|Regular Season Stats|
Season in the AHL
Krug spent the regular season in the AHL, save for one regular season call-up. He was not one of the Providence Bruins invited to training camp when the lockout ended, probably because he was playing like crap at the time. In fact, it was right around this time he started to pick up his game. And by "his game" I mean "his scoring".
This was Krug's first full professional season, and first in the AHL. He got off to a very rocky start as he tried to adjust to the AHL. His positioning was all over the place and he wasn't very effective in any zones. To be fair, most of the P-Bruins were poor for the first few months of the season and to be fair, his defensive partner for the most part was Garnet Exelby aka uselessness on skates.
Also to be fair, he missed several games in December (and one in November) due to a foot/ankle (let's just say "lower leg") injury, which hindered his adjustment to the AHL as well.
Anyway, Krug didn't get his first AHL goal until December 7, 2012 against the Manchester Monarchs. In 20 games played through December, Krug had only one goal and five assists and was a minus-nine. Things turned around in January, when he began a bitchin' point-scoring streak on January 25 that lasted for 10 games, until February 16 (my birthday!). In that span, he had five goals and 12 assists.
February was his strongest month, scoring four goals and eight assists. The 12 points and outstanding play earned him CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month honors for February. Krug's progression over the AHL season is broken down by month in the table below. Spoiler alert: he shattered the Providence Bruins record for points in a season by a rookie defenseman.
When Matt Bartkowksi and Krug got called up to Boston in the playoffs, Providence fell apart. They won the first two games of the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs without Bartkowski, but when Krug got called up before game three, the team seemingly never recovered. Although they won game three by a slim margin, they blew the 3-0 series lead with four straight losses. They looked like a completely different team.
People say this is a poor excuse for the P-Bruins collapse and it's giving Krug too much credit, but look at the team record and his own scoring during the regular season. Providence was the dominant team in the AHL (in the East, at least, since they don't have any inter-conference play) from the mid-January All-Star break until the end of the season. They went on unbelievable winning streaks and much of this can be attributed to fellow spectacular rookies Ryan Spooner and Niklas Svedberg, but Krug became a driving force on the Providence blueline.
We all know and love Krug now for his memorable appearance in the New York Rangers series, obviously, but his scoring was unsustainable and he didn't find the back of the net again for the rest of the playoffs. But he stayed in the line up, and at least stayed positive and had a good attitude.
He outright stole Dougie Hamilton's and/or Matt Bartkowski's spots on defense and nobody can argue that the Bruins power play didn't (almost always) look significantly better when he was on the ice for it.
Expectations for Next Year
I expect him to spend the season with Boston as one of the top six defensemen and their primary offensive defenseman. I really hope the Bruins have the good sense to use him on the first power play unit every time, because that's really where he is most effective and made the biggest difference of all. I think we can only expect him to get better, so next season will be an exciting year for him. Also - more adorable goal celebrations.
Four goals in five games against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, including two goals in his first two career NHL playoff games. God, this is awesome to re-live:
You can't ask for much more than what he did when he joined the Bruins Stanley Cup playoff run, but looking at his entire season in the AHL and NHL, he was very slow to get going, which is why he doesn't get an A+.