Torey Krug glided the 200 feet of ice before potting an overtime goal that sent The Garden into a frenzy. The stunning comeback over the Minnesota Wild last night was made possible, in part, to Krug’s return. Krug assisted on David Krejci’s game tying goal, before taking matters into his own hands in overtime.
But Krug putting up three points might overshadow how Matt Grzelcyk performed in his absence. Grzelcyk stepped up for Boston during the five games Krug was out. He tallied four points, including two goals against the Devils, in those five contests.
The biggest difference was on the power play, where only one of Grzelcyk's points came from. Krug managed a power play assist in his first game back. Obviously losing on of the best power play quarterbacks in the NHL is going to have an effect on the unit. And realistically, nobody is expecting Grzelcyk to ever be as productive as Krug on the PP. But head coach Bruce Cassidy did have some nice things to say about an aspect of Grzelcyk's game.
Cassidy took note of the recent uptick on Gzelcyk's shots and was pleased. “Grizz might do it because well -- Krejci ain’t shooting,” Cassidy said. “Charlie (McAvoy) is not shooting. Charlie Coyle is not shooting. ‘I might as well shoot it.’ He’s just doing the math. He must have been the smartest one at BU.” Quote courtesy of Boston Sports Journal's Conor Ryan. While Cassidy was joking, sometimes comedy can be rooted in reality.
Which brings up another interesting question. How does Grzelcyk's affect Krug’s future with in Boston? Both will be free agents after the 2019-2020 season. However Grzelcyk's will be a restricted free agent while Krug will be unrestricted. Krug will be a highly coveted free agent this off season.
Another entire issue is the NHL’s expansion draft. In June of 2021, the NHL’s Seattle based team will hold their draft. The Bruins, along with all the other NHL teams, excluding the Golden Knights, will have decisions to make. They will have to decide which way to protect their players. Either seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender.
I would assume the Bruins would choose the first option. Then, obviously it will depend on who is still on the team and where they are at in their career. I would assume David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are safe. David Krejci becomes a free agent before the draft takes place that summer. How will the Bruins manage their defensemen?
Charlie McAvoy and Branden Carlo have to be two players kept away from the draft. Assuming both Krug and Grzelcyk are still here, which is not a guarantee, one of them will not be protected. And if the Bruins sign Krug to a big ticket, I cannot imagine they would risk losing him just one year into his contract. The expansion draft might just throw a massive monkey wrench into the Bruins plan regardless of who is still on the team.
Having said that, I think the Bruins should do everything they can to keep Krug. Their power play has become lethal with him as the conductor. Their PP was a massive reason why they came within one game of a Stanley Cup parade last spring. As valuable, versatile, and talented as Matt Grzelcyk is, Torey Krug brings an element to Boston that is nearly impossible to replace.
Story by Chad Jones
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