt & Ty pick their “Big 3” favorite days of the sports calendar.

    Subscribe to the Sports Hub Underground for new episodes every Thursday.

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  • Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.