With the Bruins no longer in the playoffs, all eyes are on the team's pending free agents. None more so than offensive defenseman Torey Krug. Krug finished the shortened season with 49 points in just 61 games. One more point and Krug would have had his fourth straight 50 point season. Torey is coming off a four-year deal that paid him 5.25 million per year. Over the last four seasons, Krug actually has the sixth-most points among defensemen and is looking to be paid like it. Back in March, it was leaked that Krug wanted a six-year deal worth 49 million dollars or just over 8 million per year. Looking at some of the names he is currently outscoring or just behind that would seem like a fair market value. Can the Bruins afford to pay Krug that much?
The Bruins’ Side
While paying Krug in the neighborhood of $8 million might seem like an issue the Bruins have some cap room. Sitting with the eleventh most cap room in the league at just over 14.4 million the Bruins are in a position to make some noise. The Bruins also have 19 of their 23 current roster players under contract. So not only do they have money to spend but they don't have many players to spend it on. With some big contracts coming up in the next few years what the Bruins decide on Krug will have a lasting impact for years down the line.
Cam Neely was recently asked about Krug during his end of the season press conference. Here is an article covering what he had to say. "I understand the player side. Being a player you certainly understand where the player's heads are at times and I don't begrudge Torey if we can't work something out that makes sense for him and his family. I do not begrudge him for looking to see if he can get a better deal elsewhere. We love Torey. We love what he's brought to the organization both on and off the ice. He's turned into a fabulous leader for us. But at the end of the day, both sides have to do what they feel is right, as for the organization and Torey for him and his family." That doesn't sound like a president willing to do whatever it takes to bring this player back.
Torey Krug’s Side
Torey Krug was also asked about his upcoming free agency. Here are a few quotes from him in a recent article. "There’s an emotional attachment. I think that's a mistake that a lot of athletes get caught up in when they start their professional careers. There's nothing personal about it. It's business on both ends. Teams have to put the best team forward spending certain amounts of money. Athletes have one shot at making all their money in their careers. Whether you play 1,2,3 years in the league up to 10,15 years you have one shot to do it all."
Krug was also asked about his willingness to take a short term deal and here is his response. "I'm very opposed to that. I've bet on myself and I've taken shorter-term deals and fewer amounts of money my whole career now. So this is my time in terms of my value at it pea, and I have the ability, and I'm in a position now where I need to make the most of it". Those don't sound like the comments of a player looking to take a team-friendly deal like many fans have been saying.
Could we be reading too much into these comments? Possibly, but there is no denying the picture they paint is of Krug in a different jersey next season. Krug wants not part of taking a short term or team-friendly deal and management is saying they understand players wanting to get paid and do what's best for them. It almost sounds like the sides have come to an understanding that Krug won't be back next season.
If Torey Krug is in fact on his way out there are a few names that could be on the Bruins list to replace him. The name that should be on the top of that list is Vince Dunn. With the Blues in some serious cap trouble trying to keep Pietrangelo, Dunn could be offer-sheeted at a number the Blues can't match. But that is a topic for another article coming very soon. Until then fellow Bruins fans stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!
Featured image courtesy of Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.