|06.30.16 at 7:26 pm ET|
Four more years of Torey Krug for $5.25 million per. If that sounds like a lot of money, it’s because it is. It’s $21 million. That is so much money.
But don’t mistake “so much” as “too much.” Looking at what NHL defensemen make, Krug’s offensive contributions make him properly compensated. Scott McLaughlin already pointed out why his downtick in goals last season shouldn’t be too worrisome, but here’s a look at Krug compared to the other guys making his kind of dough.
Twenty-one defensemen either made in the $5 million-$5.5 million range last season or are set to do so next season. Of those 21, Krug ranked 14th in average time on ice with 21:37 per night. However, Krug’s 40 assists were tops among that group, while his points were second in that group only to Ekman-Larsson. His points on the season overall tied for 19th among NHL defensemen.
As usage goes, Krug had relatively easy zone starts. That suggests the Bruins, as they’ve done throughout Krug’s career, tried to give him shifts in which he would spent as little time defending as possible. As can be seen by his Corsi For percentage in such situations, he drives possession when doing so.
That shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Krug is determined to be a stout defender, but the Bruins are paying him for his skating, passing and scoring. If they put better defensemen in front of him, he would be as much a 5-on-5 weapon as he is a power play weapon. Whether the Bruins can do that remains to be seen.
Here’s a usage chart of Krug and those other defensemen in 5-on-5 situations from last season, courtesy of Corsica Hockey.
|06.30.16 at 6:10 pm ET|
The Bruins aren’t happy about buying out Dennis Seidenberg. If they had their druthers, they’d have traded him, even if for nothing.
Yet other options existed other than buying out the player and harming their cap for the next four seasons. They could have eaten half his contract in a trade (assuming a team would even take him at $2 million for the next two seasons rather than a $4 million average annual value) or they could have pulled a Chicago-Carolina and literally paid a team in the form of other capital (a prospect, a draft pick) to take Seidenberg’s deal off their hands.
“I would have considered all options from that standpoint,” Don Sweeney said on a conference call Thursday. “I mean, they’re all at our disposal. If it had come to any of those situations, we probably would have been able to approach Dennis with his contract situation and no-trade and explored those things. This was the opportunity. We pushed it right down to the last minute and this was the decision we made, albeit a very difficult one.”
Seidenberg had a full no-trade clause until December, so he would have had to approve any sort of trade the Bruins opted to make. A source familiar with the situation confirmed Sweeney’s intimation that the Bruins never came to Seidenberg about signing off on a trade this summer. That suggests the list of takers for Seidenberg was either non-existent or that the Bruins were either unwilling or unable to do what Chicago did with Bryan Bickell’s contract. To that end, the Bruins would have been silly to give away a major asset solely for the sake of freeing themselves of Seidenberg’s deal, so while they in theory could have dumped the deal off at any price, they didn’t deem that to be the play.
Still, when asked if the buyout was a last resort, Sweeney agreed it was.
“Yeah,” he said. “If we could have done it in a different fashion, we probably — we would have done it.”
|06.30.16 at 4:07 pm ET|
Some of those who want to criticize the Bruins’ four-year, $21 million deal for Torey Krug have already started pointing to the fact that he is an offensive defenseman who scored just four goals last season.
Krug did in fact score just four goals, but it is not something anyone should be worried about going forward. First off, Krug still had a career high in points last year with 44.
But more relevant to the goal discussion, Krug also had a career high in shot attempts (469) and shots on goal (244). He had the fourth-most shots on goal among all NHL defensemen, behind only Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Dustin Byfuglien.
Krug shot 1.6 percent last season. He previously shot 7.7 percent in 2013-14 and 5.9 percent in 2014-15. Of the top 30 defensemen in shots on goal last season, Krug was the only one who shot worse than 3 percent, never mind 2 percent. Most of those other 29 guys shot in the 5-8 percent range, the same place Krug was before last season.
Basically what we’re getting at is that Krug is going to score much more if he continues to shoot as much as he’s been shooting. Chances are he will never have a shooting percentage as low as 1.6 percent again. If he even shot 5 percent last season, he would’ve scored 12 goals. If he shot the 6.7 percent he averaged the previous two seasons, he would’ve scored 16.
Anyone who has watched Krug play knows he has a pretty good shot. He didn’t suddenly forget how to shoot last season. Sure, there are things he can do to make sure he does a better job finishing, but for the most part that 1.6 percent is just the product of rotten luck.
So, complain about Krug’s contract if you want. Criticize his defense, say he’s undersized, say he’s not a legitimate top-four defenseman. We can have legitimate debates about all that. Just don’t get worked up over him scoring four goals last season, because he’s going to score more than that — probably a lot more — going forward.
|06.30.16 at 2:54 pm ET|
Shortly after beginning the buyout process of Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins announced a four-year contract for defenseman Torey Krug carrying a $5.25 million average annual value. The contract buys out two years of unrestricted free agency for Krug (2018-19 and 2019-20); the player will have a limited no-trade clause in each of those seasons.
