While nothing is set in stone, it seems more likely than not that Torey Krug will be playing hockey elsewhere next season.
It wouldn’t be a complete shock if the Bruins managed to bring him back.
However, Krug is looking to cash in on what’s probably his last best chance at a mega deal, and the Bruins are likely facing some hard truths that there may be some lean years ahead.
Krug’s a great player, but he’s not the kind of player you reshape (let’s not utter the dreaded “rebuild” word) a franchise around.
With that in mind, should the Bruins be looking to cash in on Krug one more time before he heads to his new home?
As we saw with Montreal about a week ago, negotiating rights still hold some value in today’s NHL.
The Canadiens sent a fifth-round pick to Carolina in exchange for the negotiating rights of defenseman Joel Edmundson.
Edmundson, who was slated to be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins in October, ended up deciding he wanted to play for Montreal, agreeing to a four-year, $14 million deal with the Habs.
While Edmundson is a serviceable defenseman, he is definitely not a player of Krug’s caliber.
Hayes was also slated to test the free agent waters, having spent his entire career with the New York Rangers prior to being traded to Winnipeg around the 2019 deadline.
I thought for sure Hayes would end up at least seeing what was out there, but the Flyers were able to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse: 7 years, $50 million. Not bad!
Hayes is a year younger than Krug and a far different kind of player, but he commanded a fifth-round pick as well.
(As an aside, either Winnipeg got fleeced or Montreal overpaid. If Hayes’ rights were worth a fifth, there’s no way Edmundson’s should have been worth a fifth.)
If, and it’s still a big if, the Bruins determine Krug is 100% gone, they should absolutely explore trading his rights to a team interested in going shopping.
No, it wouldn’t a big score, but it’s something, right? Maybe get a team that has Krug high on their wish list and is willing to part with a fourth-rounder to get a head start on negotiating?
The Bruins have gone this route before with “he’s gone” guys, trading the rights to Carl Soderberg (Carl!) to Colorado for a sixth-round pick a few years back.
If you’re Don Sweeney and you know you’re losing Krug, you might as well try to get what you can for him.
After all, if some lean years are on the horizon, you’re going to need all the picks you can get.