Torey Krug, a staple on the Bruins back end since 2013, is in line for quite the pay raise. By whom you ask? That is a mystery that will have a massive impact on the Bruins future.
If Torey Krug reaches Free Agency, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a team offers him north of $8M AAV (Average Annual Value,) which is not a realistic figure that the B’s can match. If he ends up staying with the Bruins, it seems more likely that his new deal would be worth an AAV somewhere in the realm of $6.5-$7.5M.
“I’ve spent my whole adult life, my whole professional career, here in this organization, city,” Krug stated, “I’ve done seemingly everything they’ve asked of me. I’m proud of that. I’ve put all my energy into trying to help this team win games and win championships. … There’s an emotional attachment.”
What if He Leaves?
Could Torey Krug really put on a sweater that doesn’t have the spoked B on it? That is a real possibility, and with Krug’s latest comments, coupled with the B’s tight cap space, it seems more likely than not, that Krug’s days in Boston may be done:
“I’m very opposed to that,” said Krug when asked about a short term extension. “I’ve bet on myself. I’ve taken shorter-term deals, less amount of money my whole career now. This is my time in terms of my value at its peak. I have the ability, I’m in a position now where I need to make the most of it.”
He also said:
“I’ve done everything they’ve seemingly asked of me and I’m proud of that…There’s nothing personal about it. It’s business.”
He understands, as any smart UFA in their prime would, that he deserves to get paid in comparison to his value, rather than take a cheaper, short term contract, like the 29-year-old has done in the past. Krug also mentioned that negotiation attempts had been “few and far between,” hopefully that is because the team had been in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Krug wanted to focus on winning the cup rather than his looming UFA status.
What Would This Mean for the Bruins?
The Bruins would lose an above average puck mover, and an average at best defender. The powerplay would take a massive hit if the services of Torey are lost. The Michigan Native has been a key cog in what has been a very successful Boston powerplay. 47% of Torey Krug’s career points has come while the B’s were on the powerplay.
An unlikely way for the B’s to fill the potential void is through free agency. A name that is somewhat interesting is 28-year-old defenseman Erik Gustafsson. Gustafsson, one year removed from a 60 point season, would more than likely be the only defenseman worthwhile.
The B’s would need Matt Grzelcyk to make an enormous leap, and be able to quarterback a powerplay (at least) half as well as Krug can. The young defensive prospects such as Lauzon, Zboril, Vaakanainen, etc. aren’t ready to be thrown into such a vital role. John Moore definitely doesn’t have or deserve a regular spot in this lineup. If Grzelcyk does move up to the second pairing, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see a third pairing of Vaakainen-Lauzon/Clifton.
Only time will tell what will happen. GM Don Sweeney has quite the offseason ahead of him with Krug, Chara, DeBrusk, and Grzelcyk all needing new contracts. With only about $15.5M in cap space to play with, it will be very interesting to see Don put his 2018-19 GM of the Year award-winning skills to the test. If Krug signs elsewhere, Sweeney will have to make a signing or a trade, and with his history with Free Agency signings being poor at best, you hope there’s a good trade for the B’s out there somewhere.
-Bradley Whitesell (@bradiey98)