Everybody has an opinion on whether or not the Bruins should resign Krug. Personally, I think they should regardless of the circumstances. He’s become an integral member of the Bruins on and off the ice, and he is not easily replaced. Also, he obviously really wants to stay in Boston, and he’s made it clear he’s willing to take a hometown discount (within reason) to do so. But this article isn’t about whether or not he should be resigned. Everybody is treating it like a foregone conclusion that Krug will get an extension in the six to eight year range. But, I wonder if either side has even considered a one-year deal. I know, I know. It seems nuts. Players nowadays are looking for high-paying long-term deals, as they should be. But, this is a unique situation for a lot of reasons. So, why shouldn’t it be a consideration?
The Expansion Draft
There will be an expansion draft in the 2021 offseason, as Seattle will be getting an NHL team (details on that here). This has practically no impact on Krug himself, but it’s perhaps the biggest way in which a one-year contract would benefit the Bruins as an organization. If Krug were to sign a one-year deal, the Bruins would not have to protect him in the expansion draft unless they sign him to another extension before the draft. Technically, UFAs are up for grabs if left exposed in the expansion draft, but it would be stupid for Seattle to pick one, as they would not own their rights and that player could easily just sign without another team on July 1st, 2021.
Leaving Krug exposed would allow the Bruins to protect another defenseman (assuming they choose the 7-3-1 format). Matt Grzelcyk is the first one who comes to mind that would be protected in his place (although he’s an RFA this offseason, and this article could easily have been about why a one-year deal would be good for him for the same reasons). Should the Bruins somehow not have to protect either, they have a plethora of young, proven NHL defensemen that I’m sure they’d like to protect if they could. So, a one-year contract for Krug (or Grzelcyk, or better yet, both) would be a huge help for the Bruins in this situation.
The Salary Cap
The salary cap is likely not going up for at least this season, even if they can hold the playoffs. If it does go up, it won’t be by much. The league has just lost too much revenue. A flat (or nearly flat) cap spells bad news for all pending free agents. If Krug were to take a one-year contract now, should the salary cap be able to go up significantly again next offseason, he’ll be able to get a richer long-term deal than is possible this offseason. It would also make it so he might be paid handsomely for an extra season, as by the time any long-term contract he gets expires, he’ll be well past his prime and won’t get as much money. From a strictly financial standpoint, this seems like a no-brainer for Krug. As for the Bruins, it’ll cost them more in the long run, but it gives them more flexibility to resign others this offseason and for the 2021 expansion draft, so it would be well worth it.
Impact on Future Contracts
Taking a one-year deal now should lead to a more lucrative long-term contract then he’d get now. Krug has only been getting better in recent seasons, and there’s no reason to believe next season will be different. Also, regardless of whether or not the cap goes up, the Bruins will have significantly more cap space in 2021. David Krejci’s $7.25 million cap hit will come off the books and come down to a much smaller number. Rask’s contract will also be up, although we shouldn’t count on his $7 million cap hit decreasing unless he takes a hometown discount. Only Brandon Carlo is sure to be due for a big raise in 2021. So, there’ll be a lot more space for Krug. Krug would also do the Bruins a big favor by taking a one-year deal, so it’s a near sure bet that he’d get a better contract after. Also, unless he were to get a shorter contract than he would’ve otherwise, taking a one-year deal now will make it so he’s paid highly for a longer period of time overall.
The biggest reason players don’t like taking one-year deals is because of injuries. There is always a chance that they’ll suffer a bad injury and won’t be the same player upon their return. They might even suffer a career-threatening injury and never play again. If they were on a one year deal, that would mean significantly less money (if any) in the long run. Another reason a lot of players don’t like one-year deals is that, in some situations, it makes the player feel like he’ll just be used as bait at the trade deadline. Players, and especially those coming off of career seasons, also don’t like one-year deals because it means they’re betting on themselves. If their play or production were to drop off, that obviously hurts their next contract. No player wants that, especially if it was just one bad year.
All of these reasons for not taking one-year deals are fair and completely understandable. It’s not surprising that players don’t like one-year deals unless they’re at the end of their careers. But, serious injuries and sharp drop-offs in play aren’t likely, and the Bruins would never use Krug as trade bait. Krug is in his prime right now and it’s a good bet that he’ll only be better next season. This would only make his next contract more lucrative. The Bruins have to think of the risks here. There’s always a chance Krug either gets hurt or drops off. But in my opinion, in Krug’s situation, the benefits of a one-year deal outweigh the risks.
When you consider all of these things, it makes a lot of sense for Krug to take a one-year contract. Sure, there are risks that go along with it, but the benefits seem to far outweigh them. Now, does this mean it’s likely? Absolutely not. The Bruins (and the NHL in general) don’t like doing things that are out of the ordinary. Players just don’t take one-year deals in their prime under normal circumstances. But, this season has been far from normal, and the expansion draft next summer makes things more unique. Now is the perfect time to get creative. It’ll never happen, but it’s seemingly the perfect solution, so a girl can dream.
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
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