The other day, or last week, last month, or sometime in this decade that’s passed since March, the Bruins in-house media put out a handy primer on the impending free agents, both restricted and unrestricted. Today, let’s talk about the big two, from the perspective of their media chats since the B’s were ousted from the playoffs.
I feel like his contract has been the big dark cloud hanging over the Boston Bruins for the length of the season. Krug has been vocal about the stalled talks between the two sides. He had to watch local boys Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner get extended early in the season while he wasn’t getting a seat to the table. So, one can imagine that he has to start thinking about continuing his career outside of Boston, where he’s played for the entire 9 years of his professional career, where he loves the city, coaches, and his teammates. He knows his role and loves it.
In his media time, Krug talked about the importance of fit and being happy, even if he can’t game out the situation in a new place on a different team several years down the road. While he isn’t considering a a one-year or two-year deal making less money than he’s worth, which he’s already done, he knows that money isn’t everything and going to the wrong situation will make it hard to get up every day to play hockey. So fit is everything.
What’s also important to note is that Krug is part of the leadership group. Currently, he’s the longest tenured Boston athlete without a championship to show for it; he’s been to 2 Stanley Cup Final series in his time and has encountered disappointment both times. He wants to seal the deal here with this group in the future. Perhaps that’s why he cited some emotional attachment despite this contract being all about business, nothing personal.
There is still time to get a deal done but with each passing day, that window closes just a little more and it looks like Torey Krug will hit free agency and be on another team next season.
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman to UFA Torey Krug… pic.twitter.com/UiVZJwR4nH
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) August 24, 2020
Chara is a different matter. He’s not looking for a big deal or large amounts of money, he just wants ti play hockey in Boston next year and presumably for the rest of his career.
For the last two years, Chara has signed either team friendly deals or contracts laden with incentive bonuses for things like “playing in 10 games” and “making the playoffs”. While he sounded like he was a bit ambivalent about returning to hockey or the Bruins, he chalked that up to just being a emotionally drained after a loss and not having the right words at his disposal. The big takeaway from the big guy is this: he feels strong, he feels like he can contribute, and he feels like he has a lot to teach the next generation coming up about playing the game.
It’s clear that Chara wants one more shot at the Cup. Having been to the Final 3 times in the past 10 seasons, and only walking away with it once, he wants to hold that trophy one more time. He knew the Bruins didn’t play their best when they returned to play in the bubble but he was grateful for the player, coaches, and other personnel who gave up their time with family during this difficult time. He felt the team was playing better as they progressed through the playoffs. The Pause affected everyone.
Chara knows that he’s losing a step, which is why he continues to train hard. He maintains that he’s not a stats guy, that individual stats don’t interest him but using his various skills to be valuable to the team while following his dreams to play in the NHL. He and the Bruins both know what he brings to the team. He’s hoping to meet with Bruins management soon.
In short, I can’t imagine a scenario in which Krug stays at this point. While it is indeed nothing personal, it seems that if Sweeney isn’t actively talking to him and his agent, he’s not respecting him enough for Torey to stick around. As for Chara, I expect he’ll re-sign a great deal but will have to accept that his minutes will be fewer and that he may be playing lower in the pairings. Which is fine because he’ll still have a role in impressing on the young players which extends his legacy.