BROOKLYN, N.Y. – There were plenty of times in Torey Krug’s life when he was doubted as a hockey player simply because of his size.
The 5-foot-8, 186-pounder wasn’t highly recruited as a college player and wasn’t drafted by any of the then-30 NHL teams even after a standout collegiate career at Michigan State. It took a long time for USA Hockey to come calling for his services in international play after he established himself as one of the best offensive defensemen in the league after signing with the Bruins.
So it’s a noteworthy accomplishment that the 28-year-old Krug will play in his 500th NHL game on Saturday night against the New York Islanders after many doubted his durability and longevity as an undersized defenseman.
“It’s pretty special from where my career started. It seemed like a longshot, but obviously I’ve enjoyed every step along the way. A lot of good memories and hopefully memory more to come,” said Krug, who has five goals and 30 points in 37 games while averaging 20:34 of ice time as a top-4 defenseman for the B’s again this season. “There are smaller guys that have been flashes in the pan before and haven’t been able to survive the day-in, day-out toll that it takes to be an NHL player. 500 games is a big deal for sure.
“But I’ll tell you what, longevity is still a question in my career seeing how long this thing goes. I’ve enjoyed it every step of the way and all the bumps and bruises have been worth it. Hopefully, I just continue to create great memories.”
At this point, there’s no reason to believe that Krug won’t get to the gold standard for NHL players at 1,000 games after reaching halfway there in the prime of his career. Still, even to get to the 500-game mark is noteworthy for a determined player who's already proven many of the scouts and talent evaluators wrong and underestimated the heart and intelligence that Krug brings to the table every night as a key, core member of a Bruins team perennially in the playoffs.