The Boston Bruins are in a crowded group of good teams with Stanley Cup aspirations and salary cup restraints. Before he made himself indispensable last season and during the Bruins Stanley Cup Final run, defenseman Torey Krug was usually mentioned as a likely cap casualty.
Emphasis on “was.”
Early Friday evening, an NHL executive confirmed to Boston Hockey Now there has been minimal trade chatter surrounding Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who is entering the final season of a four-year contract that has paid him $5.25 million against the salary cap.
“No. Why would they trade their best D?” the league source rhetorically asked Boston Hockey Now.
The Bruins cap situation shows them with $8.1 million to sign restricted free agent defensemen Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, as well as potentially extend Krug past July 1, 2020. The league source poured more cold water on a potential deal and reiterated there had been little to no chatter. Krug posted his third straight season with more than 50 points.
“I want to be here forever,” Krug told the media back on June 14.
Krug, 28, expounded and made it clear he wants to remain a Bruin after the team fell to the St. Louis Blues in a seven-game series loss in the Stanley Cup Final.
With the current market rising for offensively gifted and puck-moving defensemen like Krug, many around the NHL expect Krug to be able to command upwards of $8-10 million per season on the open market. Jacob Trouba, 25, who has just one 50-point season under his belt, avoided arbitration with the New York Rangers Friday and signed a seven-year contract with an $8 million AAV.
That can only increase Krug’s value.
Three days after Krug expressed his desire to stay in Boston in June, GM Don Sweeney was asked if the Krug situation and the need to re-sign Carlo and McAvoy would force him to consider trading Krug.
“We’ll have an opportunity starting July 1 to open up talks,” Sweeney said. “Again, the RFA market and some of our internal things will dictate the timing of those conversations. If somebody blew us away – every player has to be looked at in that way when you’re an organization, you just have to, you’re doing a disservice if you don’t.”
“But it would take a pretty unique opportunity for us to part with Torey. We think he’s a big part of the fabric of our group. He’s kind of that next wave of leadership that we talk about, in behind some of the guys that have carried that mantle for a long time.”
For now, it appears Sweeney is still trying to not only lock up Carlo and McAvoy but also extending Krug. Signing Krug would not only prevent him from reaching free agency next July but also avoid a potential distraction throughout the upcoming season.
With the Bruins falling one game short of the Stanley Cup and their core intact, Sweeney may be willing to roll the dice and go for it again. Either way, Krug’s name seems to have died down on the trade front.
Krug notched 47 assists and 53 points in just 62 games this season after amassing 51 and 59 points respectively in 157 regular-season games over the previous two seasons. Krug also had 16 helpers and 18 points in 24 playoff games during the Bruins’ recent run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Livonia, Michigan native and former Michigan State standout who signed with the Bruins as a college free agent in March 2012, has become the Bruins powerplay quarterback since then with 132 powerplay points in 462 games played. Krug also has 27 powerplay points in 62 playoff games. This past season, Krug past former Bruins and Marshfield, MA native Mike O’Connell for the most points by a US-born Bruins player. He enters this season with 288 points as a Bruin.