Countdown to camp: Torey Krug
Countdown to camp
From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2017-18 Bruins. Today: Torey Krug.
Torey Krug continues to get better with each passing season, and last year was his best after setting career-highs with ice time (21:36) and points (51 points) among other things. The diminutive D-man has become an offensive spark plug on the ice capable of moving pucks and piling up points. He’s also become a key player in the dressing room that bridges the gap between the young players and the established veterans still left over from the Cup years. In short, the 26-year-old Krug is an extremely valuable core member of the Bruins and a player that should just be entering the best years of his career.
What Happened Last Year
Krug missed a good portion of last summer’s training program to rehab from shoulder surgery, and it played out into a slow start for the puck-moving D-man. Krug eventually turned that into a career-high 51 points in 81 games played that saw him develop into a top-4 defenseman while continuing to shine on the power play. Unfortunately for both Krug and the Bruins, the key defenseman hurt his knee just prior to the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs and missed the entire six-game series against the Ottawa Senators. Krug’s absence was felt even if rookie Charlie McAvoy was able to step in and perform for the Black and Gold, and perhaps showed one and all just how valuable a player he is. While his minus-10 rating makes it clear that Krug still has challenges in the D-zone, the undrafted D-man put up some truly lofty offensive numbers in a league where speed and transition are key to NHL success.
Questions To Be Answered This Season
While the 5-foot-9, 186-pound Krug topped 20 minutes of ice time per game last season and formed a second pairing with Adam McQuaid that was good enough to get the Bruins into the playoffs, there are still some lingering questions about the 26-year-old D-man. Is he better served as a top-4 D-man that will have to battle against top offensive players in the D-zone, or is he best off as a third pairing/power play defenseman that is slotted into the best possible defensive matchups? Can the Bruins live with some of the defensive mismatches that will inevitably happen when Krug is busy defensive in his own zone? It’s probably no coincidence that Krug’s heaviest usage seasons in the NHL have ended with A) shoulder surgery and B) a knee injury that knocked him out of the playoff picture. It’s also fair to wonder if placing him in as many offensive situations as possible is the best position for Krug to succeed in. The bottom line is this with Krug: He’s going to do whatever the Bruins ask him to do, and he’s going to do it with everything he’s got. When you look at the offensive numbers he’s put up in Boston, that’s quite a bit.
In Their Words
“That’s the kind of stuff guys like that to talk about headed into the season…who they’re going to play with and what they’re responsibilities are going to be. From an individual standpoint it’s always about trying to take another step. I thought last year I gained more trust from the coaching staff and I’m not going to take a step back this year. It’s going to be a very similar role for myself and getting some help moving some pucks on the back end. That will always help me out. I’m looking forward to it.” – Torey Krug, on his role with the team last season and what he envisions moving forward.
Regardless of what role he plays in, Krug should be able to post a very similar year to last season and finish in the neighborhood of 10 goals and 50 points while generating offense and plays on the man advantage. The fact he’s coming off a completely healthy summer with full workouts geared toward the season only ups the ante for what Krug can accomplish this year. The only area where he certainly wants to improve is in the plus/minus category, but that’s going to be a difficult task if he’s again given top-4 responsibilities. It remains to be seen if Krug winds up in a possible third pairing role with Adam McQuaid, or if he also gets a look as the left side partner for Charlie McAvoy in what could be an offensively explosive combination either 5-on-5 or on the power play. Either way, it should be a strong season for a player like Krug that is tailored for Bruce Cassidy’s system based on offensive aggressiveness, playmaking and creative play with the puck.