Torey Krug talks Mookie Betts, recent UFA extensions’ effects on new Bruins contract

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In addition to being the left-side of the Bruins’ second defense pair and the main facilitator of their No. 1 power play, Torey Krug is a sport fan.

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.

Krug, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, wasn’t surprised that Betts didn’t waver in his contract demands – as reported by WEEI’s Lou Merloni in late January – and that the outfielder’s position eventually led to the Red Sox making their move. Betts had been adamant for a while about going to free agency when eligible.

.@LouMerloni says the #Redsox offered Mookie Betts a 10 years, $300M deal in the 2019 offseason. Mookie countered with 12 years, $420MLou says Mookie and the Sox have been off by $100M or more in the past 3 negotiations not including this past offseason pic.twitter.com/zfMt2n1Ske

— OMF (@OMFonWEEI) January 28, 2020

“Well I do know that from a very early age and from an early time he’s always stated that he’s trying to make as much money as he can,” Krug told WEEI on Friday. That’s just how he views baseball as a business. Some of us do that in hockey, some of us don’t. Some of us do it for love of hockey, love of winning. That’s where fans have to pick and choose and try to understand certain things. I guess I understand what he was doing, and he’s pretty honest about it, so you can’t fault the guy.”

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.