Yesterday afternoon, the Boston Bruins announced that assistant captain and top line center Patrice Bergeron would not be joining the team on their two-game road trip this week. While Bergeron has been a staple on Boston’s offense for the last sixteen years, fans should not be too worried about the team in his absence. Right now, while the third most productive person on offense, his numbers trail those of his fellow linemen, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand considerably. Bergeron has netted only 8 goals this season in comparison to Marchand’s 16 and Pastrnak’s 20.
With Bergeron’s absence, the Bruins will most likely look to David Krejci to step up offensively. After a bit of a slow start this year battling his own injury, Krejci accounted for two goals in under a minute at the tail end of the Bruins’ game against the Minnesota Wild last Saturday to take the game into overtime. Hopefully, this will not just be a fluke in productivity but will continue to stay steady with Bergeron out for the foreseeable future.
Another player to keep an eye on coming up is defenseman Torey Krug. After returning from an injury, Krug excelled in his game back getting two assists in regulation and then scoring the game winner in overtime. He wasted no time in reminding his team and fans that he is one of the best defensemen on the team, especially when it comes to offensive production.
— NHL (@NHL) November 24, 2019
Padding his stats is become increasingly important for Krug this year as he is playing for a new contract this season. While he made reference to the fact before the season started that he’d be willing to take a pay cut to stay on the Bruins, he is still due for a significant increase in salary. A lot of people believed that the Bruins would give it to him until the last few weeks were some doubts started.
While Krug was injured, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk stepped up to fill in for him and was pretty successful. The two defensemen are built basically the same and have similar talents on defense, each very fast on the ice and good at controlling and fighting for the puck. The one advantage Krug has on Grzelcyk is offensive numbers. However, while Krug was out, the younger player showed that he made a lot of improvements to his offensive play.
With that in mind, many fans began to wonder if the Bruins will offer Krug the kind of contract he is looking for. If Grzelcyk ends up being as productive as him, they may consider letting Krug walk and paying the less expensive defenseman who will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season. It’s also possible that either one may be trade bate as the deadline approaches so the team doesn’t have to deal with contract negotiations.
Only time will tell what the Bruins will do with the defensemen but if Krug’s play from the Minnesota game tells you anything, it’s that he’s not ready to give up the fight to stay in Boston.
~Mary Evers (@For_Evers_Young)