The Boston Bruins would be wise to sign defenseman Torey Krug to a long-term contract extension before he can hit NHL free agency next summer, but there's a pair of younger blueliners who need to be taken care of first.
Bruins defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo both are still restricted free agents with training camps set to begin later this month.
McAvoy is the team's best all-around defenseman and projects to be a top-pairing player for many years. Carlo enjoyed a strong 2018-19 season and Stanley Cup playoff run, while establishing himself as a solid second-pairing defenseman.
Krug also is a very important player on the Bruins' blue line, and his scoring, toughness and leadership have helped make him a fan favorite in Boston for most of his career. Krug told reporters Thursday that while he would like to stay in Boston, there hasn't yet been any contract talks with the Bruins.
Defeseman Torey Krug, a UFA in 2021, says there has been no contract talks with the Bruins. He wishes they were talking, but he says he doesn't feel disrespected. He says he understands the Bruins have more pressing concerns with RFAs Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy.— Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) September 5, 2019
Krug also mentioned the possibility of taking a hometown discount to remain with the B's.
"Would I take less to stay in Boston? It's something that I've talked about with my family and my agent. It's something I'm interested in," Krug said, per ESPN's Emily Kaplan. "How much less -- that's a question that will be answered at a certain time. I think something that's fair will be able to be worked out both ways. As long as they want me, I think something could be done, realistically. Everyone does it. How much they do it, is kind of their own opinion and (dependent) on their own circumstances."
Krug has a salary cap hit of $5.25 million as he enters the final year of his contract. He's poised for a big raise, too, judging by his scoring numbers.
The 28-year-old tallied 53 points (six goals, 47 assists) in just 64 games last season. He posted a career-high 59 points during the 2017-18 campaign. Krug has produced three consecutive 50-plus point seasons for the Bruins, and he's the only Boston defenseman to hit that scoring mark since Zdeno Chara did it in 2011-12.
Krug's skill set is ideal for the modern NHL, and he should still have several prime years remaining. It would behoove the Bruins to work out some kind of extension with Krug before next summer, but they do have plenty of time until he reaches free agency. The contract Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis signed in 2018 (eight years, $50 million) is a good comparable for Krug and the Bruins to look at in negotiations.
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