Although he didn’t immerse himself of the details of Mookie Betts’ situations with the Red Sox, Krug obviously followed the situation right up to Betts’ trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this month.
Other than their pending free agency, Betts and Krug have little in common. While Betts is one of the top three to five players in all of baseball, Krug is better known for being a complementary player who’s the best at what he does, especially on the power play, while overcoming a discrepancy in size (he’s listed at 5-foot-9, 186 pounds).
The MLB luxury tax might be seen as a de facto salary cap to owners, but the NHL has a hard salary cap that can break a team trying to sustain success and make sure its best players are compensated. To that end the Bruins have freed up some cap space for this offseason with their trades of David Backes and Danton Heinen to Anaheim over the past week. That had the “Keep Krug” wing of the Bruins’ fanbase anticipating a long-term deal to keep him from July 1.
Of course, it’s not that simple because the Bruins have a lot of business to get to, including new contracts for fellow UFAs Jaroslav Halak and Zdeno Chara, and restricted free agents Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Karson Kuhlman and Matt Grzelcyk. David Krejci and Tuukka Rask will be eligible to sign contract extensions before the last season of their current deals.
As difficult as it is to read who general manager Don Sweeney is prioritizing, it’s equally tough to know what Krug is thinking beyond his public words. In the same conversation that Krug talked about “love of hockey, love of winning” he was asked about what a multi-millionaire hockey player (Krug’s made $5.25 million over the past four season) thinks when he sees a player like Betts turn down a triple-digit million-dollar contract, Krug talked about taking the most advantage possible of free agency.