The Boston Bruins’ season, like everyone’s else campaign, has been put on hold. The Bruins were poised to win the Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular-season team. Their momentum was halted. Now, the Bruins have to look at the possibility of the season being cancelled completely. With these implications, the future of Torey Krug might be interesting. There is a long history of painful departure of the Bruins’ favourites because of the salary cap.
Torey Krug: Another Boston Bruins’ Painful Exit?
A month ago, everything looked sharp for the Bruins. There were reports of the salary cap going up by at least $3 million. Boston managed to shed 75% of David Backes‘ salary while sending him to the Anaheim Ducks for Ondrej Kase (the Bruins’ first-round pick included). Suddenly, the Bruins gained a lot of salary-cap space for the 2020 offseason.
Backes’ departure still lives on, that one hasn’t come back, of course. However, there is a strong possibility of the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million. For the Bruins´ attempts at re-signing Krug, that would be a tremendous step back. The Bruins would have the salary-cap space of $20.5 million to work with during the upcoming summer (if there is going to be a normal summer, at all).
With approximately $20 million to ponder around, the Bruins would have to re-sign Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, Zdeno Chara, Jaroslav Halak, Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork. Include prominent prospects like Karson Kuhlman or Zach Senyshyn to that list. Re-signing Krug by at least $7 million per season, that would intricate the situation for the Bruins, to say the least.
Torey Krug and His Impact on Boston
Exactly eight years ago, the Bruins inked Torey Krug out of college. Krug played for the University of Michigan of the NCAA. Since this moment, Krug has played in 523 regular-season games with the Bruins. The 28-year-old defenceman (celebrating his 29th birthday on Easter Sunday) scored a nice-looking total of 337 points (67 goals and 270 assists). Krug has been a force for the Bruins in the playoffs.
During his Stanley Cup playoffs premiere, Krug netted four goals in 2013. The Michigan native has 46 points in 62 playoff games. In the last two Stanley Cup playoff runs with Boston, Krug has collected 30 points in 35 games. The point-per-game ratio in the playoffs, that´s solid.
Following three straight 50-point seasons, Krug has been only one point away from reaching 50 points yet again this campaign. With 12 games to go in the suspended regular season for the Bruins, Krug would certainly and easily reach that. He would probably attack his previous career-high (59 points from the 2017-18 season). Krug has achieved a pretty influential career already with Boston. For a previously undrafted and undersized defenceman, that’s exceptional.
Story of Painful Bruins’ Departures
The Bruins management had to deal with the heavy salary-cap issues ever since the salary cap functions, one would say. Torey Krug has become a fundamental part of what the Bruins have achieved over the past few years. With his skills, growing experience, and ever-lasting productivity, the Bruins wouldn’t mourn extending him, not at all. Nevertheless, there is a straight probability this does not happen. Especially with the salary-cap remaining flat at $81.5 million after an economically challenging period for the NHL.
Besides his abilities, the Bruins fans have fallen in love with Krug. He has become a fan favourite in Boston. Last year, the Bruins couldn’t retain Noel Acciari, a Rhode Island native, who made his NHL debut in Boston. This season, Acciari has hit a 20-goal plateau for the Florida Panthers. Despite building perfect chemistry with the Bruins, especially with Charlie Coyle, the Bruins couldn´t retain Marcus Johansson either.
As a salary-cap dump move, the Bruins traded Adam McQuaid to the New York Rangers in 2018. They lost Tim Schaller or Riley Nash after career years in the free agency that season. At the same time, the Bruins dealt away talented players like Frank Vatrano or Ryan Spooner. No doubt Krug’s possible departure would be another tough pill to swallow for the Bruins fans.
Despite the possibility of Krug being priced out of Boston, there is always hope, even if the slight one. During the past few months, Boston has seen star players leaving across all sports. If Krug plays until 40 in Boston, he will reach 1000 NHL games and probably 800-900 NHL points, which is unthinkable from a defenceman. That would bring Krug to the status of one of the Bruins’ all-time best.
Losing Torey Krug in the free agency would be a loss for the Bruins. However, he deserves a salary raise. It remains to be seen whether he will see a before-mentioned raise with the Bruins organization, or elsewhere.
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