NHL Rumors: Big payday expected for Torey Krug, with Bruins or elsewhere

NHL Rumors: Big payday expected for Torey Krug, with Bruins or elsewhere

While Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney managed to free up some cap space at the NHL trade deadline on Monday, Torey Krug has yet to ink a contract extension with the organization.

The 28-year-old defenseman said in September that he would be willing to take a pay cut to remain with the Bruins. He likely won't agree to a massive discount, though, especially considering he's expected to be paid similarly to Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, who makes $8 million per year.

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The latest report from The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun doesn't sound too promising for Boston. According to LeBrun, NHL agents believe that Krug will sign a deal from anywhere between $7.5 and $8 million per season -- noting that Boston will not be willing to pay Krug more than stars David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron.

Here's LeBrun:

Boston won’t want to pay Krug more than Pasta ($6.66-million AAV) or Bergeron ($6.875-million AAV),’’ an agent said, according to LeBrun. “I think Krug could get $7-million AAV if goes free, maybe $7.5 million.’

"I would value him between $7.5 million to $8 million," another agent said. "Call him what he is, a consistent 50-point offensive D-man and point a game guy in playoffs.

LeBrun's prediction? Unfortunately for Boston, he believes Krug will hit the open market this summer.

Sweeney's latest update on contract negotiations with Krug also doesn't sound too promising -- noting that he has stayed in contact with Krug, but there is no timeline for a deal to be made.

Boston also needs to re-sign key free agents in Jake DeBrusk (RFA), Zdeno Chara (UFA), Jaroslav Halak (UFA) and Matt Grzelcyk (RFA), among others. So, they'd be in a very sticky salary cap situation if they were to give Krug between $7.5-8 million per year.

Top 5 things Bruins fans will miss if the rest of the regular season gets axed

Top 5 things Bruins fans will miss if the rest of the regular season gets axed

When the NHL hit the pause button on March 12, the Bruins had just 12 games remaining on their regular-season schedule. It remains to be seen what’s going to happen, but it seems as if there isn’t going to be any way to make them up if the NHL wants to host a full two months of Stanley Cup playoffs over the summer.

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Perhaps the NHL will find a way to finish off the final 12 games given the importance to salary-cap projections, but it doesn’t appear realistic. With that in mind, here are the top five things that Bruins fans will miss out on if the NHL does indeed move right to the playoffs when hockey resumes.

1)  We again won’t get to see David Pastrnak get to 50 goals.

That’s right. For the second consecutive season, it appears Pastrnak won’t get to the 50-goal mark due to forces working against him. Last season, it was his own fault as he tore ligaments in his thumb after falling down after a team-sanctioned event and then missed a large chunk of time before returning just ahead of the playoffs. 

Pastrnak was never quite the same in the playoffs likely due to the injury, but he finished the 2018-19 regular season with 38 goals in 66 games. He certainly would have reached 40 goals last season and had a chance at 50 if he’d gone through a late-season hot streak.

This season, Pastrnak was leading the NHL with 48 goals at the time of the shutdown and becoming the first Bruin since Cam Neely to hit the 50-goal mark was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

This time around, the delay is out of Pastrnak’s control in what had been a magical season. Still, it does make you wonder if the hockey gods are determined to keep Pastrnak from reaching 50 goals in a season.

2) Brad Marchand won’t reach 100 points for the second consecutive season.

It wasn’t as much of a lock as Pastrnak getting to 50 goals, but Marchand needed only 13 points in his final 12 games to get back to the century mark. Given that he was averaging over a point-per-game this season, that certainly felt like an achievable goal. 

There haven’t been many 100-point scorers in Bruins history overall, and there have been even fewer players that have done it two seasons in a row. Marchand would have been the first Bruin to accomplish the feat since Adam Oates did it from 1992-94 in back-to-back seasons.

It would have been another impressive notch on his growing resume with the Bruins. If the regular season doesn’t resume, then Marchand will have to settle for 28 goals and 87 points in 70 games.

