Off-Season Targets: Torey Krug

Torey Krug

During the 2012 college signing period, Peter Chiarelli signed Michigan State defender Torey Krug to an entry-level contract after he posted 34 points in 38 games. Krug would join the Bruins immediately, playing in two games and registering an assist during the 2011-12 season.

Krug would have his coming out party during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, becoming a key player for the Bruins during their second round series against the New York Rangers. Krug has been a mainstay on Boston’s blueline ever since, but could be on the market this summer as the young Bruins look to take the next step.

Why Is He Out There?:

The Bruins have developed a number of strong young forwards, but have some holes defensively. Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy formed a strong top-pairing for the year, but their second unit struggled mightily in the playoffs. Kevan Miller was vastly over-matched in the postseason when paired with Krug.

In addition to that, the Bruins have a very similiar player to Krug in youngster Matt Grzelcyk, who is a far cheaper option and already established as a third-pairing NHL’er.

Boston is searching for a top-four, left-shot defender. If they are going to acquire that piece, they’ll need to move some money off the books and give up an asset. The left-shooting Krug is likely to be that player.

What Does He Do Well?:

Torey Krug is tailor made for today’s NHL in many ways. He’s an exceptional puck-mover and is a very dynamic player when in the offensive zone. He’s a legit powerplay QB, and can generate offense at even strength. He’s got a strong first pass, and is an underrated puck transporter as well.

He posted 14-45-59 this past season for the Bruins in 76 games, his second consecutive 50 point campaign (51 in 2016-17). Krug, as a matter of fact, has hit 40 points in four of his five seasons at the NHL-level. He’s a legit offensive producer in the NHL and a true powerplay weapon.

Possession wise, Krug posted a 54.6% Corsi For, slightly down from his career average of 54.9%. Throughout his entire career in Boston, the puck has gone in the right direction when Krug has been on the ice. When you watch him play, it’s easy to see why. When he gets the puck, he’s extremely good at getting it up ice.

Here’s a look at Krug’s scouting report via The Hockey News.

Assets: Displays good puck-moving skills and loads of offensive ability from the back end. Gets by with a lot of smarts and very good positioning. Can quarterback a power play effectively.

Flaws: Can struggle when trying to handle big National Hockey League forwards, as he is quite undersized for a blueliner and lacks some strength. Also struggles defensively, at times.

Career Potential: Excellent offensive defenseman.

Where Will He Play/Where Should He Play?:

Krug is a top-four defender in the NHL, but I believe he is more of a second-pairing option than anything. While Krug is a great offensive player, he’s very inconsistent in his own end and can be a liability at times. He’s a good player, but comes with flaws that prevent him from being a top-pairing guy.

In Edmonton, it’s quite possible that Krug would be the club’s top-pairing option. He’s not better than Oscar Klefbom, but as you’ll see in a minute the potential asking price may push Krug to the top of the depth chart.

What Will He Cost?:

The Bruins are looking for a top-four LHD, so the asking price is likely to be either Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom. Considering age, potential and cap situation, Boston would likely need to add another piece to get Klefbom/Nurse in a Krug deal.

Krug has two more seasons remaining on his contract, which pays him $5,500,000 per year. Perhaps Krug and a young forward like Danton Heinen for Klefbom or Nurse could be the premise of a deal. Personally, if it were for Nurse, I’d consider it. Klefbom is a non-starter for me.

Closing Argument:

The Oilers absolutely need a puck-moving defender who can run the powerplay. Torey Krug fits that mold and is a top-four defender to boot. Considering Chiarelli found this player out of college, it’s quite likely he sees him as a solution in Edmonton.

Of course, Krug is a left-shot and that isn’t ideal, but if the Oilers deal Klefbom or Nurse for him then there is a spot open on the depth chart for Krug.

I like Krug plenty, in fact I think he’s an underrated option. That said, I’m not giving up Klefbom for him and wouldn’t give up Nurse one-for-one because of age and contract. While Krug is a nice fit, I just don’t see how a trade works for both sides here.

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