This is the tenth of sixteen player profiles. If you missed the introduction, you can find that here. Special thank you to Corsica, Evolving Wild, Micah Black McCurdy, for the data and visualizations.
Shot Creation : A+
3 year WAR/82 : 1.15
3 year RAPM Z-Score : 1.53
Creating shots is surely the strongest part of Krug’s game. Individually, his ability to find shooting lanes from the point is a staple, and shows very well on the powerplay as well as even strength. However, a strong transition game, along with offensive creativity, helps his team get into positions to take shots.
Over the last three seasons, the Bruins have taken 3.50 more shot attempts per hour at 5v5 with Krug on the ice. That’s about a shot attempt per game. In today’s game, one shot can make all the difference. Krug is, without a doubt, one of the best defensemen in the league at creating offense for his team.
Shot Suppression : C-
3 year WAR/82 : 0.09
3 year RAPM Z-Score : -0.08
From the start, the main criticism of Krug has been his defensive abilities. They are slightly below average, but get exaggerated immensely. Since the 2015-16 season, the Bruins have given up 0.41 less shot attempts per hour with Krug on the ice at 5v5. And when his teammates are apart from him, they give up 1.20 more shot attempts per hour than when they are with him. In reality, the Bruins do better defensively when he is on the ice.
However, as his critics will quickly point out, he has been given friendly usage. When you take into account his quality of competition, quality of teammates, and zone starts, he does fall below average. But he isn’t horrid either. He’s still an above replacement defenseman when it comes to shot suppression.
Offensive Shot Quality : D+
3 year WAR/82 : -0.38
I think this is one of the more surprising things when it comes to Torey Krug. I think the offensive defenseman reputation comes more from his shot creation over the quality of those shots.
Over the last three seasons, Bruins shooters were expected to bury 0.20% less of their unblocked shots while Krug is on the ice. And unlike some of the forwards we’ve already addressed, those results hold heavy. The Bruins scored on 0.64% less of their unblocked shots while Krug was on the ice. Offensive shot quality plays a big part in the Bruins scoring more per hour without Krug than with him.
Defensive Shot Quality : C-
3 year WAR/82 : -0.08
Krug is also below average in preventing high-quality shots. Bruins goaltenders were expected to save 0.06% less unblocked shots with him on the ice over the last three seasons. Luckily for Krug, that hasn’t been the case. Bruins goaltenders have saved 0.38% more unblocked shots with him on the ice. He has Bruins goaltenders to thank for his positive impact on the Bruins goals against per hour, as it is supposed to be the same rate, but in reality the Bruins give up 0.15 less goals per hour with Krug on the ice.
Krug has been a weird player over the last few years. He recorded a WAR of -1.03 in 2015-16, before recording 1.08 and 1.25 wins above replacement the last two seasons respectively. Two things hold very consistent in that time frame, those being shot creation and defensive shot quality. The other two components seem to bounce around.
Krug produces at a first pairing rate, while offering strong offensive impacts through shot creation. Yes, he is below average defensively, but he’s not horrid. His offensive impacts certainly outweigh his defensive impacts, and his unique skill set makes him a great quarterback on the powerplay.
You don’t find players like Torey Krug everyday.