By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Speaking in a "Season Ticket Holder Town Hall" video chat on Tuesday, Bruins defenseman Torey Krug once again hammered home his most consistent point in a contract year: He's not ready for his run in Boston to come to an end.
And he has the dog to prove it.
"I've said all along, I want to be part of this group and part of this locker room and part of this city," Krug said. "It's become home for us. We love it. You heard Fenway bark earlier. We named our dog Fenway. How much more Boston can it get?"
The 5-foot-9 puckmover has really said it all to this point. He's talked about a potential hometown discount, and though Krug opted not to discuss the status of his negotiations while the Bruins were playing, he's been clear that this is where he wants to be. Speaking with the media shortly into the pandemic, Krug outright said that he hoped he had not played his last game with the Bruins. A sentiment shared by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, mind you.
But that hasn't helped the sides gets closer to a new deal -- or even talk about a new deal -- since the league's pause.
"There hasn't been any discussion," Krug offered. "I'm just prepared for that because of the unknown. No one knows what the financial implications are gonna be for this league and each individual team for years to come. That's still being sorted out. I didn't anticipate anything like that coming out of it."
As Krug alluded to, this pandemic has really put the league in a rough spot, as nobody's quite sure where the 2020-21 salary cap upper limit will land. It was at one point projected to rise by at least $2.5 million from its 2019-20 ceiling, and could've gone as high as over $88 million, which would've been a nearly $7 million jump upwards. But postponed regular-season games (probably at least half of which will be straight-up canceled) and an uncertain postseason situation have certainly resulted in losses, and there is the distinct possibility that the NHL is dealing with a 'flat' cap for 2020-21.
That, as of right now, would leave the Bruins with just over $20 million to hammer out new deals for Krug, captain Zdeno Chara, and backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk also headline the B's list of restricted free agents, too, making this an awfully difficult offseason to forecast based on the B's long-term contract outlook.
Especially when you talk about fitting in a defenseman who, while productive (and at an undeniably elite level as one of the game's premier power-play quarterbacks), will turn 30 by the start of the 2021 postseason.
This was something that was all 'out of sight, out of mind' for Krug, whose 49 points in 61 games ranked him eighth among NHL defensemen in points when the league went on its indefinite pause, during the season. But with a whole lot of sitting around on the agenda, Krug noted that the thoughts of his uncertain future have crept in more than he would like.
"I never thought about it during the season and while we were playing, [but] now that you have a second to sit back you have time to think, your mind wanders and I think it's just someone upstairs testing our patience a little bit," admitted Krug. "We always assumed that we would have some kind of answer by July 1 and who knows if we will by then with regards to this season and how it plays out. We're just trying to live in the present and enjoy what we have right now. Hopefully we get a chance to finish the season."
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Krug has spent his entire pro career with the Bruins, tallying 67 goals and 337 points in 523 games with the Bruins. The Michigan-born defender is also the highest-scoring American in team history.