Scotty Bowman thinks Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug will get paid in unrestricted free agency even in this new alternate salary cap and economic alternate universe the NHL and other pro sports find themselves in thanks to the Coronavirus. Could his whole new world and a Stanley Cup lead to Krug staying in Boston?
“Everyone wants a defenseman like Torey so he will get paid but I’m just not sure of the economics right now,” Bowman told Boston Hockey Now Thursday night.
More and more it’s appeared that Krug could be on his way out of Boston this offseason but as Bowman pointed out, it will be very interesting to see if rebuilding teams with cap space actually decide to use all that cap space now after already losing so much money due to the NHL pause that saw the regular season stop on March 12.
‘If you’re one of those rebuilding teams with tons of cap space but now suddenly you just lost $20-$30 million and likely – if we don’t have fans in the stands – are about to lose more, are you now going to already behind say $50 million after signing some free agents before next season starts? You really have to weigh where you are in your rebuild. Are you really that close yet or should you wait another year to see what your losses are again?”
Only time will tell how this affects teams like the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens, both teams rumored to be interested in Krug if he hits the market on October 7 and two teams who will still have plenty of cap space under the flattened $81.5 million salary cap.
Bowman is the current Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks and after being hired back in June 2008, helped build three Stanley Cup champion teams for the Hawks. He scouted Krug before he was signed by the Boston Bruins on March 25, 2012 as an NCAA free agent signing out of Michigan State and actually personally recruited the Livonia, Michigan native, who grew up in a family full of Detroit Red Wings fans. The Blackhawks figured who better than the former Wings coach who led the Spoked Wheels to their first Stanley Cup in 42 years in 1997 and then led them to two more in 1998 and 2002!
“I remember it got down to Boston and Chicago with Krug,” Bowman recalled. “And they asked me if I would call his Dad – nice man – because he was a big Red Wings fan. I called up and I said Hi Mr. Krug, I’m Scotty Bowman and I’m with the Blackhawks now. I understand we’re one of the two teams your son is still considering and went into what I needed to say. It was a tough call for him you could tell because he loved the Wings so much but I think he and Torey really felt Boston was more established. I’ll tell ya he’s turned into a hell of a player and you can tell he wants to win.”
Note: It was then pointed out to Bowman that that was the second time Bowman had scouted a highly touted puck-moving defenseman only to watch the player end up ultimately choosing to sign with the Bruins. Bowman was the Montreal Canadiens who scouted Orr closely for the Habs before Orr, as expected, signed with the Bruins. Bowman always seems to get the last laugh though. Like he did in his current position with the Blackhawks just over a year after Krug chose Boston over Chicago, he won a Stanley Cup against the Bruins as a head coach for the Canadiens in the 1978 Stanley Cup final.
“Yeah but [Boston] got Orr!” he cracked.
Like so many, Bowman sees Krug and the Bruins as one of the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup.
“You look at the contenders too and Boston is definitely one of the favorites in the East,” he said. “I really think they come out strong right away with that veteran core, that defense and the goaltending.”
Krug already chose the Bruins once because they were Stanley Cup contenders. Would that and a COVID19-altered free agent market be enough to keep him in Black and Gold again?
When Bowman speaks, you listen! He isn’t the best head coach in NHL history for no reason. He possesses one of the greatest hockey minds to ever walk the earth and at 86 years young, the 14-time Stanley Cup champion is still sharp as a tack. That’s why when the topic of Krug’s contract came up in this extensive phone interview with Boston Hockey Now tonight (for a feature on Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy), my ears perked right up. Sure enough, he made some great points about Krug’s situation that at least this puck scribe hadn’t researched enough. So apologies for the late post but hopefully worth the read now or with your morning coffee.