Back in March Bruins defenseman Torey Krug signed a one year deal for $3.4 million. When that contract expires at the end of the upcoming 2015-2016 season he will again be a Restricted Free Agent, so one would think the Bruins have the leverage. But Krug is going to get paid. With the threat of an offer-sheet from another team a possibility, how much he gets paid and by who is the real question. The Bruins really need to think long and hard about paying him.
Torey Krug is a good player and he is an important part of the Bruins. He is able to jump up in the play to create an odd man rush and he is great on the power play. But is he ultimately worth $5 million a year? The problem is there are not a lot of comparable players to figure how much he might get paid.
The closest comparison to Krug is probably Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie. Barrie has been in the NHL full time for two years. So has Krug. Barrie is 5’10” and 190lbs. Krug is 5’9″ and 180lbs. They are both 24 years old. In 2013-2014 Barrie had 13 goals, 25 assists for 38 points in 64 games. In the same year Krug had 14 goals, 26 assists for 40 points in 79 games. After the 2013-2014 season Barrie signed a 2 year, $5.2 million (2.6 per season) contract. Krug signed for 1 year and $1.4 million. Then in the 2014-2015 season Barrie put up 12 goals, 41 assists in 80 games. Krug put up 12 goals, 27 assists for 39 points in 78 games. For the upcoming season Krug is playing for $3.4 million and Barrie is playing for $2.6. They will both be Restricted Free Agents after the season.
This will be interesting to watch to see what each player signs for. I would have to assume who ever signs first will make the negotiation for the other player and team easy. I hope the Bruins show patience and wait until the end of the season to sign Krug if that is what they are going to do. The Bruins have a bunch of young defensemen in the system waiting for their chance and if one or two of them develop into a more complete player would the Bruins be willing to let Krug go? I think Krug would have good trade value if that is the route the Bruins went.
Most Bruins fans assume they are going to either sign or trade for a top 4 defenseman sooner than later. If and when that happens the Bruins could have 10 NHL able defensemen, so something will have to give at some point. In the salary cap world it would put the Bruins in a tough position in the 2016-2017 season and beyond if Krug is making $4 – $5 million and Adam McQuaid is making $2.75. Potentially the third pairing on defense could combine to make $6.75 million to $7.75 million. That seems like a lot of money tied up to guys that could be replaced by a younger player making under a million dollars a year.
Maybe Torey Krug develops into that coveted top 4 defenseman. Last year he averaged 19:36 minutes of ice time per game so he is trending that way. Do not get me wrong, he can be a dynamic player. But I am just not sure he is eventually a top 4 defenseman. I like Krug and it seems he likes being a Bruin but it still could be a risky move to sign him to a big money contract if he is going to just be a power play specialist.