With his latest salary cap magician act completed, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has now shifted his focus to what would be one heck of an encore: Signing Bruins defenseman and powerplay quarterback Torey Krug to an extension.
Krug is set to become an unrestricted free agent next July 1. Krug has been very open with the media when it comes to his current situation, telling reporters he’s willing to take less money but that there have been no discussions with Sweeney thus far. During the press conference announcing Brandon Carlo’s new two-year, $5.7 contract, Sweeney was asked if a Krug extension is next on the list?
“Everybody has their place on our hockey club. Torey is an important part of our hockey club,” Sweeney replied. “We have some forecasting to do. We have some conversations that have to take place and they will. I have indicated to each of our players that we will have those [contract discussions]. Once I have the ability to forecast a little more accurately then I will have those conversations accordingly.”
Krug, has had three straight seasons with 40 or more assists and 50 or more points, and had his best playoff yet in 2019 – with two goals and 16 assists. He improved his all-around game during the Bruins’ run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, He would likely be in for a hefty pay raise on the $5.2 million cap hit he carries now if he were to hit the open market next summer. While Krug has made sure to mention his value when speaking to the media and admitted he was surprised no conversations with the Bruins have taken place, he was more than respectful of Sweeney’s predicament as he tried to sign Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, whom he locked up Sunday for three years and a $4.9 million annual cap hit.
“Maybe a little surprised nothing has been talked about, but I realize that our team is in a different situation,” Krug said last week. “I understand that we have two guys that need to be signed and that can have big effects on our cap situation moving forward and our boss has to deal with that. Of course, I wish there was dialogue and I wish there was some sort of call or something like that, but it’s just nonexistent.”
That could change now with Carlo and McAvoy signed, but Krug won’t be the only expiring contract Sweeney must deal with. In addition to Krug, forwards Charlie Coyle and Joakim Nordstrom, defensemen Kevan Miller and Zdeno Chara, and goalie Jaro Halak can all become UFA’s next July. Meanwhile, forwards Jake DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie, and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk can become restricted free agents.
So as Sweeney said, he has plenty of forecasting to do and part of that is not simply addressing these potential UFA’s and RFA’s but also the depth he has below them and if younger players will ready to fill their spots should cap space and their play dictate.
“We’ve got simultaneous things going on. There’s no prioritization from the standpoint of one player being in front of the other player. It’s just communicating that you have to make those decisions, maybe sometimes they are financially and maybe sometimes it’s based on who is actually coming along to replace those players if they decide to leave,” Sweeney said. “We have players that left our organization this year because they had other opportunities. We understood that well and it may happen again. But it won’t be for the Bruins underappreciating what they do for our hockey club. I’ll attack each and every one of them. When they finalize either here or somewhere else? That’s to be determined. But we have to do it with every one of them.”