That's still an extraordinary season for the Bruins agitator as he continues a great career in Boston. But back-to-back 100-point seasons is something not a lot of NHLers can say they accomplished.

3) Patrice Bergeron won’t get to set his career-high in goals. 

To his credit, Bergeron is never going to be a stats guy. He doesn’t care what his final numbers look like and he really never has cared for his own personal stats as long as the team is winning. 

He’s backed that up by winning Stanley Cups, Olympic gold medals, world junior titles and a World Cup. 

This season, Bergeron was also fast approaching a career-high in goals in his 16th NHL season after reaching 32 goals twice in his career, including last season. Bergeron was at 31 and was poised to blow away his prior personal best. He had two goals in four March games before the season was put on hold.

Certainly, it’s not going to break No. 37’s heart if he never gets beyond 32 goals and he still has six 30-goal seasons on his NHL resume, but it would have been fun to see how high he could have pumped the goal total.

4) Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie will miss important transition time.

One of the real disadvantages for the Bruins should they jump right into the playoffs, will be the lack of time that Kase and Ritchie had to jell with their new teammates. 

Kase, 24, had just one assist in six games since arriving in Boston after the trade with the Ducks and Ritchie, 24, was similarly just settling in after playing seven games with the B's since getting swapped for Danton Heinen in a separate deal with Anaheim. 

Kase and Ritchie had settled in as wingers on the second line with David Krejci and it appeared that the three were beginning to develop some chemistry together, but a couple of weeks’ worth of games isn’t nearly enough time to get the players ready for a postseason run.

The good news is that every team is going to be in the same boat when it comes to rust on their collective games, but the new faces are going to be forced into playing catch-up as Kase and Ritchie will be.

5)  We won’t get another regular-season Cup Final rematch in St. Louis.

The Bruins had actually already played most of their big-ticket regular-season matchups at this point in the season, but one game that may get wiped from the schedule was the April 2 Stanley Cup Final rematch in St. Louis against the Blues. 

They had already met for one game earlier in the season in Boston on Oct. 26, when Tuukka Rask pitched a 3-0 shutout in a game where the B’s played exceedingly well. But this second-to-last game of the regular season matchup had all the makings of something that could have turned a little nasty with both teams comfortably in postseason spots. 

Perhaps it will still happen if the NHL tries to shoehorn in a few regular-season games prior to holding a playoff tournament, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

Bettman wants fairness, but concedes completing NHL regular season 'may not be possible'

Bettman wants fairness, but concedes completing NHL regular season 'may not be possible'

Completing the NHL regular season "may not be possible," league commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday.

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"The best thing, and the easiest thing, would be if at some point we could complete the regular season and then go into the playoffs as we normally do," Bettman told Mike Tirico in an interview on NBC Sports Network. "We understand that that may not be possible, and that's why we're considering every conceivable alternative to deal with whatever the eventuality is. Again, it doesn't even pay to speculate because nobody in any of the sports knows enough now to make those profound decisions." 

Teams had between 11 and 14 games remaining in their regular seasons when the NHL suspended play on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Bruins, at 44-14-12 and a league-leading 100 points, had 12 games remaining.

"Our clubs if nothing else are extraordinarily competitive," Bettman said, "and whatever we do, has to be fair...but when you talk about fairness, we also have issues about if we get to play a playoff, who gets in if we can't complete the regular season. We had, I think, seven teams on the bubble and they all think they would have had a chance. We have to deal with the [draft] lottery and order of selection in the draft."

It was reported Monday that neutral-site locations, including Manchester, N.H., are being considered as possibilities to host the resumption of the NHL. 

"We're looking at all options. Nothing's been ruled in, nothing's been ruled out," Bettman said. "It's largely going to be determined ... by how much time there is, because we have next season to focus on as well and the health of the countries."

Bettman said playing into the summer is being considered "and on the NBC platforms, the fact that the Olympics have been postponed gives us a broader window to focus on when and if we can play."