By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Don Sweeney has a difficult decision in front of him with defenseman Torey Krug. With other expensive contracts coming for the Bruins, he may not have room for Krug at his possible price tag.
As detailed in an insightful new story by Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, Krug's continued production for the Bruins - especially on the power play - could set the numbers scary-high for his next contract.
It's unclear what Krug truly seeks on his next deal, and whether he's dead-set on getting it from the Bruins. But one league executive believes the B's are going to be averse to giving Krug the kind of long-term payday he may want.
"They will be scared of the term just as much as the potential money," the exec says. "My guess is he will want seven years times $6.25 [million]-ish. Absolutely will want a raise."
Right now, Krug is set to earn $5.25 million next season, the final year of his current deal. He's the highest-paid defenseman on the team, but a new deal for Charlie McAvoy would almost certainly eclipse $6.25 million annually.
With Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen also in line for potential extensions this offseason, and winger Jake DeBrusk coming up after the 2019-20 season, the Bruins may not have room for Krug at the numbers he could command. And if the B's aren't planning on keeping Krug long-term, then a trade is the next-best option.
That may be an easy decision for those who point to Krug's shortcomings. He's inevitably going to have issues defending against bigger forwards with his lack of size and his play in the defensive end will never measure up to his offensive talents. And his power play production would be harder to replace than many are willing to admit.
Krug is 16th in the NHL with 30 power play points this season and third among all defensemen, despite playing in just 63 games. That's 39 points averaged out over a full season to-date, which would put him first among all blue liners in that category and behind only Tampa's Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.
Losing him would probably mean McAvoy would take on a bigger role on the power play. The door would also open for 2017 first-round pick Urho Vaakanainen to assume a regular spot on the left side.
It's not ideal to take a marked step back on the man advantage, but dealing Krug before the end of his contract could net the Bruins a decent return for a team in need of a dynamic offensive defenseman. If they want to lock up all of their younger talents with extensions on the horizon, it may be a necessary move in the near future.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].