The clock is officially ticking on Torey Krug and his contract situation with the Boston Bruins, the only team he’s played for since the Bruins signed him as an NCAA free agent out of Michigan State back in March 2012.
An NHL source confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug – who can become an unrestricted free agent on October 9 – and the team have made it known to each other that they would like to figure out Krug’s contract situation as soon as possible or in the Bruins’ case by the NHL Entry Draft at the latest. The general feeling around the league is that despite the flattened $81.5 million salary cap and uncertainty thanks to the economic impact of COVID19 is that if Krug and fellow UFA’s St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and Arizona Coyotes forward Taylor Hall reach October 6 unsigned, they will be off the board immediately.
“Listen, Don Sweeney, Torey Krug and his agent Lewis Gross know how different things are now and the offseason will be at warp speed so, yeah, word around the league is both Krug and the Bruins want to have a resolution ASAP,” the source told BHN early Wednesday evening. “What I keep hearing is that if Krug and the Bruins don’t figure it out by the draft, the Bruins will look to trade his negotiating rights.”
Reached by phone later, Krug’s agent Lewis Gross respectfully declined to comment on the current state of negotiations between his client and the Boston Bruins.
It should be noted that on Wednesday morning, TSN NHL Insider Darren Dreger reported that the Arizona Coyotes were set to make another offer to Hall. Following that report from Dreger, the Blues dealt away backup goalie Jake Allen and the one year at $4.3 million remaining on his contract, fueling speculation that they were clearing cap space in an effort to resign their captain Pietrangelo.
As of now, the Bruins do not have a first round pick (traded for Ondrej Kase this past season) or a fourth round pick (traded for Marcus Johansson last season) at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. It’s not often that teams trade away first round picks for UFA negotiating rights and unlikely Sweeney can wiggle one away in what many around the NHL believe could be the best draft since the arguably the best ever in 2003 in Nashville, but even second, third or fourth rounder in this draft could be an impact pick down the line.
Krug just finished a four-year contract with the Bruins that carried an annual cap hit of $5.2 million. Krug has had 40 or more assists in each season since signing that extension back on June 30, 2016 and had three straight seasons with 50 or points until the COVID19-shortened season he and the Bruins just finished. Krug finished with nine goals and 40 assists in the 2019-20 regular season and then added six assists in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games in the NHL bubble in Toronto. During the Boston Bruins’ run to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, Krug had 16 helpers and 18 points in 24 games.
In addition to Krug, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, defenseman Kevan Miller and forward Joakim Nordstrom can also become unrestricted free agents on October 9, while forward Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk are set to become restricted free agents.
Following the Bruins’ 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Tampa Lightning Monday night that ousted the Bruins from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the NHL bubble, Chara was non-committal about his future with the Bruins and potentially retiring.
“I haven’t made that decision,” Chara told reporters late Monday night. “I obviously just finished the game. I’ll be open-minded.”
Krug did not address the media postgame Monday but will do so Thursday morning along with Grzelcyk and forwards Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle, and Brad Marchand, as well as goalie Jaro Halak.