It was reported yesterday by CSN New England Boston Bruins insider Joe Haggerty that Torey Krug has been offered a a “sizable contract” from an unknown team in the KHL. Krug, 23, is a restricted free agent and has not agreed to a contract extension as of yet.
Just last offseason, the Devils watched Ilya Kovalchuk walk away from his contract to join SKA Saint Petersburg after being offered a lucrative deal that would bring him back to his home country. Earlier this offseason, former Bruin Vladimir Sobotka left the Blues for Avangard Omsk of the KHL. Could Krug be next in line?
Krug finished 4th in the Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year this past season and really gave the Bruins a new look to their offense. His dynamic skating ability and shot from the point helped give the powerplay a much needed boost. He also followed his strong playoff play in 2012-13 with ten points in last year’s disappointing playoff run. Most people see Krug as one of the up-and-coming players that can help this team continue to grow for at least the next few seasons, but contract talks have been slow so far.
Going into the offseason, the Bruins had a few things on their to-do list that they wanted to accomplish. The first was to re-sign Jarome Iginla, which they failed to do. Right after that, the Bruins had to make sure they agreed to terms on their key restricted free agents, which most notably included Krug and Reilly Smith. Both remain unsigned and both will need to take a lower offer than they might want.
The Bruins have loads of money tied up in long term contracts with their core nucleus of players. This is what made it impossible for new free agents to come in this offseason and is what is stopping them from signing their young players to appropriate bridge contracts. Krug and Smith might have to take half the pay they could be getting, around $1.5-2.5 million according to Haggerty, if they want to stick around with Boston. If they sign shorter deals and continue strong play, they could sign more lucrative contract extensions a couple of years down the road.
So will Krug be heading to the KHL? It would be very surprising. The majority of NHL players that head to Europe and Russia are originally from there or are nearing the end of their NHL careers. Krug, on the other hand, is American and is just breaking through as a true talent in the NHL. He surprised everyone two years ago by dominating Henrik Lundqvist in the playoffs and was no slouch last year when he led NHL rookie defensemen with 14 goals and 40 points. Not to try and compare the two, but Krug’s numbers aren’t that far off from P.K. Subban, who scored only 10 goals and 53 points last year while posting a -4 rating. Subban just signed an eight year $72 million dollar deal, but is clearly one of the best defensemen in the NHL and the face of the Montreal Canadiens. Krug proved he can be one of the better offensive defensemen in the league, but still has some work to do on the back end.
While it is doubtful that Krug bolts the Bruins for Russia, perhaps this news will catch GM Peter Chiarelli’s attention and get him working harder to keep Krug. It would certainly be disappointing to see the Bruins aggravate one of their best young players over contract talks and hopefully Krug is able to cooperate with the front office. There isn’t much time left before the Bruins will begin their preseason activities, so look for any news involving Krug to work itself out in the next few weeks.