I don’t buy the “Torey Krug to Detroit” narrative. I simply believe that there will be better “fits” for the 29-year-old defenseman than a rebuilding Red Wings team. I sure as hell don’t believe that Krug would be willing to give any sort of “hometown discount” to a team that’s at least a couple years’ worth of high draft picks and lucky breaks in both free agency and player development away from playoff contention.
I understand that sentimentality is big in hockey, but the only small defenseman who’s headed back to Detroit was Brian Rafalski, and he joined a Red Wings team that was gunning for a Stanley Cup.
All of that being said, the hockey world seems to believe that the Krug-to-Detroit storyline is an inevitability only matched by death and taxes, and Krug’s end-of-season comments to the Boston media were definitely intriguing. The well-spoken Krug readily admitted that he’s probably not coming back to Boston because he wants to maximize his earning power on a long-term, big-money contract, and, perhaps to the disdain of Wings fans, Krug pointed out that he was the longest-tenured Boston athlete without a sports championship ring.
This morning, in his “Quick Shifts,” Sportsnet’s Luke Fox wonders aloud what the salary cap-strapped Bruins will do to their roster to remain championship-viable for a couple of years to come, despite an aging core, and Fox brings up the inevitable angle in the process:
The easy connection is to peg Torey Krug, a Michigan native, to rebuilding Detroit. GM Steve Yzerman has committed a grand total of $3.875 million to his blue line for 2020-21 and beyond. Essentially he’s constructing a back end from scratch.
One could do a lot worse than bringing in a feisty 29-year-old with 75 games of post-season experience as a pillar.
At his virtual locker cleanout, Krug used the word very twice to describe how little contract discussions have occurred between his agent, Lewis Gross, and Bruins GM Don Sweeney. As ever, though, Krug maintained his desire to remain a Bruin.
But there will be no discounts on term here. Krug made like Myles Turner swatting away the notion of a one-year COVID contract.
“I’m very opposed to that. I’ve bet on myself, and I’ve taken shorter term deals and less amount of money my whole career now,” Krug said. “This is my time in terms of my value at its peak, and I have the ability and I’m in a position now where I need to make the most of it. I’m very opposed to something like that. I’ve done it long enough now. That’s the situation I’m facing.”
Krug has a young family and wants a handle on his future sooner than later. If Sweeney can’t accommodate the defenceman’s long-term request, we wonder if Krug’s negotiating rights get dealt early. That would give a prospective acquiring team the option of spreading his hefty cap hit over eight years.
Fox continues at length (I always read his Saturday “Quick Shifts”), and, despite the fact that Krug will almost certainly test the free agent marketplace whenever the free agent period begins later this fall, I think that Fox makes a wise point:
The Bruins probably know that Krug is gone, and it would make sense to maximize his value by snagging a draft pick in exchange for affording a team with more cap space an exclusive negotiating window in which they could attempt to wine and dine Krug. That’s damn important given that the wining-and-dining period no longer exists for unrestricted free agents-to-be under the new CBA.
If the Red Wings really want to sign Krug, they may have to surrender a mid-to-second-round draft pick in order to acquire his rights…And the Wings do have the draft picks necessary to make that scenario happen.