By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
In an interview with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan in the piece that ran on the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports website on Thursday, the Bruins Torey Krug spoke about his lack of contract extension talks with the team just days before training camp is set to begin in the club’s swank Warrior Arena in Brighton.
The 28-year-old defenseman whose contract expires at the end of the season is perhaps the best powerplay quarterback in the league – who recorded 30 of his 53 points in the regular season on the man advantage and 12 of his 16 in the playoffs during the B’s failed Stanley Cup run last spring – is a huge question mark when it comes to general manager Don Sweeney’s club going forward.
As he told Kaplan, Krug has been as interested in the rumors surrounding him as the hockey fans of Boston have been since the St. Louis Blues skated around TD Garden with the hardest trophy to win in professional sports following the Game 7 defeat in the house that Delaware North built.
“Especially being in my contract situation, I want to see what rumors are out there,” Krug says. “So I’ll search frequently,” writes Kaplan.
Regarding the diminutive D-man’s desire to remain with the Bruins and the possibility of taking a Tom Brady-esque home town discount, the undrafted Michigan State product gave his best politically correct response.
“I love the situation I’m in,” Krug says. “I’m pretty sure my teammates would love me to come back. My coach [Bruce Cassidy] I know for a fact loves the way I play. This last playoffs was big for me and my development and my growth. I feel like I’m just hitting my prime.”
And while there is no denying the contribution that Krug made to Cassidy’s club during both the regular season and their ultimately failed run to the Final, the real question is can they afford to keep the offensive specialist who has never been known for his play in his own end?
Even more puzzling is why Sweeney and the Bruins brass hasn’t reached out to the player and his agent based on the salary cap crunch that is currently keeping them from coming to terms with restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo at any point this summer?
It is hard to find anyone that would argue that McAvoy and Carlo are the B’s future on the backend for the foreseeable future. Couple the amount that both will likely land – a combined $10 to $11 million a year is probably on the conservative side – it seems rather foolhardy that Sweeney hasn’t at least established initial talks to gauge what Krug and his camp will be looking to command next summer.
As Kaplan details in her post, Krug may be open to taking a bit less to stay in Boston, but not if he’s going to be greatly underpaid based on the potential market that may emerge for him come next July 1st if he hits free agency.
“Would I take less to stay in Boston?” Krug says. “It’s something that I’ve talked about with my family and my agent. It’s something I’m interested in. How much less — that’s a question that will be answered at a certain time. I think something that’s fair will be able to be worked out both ways. As long as they want me, I think something could be done, realistically. Everyone does it. How much they do it, is kind of their own opinion and [dependent] on their own circumstances.”
While that might excite some Bruins fans, he also says the “Marchy [Brad Marchand] is way too low, because he signed one year too early,” and David Pastrnak’s team-friendly deal that he attributes to “Pasta had no [arbitration] rights, so he had to take a little bit less out of pure nature,” when it comes to his self-perceived value.
In all, the lack of conversation with Krug is puzzling. If Sweeney really wants to sign him to an extension along with McAvoy and Carlo, why haven’t there been talks about parameters of a deal with camp less just a week away?
Whether or not these questions get answered before Cassidy’s crew takes the ice together for the first time as a group this season is anyone’s guess. Why they went unaddressed – at least when it comes to Krug – to this point, is a headscratcher in itself.