Don Sweeney

Torey Krug 'excited' that talks have begun on an extension with the Bruins

Torey Krug 'excited' that talks have begun on an extension with the Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – Torey Krug at Bruins Media Day on Tuesday said that his mind was at ease after the Bruins had initiated talks with his camp for a contract extension beyond this season.

The 28-year-old Krug is entering the final year of his contract with the Bruins after posting three straight 50-point seasons and garnered Conn Smythe consideration last spring on Boston’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. Krug had voiced some trepidation after not hearing from the Bruins this summer while they worked out contract extensions with Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, but sounded a bit more relaxed after contract negotiations had commenced.

“It’s exciting. Now that we’re in the regular season I don’t want to talk too much about it just out of respect for my teammates and the process,” said Krug, who posted 53 points in just 64 games last season and enters a season totally healthy for the first time in a long time. “But it’s obviously exciting when you’re talking about where you could be for the future while taking care of the present obviously. That’s the most important thing. But it’s an exciting time and hopefully things work out.”

Don Sweeney, for his part, said he’s not going to get into details on extensions for either Krug or Charlie Coyle, and instead prefers to work behind the scenes while trying to get a deal done. It will be a much less private process if both Krug and Coyle get beyond this season unsigned with unrestricted free agency on July 1 waiting for both players, but for now, the Bruins GM can work stealthily behind the scenes.

“The [contract negotiations] are all ongoing. As I’ve been previously saying that you will not hear through us where those deals are at, and that’s really out of respect for every deal that you negotiate. I understand it makes your guys’ job that much harder, and you do a hell of a job predicting where those are all supposed to go; Joe [Haggerty], I read yours this morning,” said Don Sweeney. “Those influences are not brought in to our discussions. We have discussions that need to take place, and the other side will hopefully respect that as well.

“We are in discussions with the players we’ve discussed, because they are a part of our group right now and a very important part of our group. If things work out and we find that common ground, they probably will be for a long time.”

What exactly is Krug looking at for his next contract after making a bargain $5.25 million per season on his last deal?

The seven-year, $53 million contract for Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon is undoubtedly a comparable, and something Krug could easily get on the open market based on the elite offensive numbers he’s produced over the last three seasons while playing a top-4 role for a playoff team in Boston.

Krug has also voiced the willingness to take something of a hometown discount to remain in Boston where he’s comfortable, so you might even be able to shave $4-5 million off his contract were he to re-up with the Black and Gold. With dead money and contracts for players like Zdeno Chara, and possibly even David Backes, coming off the books following this season, there will clearly be money there to sign some combination of Krug, Coyle and RFA Jake DeBrusk for next year and beyond.

Now it just remains to be seen how things are going to play out in contract talks between players and team. But at least things have gotten started with a key player in Krug that the B’s want to have an uncluttered mind to start the season.

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Don Sweeney admits infamous 2015 NHL Draft weekend 'was a steep learning curve'

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Don Sweeney admits infamous 2015 NHL Draft weekend 'was a steep learning curve'

BRIGHTON – Perhaps it’s because the Bruins made it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season, or perhaps time simply has mellowed any raw feelings over the four-plus years that have passed since then.

But Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was about as forthright as he’s ever been on the very first NHL draft weekend he ran as GM of the Black and Gold, and the “steep learning curve” that took place when things didn’t go off without a hitch for Boston.

“It was a steep learning curve that weekend for us for an absolute certainty. We did put forth a plan as to what we were going to try to accomplish as an organization,” said Sweeney. “We have accomplished some of those things, we haven’t accomplished the ultimate goal and that’s really what it’s all about. You are proud, as I’ve referenced our team last year and the growth of each individual player is part of that and what they contribute. And other players who come along are a part of that will contribute as well.

“I don’t look at it in one myopic time event, I look at the big package every day and try and get better at the decisions that we have to make. And people who are part of our staff at that time, we’ve learned and grown from that and are hopefully making better decisions going forward. Hopefully the club reflects that and the success we’ve had reflects that.”

A draft pool stocked with talent produced some very good players for the Bruins, of course, as second-line left winger Jake DeBrusk and shutdown defenseman Brandon Carlo are both products of that draft.

Carlo was the very reason why Sweeney was asked about as he signed a two-year deal worth $2.85 million per season as a second-round pick that went very right for the B's. But there were also some big misses as their biggest goal from that weekend was to trade up in the first round and get a young franchise defenseman with Noah Hanifin and Zach Werenski as their biggest targets.

Instead, the Bruins traded Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton to amass six selections in the first two rounds of that draft, and then were left with three consecutive selections in the middle of the first round when they failed to trade up. Obviously they took care of that defenseman need a year later when they drafted Charlie McAvoy around the very same part of the first round, but in hindsight, they missed badly in the first round.

They obviously hit with a solid player in DeBrusk, who scored 27 goals in his second NHL season last year. But barring a big turnaround for both players, they missed with the other two first-round picks in Jakub Zboril and Zach Senyshyn. When one considers that Mat Barzal, Kyle Connor and Thomas Chabot were taken with the next three picks in the first round, the Bruins missed badly with both of those players given the comparable talent available.

Connor could have been the top-6 winger they’ve been missing the last couple of seasons, and the dazzling Barzal certainly would be the heir apparent in the middle to aging top-6 centers David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron.

Later in the first round Brock Boeser and Travis Konecny, and in the second round Sebastian Aho, were selected as well, further adding to the missed opportunities for the Bruins. They’ve rebounded to further replenish their prospect pool in subsequent drafts and obviously the future is bright for a team with a talented roster coming off three straight playoff appearances and a Stanley Cup Final run last season.

Clearly Sweeney has done enough to make everybody forget the 2015 draft whether it’s signing guys like Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak to team-friendly deals, or learning his lessons well enough from some of the early missteps to be named the 2019 NHL General Manager of the Year.

So it’s clearly not all bad, but it still stings for many around the organization when they think about what happened at draft weekend four years ago.

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Don Sweeney says Brandon Carlo is 'really important' to Bruins' success

Don Sweeney says Brandon Carlo is 'really important' to Bruins' success

Brandon Carlo is a huge part of the Boston Bruins' success, and general manager Don Sweeney couldn't express that enough Tuesday.

Carlo signed a two-year contract with the Bruins on Tuesday morning worth $2.85 million per season and Sweeney said he couldn't have been happier. 

"It's a really, really important day for us. [Brandon is a] big, big part of our club," said Sweeney according to BostonBruins.com's Eric Russo. "As I referenced with Charlie the other day, really important [pieces] of what we accomplished last year, what we hope to accomplish this year, and many, many years going forward."

He added: "Brandon is going to be a part of the Boston Bruins and I indicated that while we were going through negotiations, to him and to everybody else. I'm very excited to have him back in the fold."

At just 22, Carlo is maturing into one of the best young defensive-defensemen in the NHL, and naturally, Sweeney recognizes that. 

"I said this to Brandon this morning - from a leadership standpoint, he's able to now feel comfortable in his own skin to take the next young player and realize this is how we do things," said Sweeney. "And I think he wants that. So, for me, I don't think you can put a ceiling on what he's capable of doing."

Carlo has managed to flourish paired alongside Torey Krug and develop specific skills in order to benefit the Bruins.

"But he also has to live to his own ideals of what he does really well," Sweeney said. "And obviously, shutting down and taking responsibility to end games, to close out games, to protect teammates, to block shots, to do the things that other players might not be willing to do, he does really well."

Carlo will have a lot more responsibility on his shoulders come the start of the regular season, but he should be able to handle it just fine as he's improved each season since joining Boston in 2016.

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