By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Facing an uncertain future with the NHL season on hold and his contract expiring, Torey Krug hopes he hasn't played his last game with the Boston Bruins.
The good news for Krug is that neither does Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.
"I dearly hope Torey hasn't played his last game this year or going forward," Sweeney said during a Friday video conference with the media. "He's been a big part of any success we've had as an organization. He's a special player both on and off the ice. He means a lot in the locker room and I think everybody could acknowledge his importance on the ice and his importance to our team."
It's not as easy as that though, as both sides know, with the Bruins trying to navigate a presently-foggy salary cap world while Krug looks to maximize his value on the final big-time payday of his career.
The biggest problem for the Bruins will likely come with an expected dip from the league's original 2020-21 cap projections from their pre-COVID-19 meetings in Florida, which indicated that the cap would rise from $81.5 million to somewhere between $84 to $88 million. For a team like the Bruins, that would've been just plain massive. But with the regular season in doubt (along with the entire season for that matter), that lost revenue will come back to bite just about everybody.
"In a cap world, we have to try and fit the pieces together," Sweeney acknowledged. "We’ve had very, very good discussions with Torey’s group, but we just haven’t found the landing spot, “And that’s understandable given the circumstances of where the cap being, and his value both to us but also in a potential open-market situation."
In other words, the Bruins know that Krug is due for a massive raise from his current $5.25 million cap hit, which has turned out to be a gigantic bargain for a Black and Gold that's been powered by one of the league's best power-play units over that stretch, and they're not quite sure if it can done right now.
If the cap increases to that $84 million 'minimum' for 2020-21 as a result of the expected losses, the Bruins will enter the summer with just under $23 million in projected cap space to re-sign Torey Krug. But Krug is not the only important piece of Boston's puzzle in line for a new deal, as the team also has to make decisions on players such as fellow unrestricted free agents Zdeno Chara, Jaroslav Halak and restricted free agents Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, and Matt Grzelcyk.
The NHL paused with the Bruins atop the NHL with 100 points in 70 games, but also with Krug in the midst of another strong season as one of the game's top producers from the backend, with nine goals and 49 points in 61 games.
In fact, Krug's 212 points since the start of the 2016 season are the sixth-most among all NHL defensemen over that span.