Krug, 25, is coming off his fourth NHL season and third contract. His new deal carries a considerable raise from the $3.4 million he made on a one-year deal last season, but the raise comes on merit given that his 44 points last season (four goals, 40 assists) were a career high. Furthermore, his 21:36 of ice time ranked second among Bruins defensemen last season.
With Krug signed and Seidenberg bought out, the Bruins have about $54,631,000 committed against the cap for next season. Under a $73 million salary cap, that would give them $18.369 million in cap space to spend on seven or eight players, assuming Malcolm Subban makes the team as Tuukka Rask’s backup.
|06.30.16 at 1:25 pm ET|
Dennis Seidenberg is done as a Bruin. It appears the same may soon be said for Loui Eriksson.
Though Eriksson’s camp won’t officially rule out the Bruins, the the team has not budged in negotiations regarding the versatile winger’s next contract this week. As such, Eriksson’s camp feels that a deal will not be struck unless things change drastically between Thursday afternoon and the open of free agency Friday. Furthermore, they do not feel that the Bruins’ buyout of Dennis Seidenberg had anything to do with a deal for Eriksson.
In the meantime, eight teams (including the Canadiens) have expressed interest in the player.
“I spoke with Don [Sweeney] today and they are holding firm on their previous offers,” agent J.P. Barry told WEEI.com Thursday. “We will continue to speak with the teams that have show interest.”
Eriksson, who will turn 31 in July, is coming off a 30-goal, 36-assist season in his third campaign in Boston. Assuming Milan Lucic signs in Edmonton, Eriksson will be the most in-demand left-shot wing on the open market.
|06.30.16 at 12:18 pm ET|
The Bruins placed Dennis Seidenberg on waivers for the purposes of buying out the defenseman on Thursday. Seidenberg, 34, had two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4 million.
While the move should be met with relief from fans that the team has moved on from a player whose contributions have greatly diminished, the manner in which the Bruins did it was highly suboptimal. In buying out Seidenberg, the Bruins will face cap charges of $1.166 million next season, $2.166 million in 2017-18 and $1.166 million the following two seasons.
The better way to have jettisoned Seidenberg would have been to do so via trade, with the Bruins retaining half his salary. That way, the Bruins would face cap charges of $2 million the next two seasons, but the bleeding would stop there. Instead, the Bruins will have over $1 million of dead money on the books in seasons in which they’ll hope to be more of contenders than they are presently.
Furthermore, the most dead money the Bruins will face with this buyout ($2.166 in 2017-18) will come in the season in which the likes of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner will be up for new contracts. Fortunately, they will also see Zdeno Chara’s cap hit drop by over $2.9 million that season.
At the moment, it is unknown whether the Bruins tried a move like the one the Blackhawks did earlier this month, where they shipped out an asset (prospect Teuvo Teravainen) to Carolina in order for the Hurricanes to take a Bryan Bickell’s contract off their hands.
It’s also worth noting that when considering the “savings” of buying out Seidenberg, his roster spot will not be filled for free. Should the Bruins replace Seidenberg with a cheap bottom-six lefty in the $1-2 million range, they might see an upgrade in performance, but it won’t be for much cheaper and they’ll still have to pay those extra millions of buyout dollars down the road. To that end, another option — though probably as unappetizing as the one they chose — would have been to keep Seidenberg on the roster next season and buy him out at a lesser charge next offseason.
Buyouts should always be a last resort, especially with players over 26 who have multiple years remaining on their contract. Whether or not it was, the Bruins felt this was their best option.
|06.29.16 at 4:14 pm ET|
The NHL has lost its mind. In a pair of blockbuster, shocking deals, the Canadiens have traded defenseman P.K. Subban to the Predators for defenseman Shea Weber, and the Oilers have traded left wing Taylor Hall to the Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson.
In slightly less surprising but still huge news, center Steven Stamkos is reportedly staying with the Lightning, putting a quick end to rumors about the Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Bruins and others. According to Bob McKenzie, his new deal is for eight years with an average annual value of $8.5 million.
Canadiens acquire defenseman Shea Weber from the Nashville Predators in return for defenseman P.K. Subban. pic.twitter.com/jlFvVNyjHG
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 29, 2016
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 29, 2016
Stamkos's deal with TB is expected to come in at eight years, with an AAV of $8.5M.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 29, 2016
On the surface, both massive trades look pretty lopsided. Subban, age 27, is in his prime and is one of the best defensemen in the NHL, while Weber, age 30, has been in decline for a few years now and is really no longer one of the best blueliners in the league.
Meanwhile, Hall is one of the best left wingers in the league and is only 24. Larsson is also young (23), but has yet to prove he’s truly a top-pairing defenseman. Peter Chiarelli, former Bruins general manager and current Oilers GM, has now traded both of the top two picks from the 2010 Taylor/Tyler draft for underwhelming returns.