By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Torey Krug is entering free agency at a very unique and unpredictable time. With revenues plummeting due to the coronavirus pandemic, the future of the NHL salary cap is a bit murkier than it’s ever been.
With that being the case, might the 29-year-old be willing to take a one-year deal to potentially cash in when there’s a bit more clarity next year?
The answer is a resounding no.
“I’m very opposed to that,” Krug said Thursday in a Zoom chat with Bruins reporters. “I’ve bet on myself and I’ve taken shorter-term deals and less amount of money my whole career now. So this is my time, in terms of my value at its peak, and I have the ability, and I’m in a position now where I need to make the most of it. So I’m very opposed to something like that. I’ve done it long enough now and that’s the situation I’m facing.”
Krug has expressed a desire to remain with the Bruins for some time, and he reiterated that stance on Thursday. However, the lack of a deal and the lack of substantive contract discussions this season, Krug said he’s prepared to explore free agency when it officially begins after the postseason. He also said he understands that he can’t let the emotions stemming from that lack of a deal impact his decision-making.
“I’ve spent my whole adult life, my whole professional career here in this organization and city, and I’ve done seemingly everything that they’ve asked of me. And I’m proud of that. I’ve put all my energy into helping this team win games and win championships,” Krug said. “I’m a big believer that there’s a journey for all of us, and whether it’s here or somewhere else, I’m not too worried about it or anxious about it.
“But yeah, there’s an emotional attachment,” Krug continued. “I think that’s a mistake that a lot of athletes get caught up in when they start their professional careers. There’s nothing personal about it. It’s business on both ends. Teams have to put the best team forward, spending certain amounts of money. And athletes have one shot at making all their money in their career. Whether you play one, two, three years in the league, up to 10, 15 years, you have one shot to do it all. So I realize that and it is what it is, but there definitely is an emotional attachment. There’s no secret. I’ve been very outspoken about it and my teammates know it. Everyone knows it. It’s part of the business. It stinks. But we’ll see what happens moving forward.”
Krug, 29, played in 61 games during the regular season in 2019-20, scoring nine goals with 40 assists. The year prior, he set a career high with 47 assists, after recording 45, 43, and 40 assists in the previous three years.
In the Toronto bubble, Krug played in all 13 games without scoring a goal, though he did record six assists.
In his career, he has 67 goals and 270 assists with a plus-23 rating in 523 regular-season games. In 75 playoff games, he has 11 goals, 41 assists and a minus-4 rating.
Krug said that while he understands that leaving Boston is a very real possibility, he has not yet spent any energy envisioning himself in another uniform working for another team.
“I gotta be honest, I haven’t thought about any other team or any other situation,” Krug said. “It’s been, I was very truthful and honest with you guys when I told you I wasn’t think about it during the season. I invested all my time in what’s going on with the Bruins, and I was very hopeful that it would result in ending up back with the Bruins. So I haven’t though about any other team or any other situation to date. Likely as we approach free agency, I’ll probably have to do that. But I haven’t thought about anything. I’m very proud of what we’ve done here in Boston over the years, and being part of that core group, guys have come and gone, and I’ve managed to stay for eight years now. I’m very happy that I was part of it. So hopefully it continues and hopefully I still am.”
Krug reiterated that his comfort level in Boston — with his role, with his coach, with his teammates — is an important factor to consider. Yet he also noted that such situations don’t stay the same forever.
“If you don’t consider [fit] then I think you’re foolish,” Krug said. “But for me it’s very important. I think you can make all the money in the world and have all the security in the world, but if you’re not comfortable in a situation and you’re not happy, then every day is going to be tough and tough to get up and excited to show up to work and give it all. So for me it’s very important. I think it’s very tough to kind of forecast two, three, four years down the line and try to understand what that fit will feel like then. Because players move on, coaches move on. Those are just come of the things that you have to consider. But it’s a big part of the decision.”