While speaking to the media during his end-of-season availability on Thursday (September 3rd), Torey Krug addressed his upcoming contract. Some of his comments were discouraging to many fans, myself included. But, they were also a little confusing given what he’s said in the past. Even though some of what he said was discouraging, it doesn’t mean he’s definitely gone. He said some things that should give fans hope, and there are some things GM Don Sweeney can do to minimize his cap hit while giving him what he wants. So, wthout further ado, here’s what he had to say and what can be done about it.
Krug’s Recent Comments
"Very proud of what we’ve done here in Boston over the years and being part of that core group. Guys have come and gone and I’ve managed to stay for 8 years…very happy that I was part of it. Hopefully it continues and I still am." – Torey Krug on approaching free agency pic.twitter.com/RrFJAEsCSH
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) September 3, 2020
You can find Krug’s full comments in the video above, but here are the main things you need to know. He said talks with the Bruins have been “few and far between.” That’s not music to Bruins fans’ ears. But, we can take comfort in him then saying he didn’t know what the coming weeks held, and that he’s willing to wait and see with the Bruins.
When asked about the possibility of a one-year contract, he said he was “very opposed to that,” as “this is my time in terms of my value at its peak. I’m in a position now where I need to make the most of it.” This is far from shocking and I don’t blame him. He’s taken shorter-term deals before to bet on himself, and he deserves to get paid on a long-term deal. As for taking a hometown discount, it’s unclear given these comments if he’s still willing to do that. But, I feel like it’s a possibility given how many times he said that in the past.
Krug also said in his interview that he still has a strong emotional attachment to the team, although he noted he can’t let that be the only deciding factor. There are numerous other things he mentioned, such as fit and his family, that are also extremely important to him, perhaps more so than the money. So, there’s certainly going to be more that factors into his decision than money, which should give Bruins fans some hope.
Here’s What He Said Before the Playoffs
The reason why I’m so confused by Krug’s comments is because of his comments before the playoffs. He said he didn’t want to talk about a new contract once the playoffs started. Given the fact that the Bruins just got knocked out on Monday, I’m really not sure why Krug would be surprised talks haven’t really happened recently. There’s been pretty much no time. This could be a negotiation tactic on Krug’s part, as Mitch Marner said something similar to the media last season and got a deal not long after.
So, I’m not sure it’s a reason for concern that talks haven’t really been happening lately. If that’s the case for much longer, then yes it’ll be concerning. But for now, it’s fine. Krug is still willing to see what happens with the Bruins. Sweeney has until a week after the Cup is awarded in October to talk to Krug before anyone else can. So, there’s plenty of time to talk now with no distractions.
The Eighth Year Could Be Key For the Bruins
One reason in particular to hold onto hope, aside from how much Krug loves Boston, is the fact that the Bruins can offer him an eighth year. This could be key in keeping his cap hit down. In the past, Sweeney hasn’t been too keen to give that eighth year. However, he gave it to Marchand back in 2016, when Marchand was 28 and a UFA. Krug turned 29 back in April. So, it’s a pretty similar situation, and because of that, I think Sweeney will be willing to do it.
Should Sweeney be willing to offer the eighth year, it’ll allow the Bruins to match the amount of money he wants and can get on the open market, but for a lower cap hit. Krug is rumored to want $8 million on a seven-year deal, so $56 million in total. If the Bruins offer him that $56 million for eight years, that means a $7 million cap hit. That’s extremely reasonable for Krug, and something the Bruins can afford. The Bruins could even afford to give him the $8 million, as I wrote about a few months ago, although it would be really tight unless a trade is made and I’d be shocked if it happened. I think it’s much more likely they give him the eighth year before they give him $8 million.
The Bruins could even throw him a little more than $56 million overall if they really want to entice him. I don’t think it’ll be necessary at all given the term and they’re giving him what he wants, but it’s possible. It’s also still possible he takes a hometown discount to stay with Boston. But if he’s not willing to, the Bruins certainly have options to retain him at a reasonable cap hit.
So, Should Bruins Fans Be Concerned?
While Krug’s comments are a little concerning to me, I’m not too worried. I truly don’t believe it’s a reason to think he’s 100% gone. He expressed a strong desire to remain in Boston, and just because talks didn’t happen during the playoffs doesn’t mean they won’t, especially since Krug had said he wanted to just focus on hockey. The Bruins also have the ability to offer him an extra year. That could be the key to retaining him. It allows them to keep him at a reasonable cap hit while giving him the money he wants.
Overall, I truly believe it’s still possible for the Bruins to retain Krug. It’s looking a little dimmer than it did at one point, but it’s still extremely possible. As long as Sweeney is willing to give him more than Bergeron is making, which is something he’s been hesitant to do in the past for some reason, they’ll be fine. I have a little hope he’ll recognize the importance of doing this, as well as the fact that he’ll eventually have to do so, and give Krug at least close to what he wants. I’m assuming Krug will be his top priority. He’s the only UFA who may leave that they can’t easily replace. So, hopefully, we know more at least somewhat soon. But, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the coming weeks.
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
Featured image courtesy of Chase Agnello-Dean/National Hockey League/Getty Images