If Kevin Dallman can win the KHL’s “best defenseman” award, then Torey Krug would be the Russian league’s Bobby Orrski.
Of course, that’s if the KHL were actually an option for Krug and not just some fantastical ruse leaked to friendly media in order to create faux competition for his services, in a desperate attempt to jack up his price as a restricted free agent with the Boston Bruins.
Noooooo … it couldn’t be that, could it?
A source with knowledge of Krug’s negotiations told CSNNE.com that there’s been a sizable offer made for the defenseman’s services by an unidentified KHL team. The offer, according to the source, included a good chunk of money up front as a signing bonus.
When contacted by CSNNE.com, Krug’s agent, Lewis Gross, wouldn’t confirm, or deny, that the KHL offer existed, and instead offered an apologetic “no comment.”
Krug is 23 and is coming off a rookie season that saw him notch 40 points in 79 games for the Bruins, following an impressive debut postseason in Boston’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. His last contract was for $916,667 against the cap, which included three years of maxed out rookie deal bonuses.
Krug was blessed with a chance to play on one of the best teams in the NHL, on one of its best defense corps. Alas, quality demands compensation: The Bruins don’t have much cap space -- they're in the negative, with Marc Savard's cap exemption forthcoming -- and still have Reilly Smith unsigned as an RFA as well.
Haggerty believes Krug is looking at a short-term deal worth $1.5-2.5 million against the cap, which would make Krug the team’s fourth-highest paid defenseman next season. Krug and his agent evidently believe they can use the KHL to up that price or term.
That’s the only leverage he has, outside of your classic free-agent “hold out.” (Hate that term now, hated it when it applied to P.K. Subban; it’s not like he’s ducking out on a contract.) No offer sheet. No arbitration.
The Bruins have to at least pay it some mind, in the case that Krug actually does something as titanically stupid as leaving for the KHL, and creating a huge offensive hole on the Boston blue line for this season. But we imagine when presented with a “come closer to our KHL offer” ultimatum from Camp Krug, Peter Chiarelli will simply say “nyet.”