Whereas Pavel Zasha filed for arbitration earlier this month, it looks like there’s a good chance his case won’t be heard. The center’s agent – Darren Ferris of Quartexx – told Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link) that a new business for his client “should be finished in no time”.
Boston acquired the 25-year-old from New Jersey just hours before free agency opened earlier this month in exchange for Erik Haula. Zacha fell short of his billing project as the sixth overall selection in 2015, but he has shown improvement over the past two seasons and has just completed a year that saw him collect 15 goals and 21 assists in 70 games. with New Jersey; his 36 points were a career high.
It was good enough for Boston to acquire and qualify him for a cost of $3 million, although that number will likely increase in his next contract. Zacha is in his final season of RFA eligibility as he already has six seasons of service under his belt, so it stands to reason that the sides are currently working on a multi-year deal which would at least give them some depth. Between.
It would also give them cost certainty to move forward with the rest of their offseason planning. The Bruins have declared their interest in re-signing Patrice Bergeron whether the future 37-year-old is ready to return for a 19th NHL season. They have also been in talks with David Krejci to bring it back to North America. But until Zacha’s deal is done, general manager Don Sweeney won’t know exactly how much cap space he has left.
Either way, it won’t be much. CapFriendly is currently planning Boston will have $4.758 million in cap, most of which will go to Zacha. Unsurprisingly, Sweeney acknowledged earlier this month that if Bergeron and Krejci return, it will take a low-wage contract with performance bonuses. They will probably also have to conclude a contract, even with several veterans (Brad Merchant, Charlie McAvoyand Matt Grzelcyk) likely to start the year on LTIR. Ferris also told Conroy there was “a lot is going on” so a Zacha contract may be the domino that gets things done on the rest of their off-season moves.