Things are quiet on the negotiating front with restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith and the Boston Bruins.
It doesn’t appear to be a bad thing on first blush given their very limited options as entry level restricted free agents.
As we’ve written about several times this summer, both Krug and Smith can’t sign offer sheets with other NHL teams, aren’t eligible for arbitration and really don’t have many options aside from working something out with the Black and Gold. As a full-fledged restricted free agent, Krug might have been in line for a three year, $10 million bridge deal similar to the contracts signed earlier this summer by Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat down in Tampa Bay.
Given the current situation and Boston’s dire salary cap situation, Krug is probably looking at something more along the lines of a one or two year deal with an average annual value in the $1.5-2.5 million range. Certainly it’s not NHL chump change, but it’s also not an eye-popping figure for a 23-year-old that posted 14 goals and 40 points as a rookie while helping breathe life into the Black and Gold power play.
He also maxed out on rookie salary bonuses last season, and made $1.7 million when it was all said and done.
Peter Chiarelli indicated to reporters earlier this summer that Krug, and Smith, might have to settle for short money next season, and then get rewarded with the bigger, better contract while performing at the same level over the next couple of years.
But perhaps there is one far-flung option for Krug, at least.
A source with knowledge of Krug’s negotiations told CSNNE.com that there’s been a sizable offer made for the defenseman’s services by an unidentified KHL team. The offer, according to the source, included a good chunk of money up front as a signing bonus.
When contacted by CSNNE.com, Krug’s agent, Lewis Gross, wouldn’t confirm, or deny, that the KHL offer existed, and instead offered an apologetic “no comment.”
The KHL offer is certainly plausible given Krug’s high profile after finishing fourth in Calder Trophy voting, and could be part of the KHL’s ongoing determination to cherry pick disgruntled NHL players for the Russian Hockey League. It also wouldn’t be unprecedented this summer as former B’s forward Vladimir Sobotka bolted St. Louis for the KHL after becoming unhappy when the Blues offered him arbitration rather than a big money multi-year deal.
It’s highly, highly unlikely Krug would eschew both the NHL and the Bruins to hop in bed with a volatile KHL outfit that hasn’t always turned out to be the greatest fit for American-born hockey players. Krug doesn't really fit the profile of NHL players that bolt for Russia.
It may be, however, the one very long shot option for Krug if negotiations don’t turn out well between his camp and the current B’s front office that has always treated their players fairly in the past when given the chance.
Otherwise Krug doesn’t hold much leverage in a contract negotiation that hasn’t really been going anywhere over the last few months.