The Boston Bruins haven’t done very much in the free agent market this offseason, mainly because of its money woes, but they still need to re-sign two of its restricted free agents in Torey Krug and Reilly Smith. However, according to recent reports, Torey Krug has been offered a lucrative deal with an unnamed KHL team, although Krug’s agent is neither confirming nor denying the report.
This could be devastating for the Bruins if Krug does indeed bolt for the vast land of Russia, but it would be the worst mistake of his career.
American born players haven’t exactly had the best track record in the KHL, just look at Chris Bourque, Bryan Berard, and Matt Anderson. Krug is just coming into his prime with the Boston Bruins, a team that fits his style of play. Leaving simply for the money is greedy and just plain not smart. The culture is completely different in Russia than in the United States (obviously) and it could really affect a player’s psyche, especially a young player much like Krug. Numerous Russian players leave the NHL for the KHL because they are so far from home and the same goes for American players in the KHL, what little there are.
Krug would also benefit from playing in a league like the NHL, a league with top talent from all over the world. The KHL has some very talented players and is among on of the top tier leagues in the world, but its talent does not compare with that of the NHL. Krug can polish his game and hone his craft playing the NHL where he is getting consistently better with each passing year. If Krug leaves and heads for the KHL, he would be going back to square one. Not every KHL team plays on the same size ice surface, some play on the 200×100 foot Olympic sized ice surface and that would mean tweaking his game a bit to compensate, and that would be hurting his development.
But what if Krug does in fact leave for Russia? The one thing the Bruins have a surplus of is defensemen. The question of the Bruins having to trade a defensemen now becomes a moot one. However, Torey Krug is one of the better defensemen on the Bruins and he is a young one as well. By having someone like Adam McQuaid or David Warsofsky slide into the spot that Krug would have created, is certainly a downgrade for the Bruins. McQuaid is a solid defensemen… when healthy, and that is very iffy with McQuaid. David Warsofsky is a young defenseman and has shown at times that he can be a very talented one, but he does not have the same upside as Krug.
At the end of the day, I think it is incredibly unlikely that Torey Krug leaves for Russia. I know not much has been done about Krug’s re-signing, but the Bruins will get something done, more than likely not as lucrative as a KHL deal. Money isn’t everything and I think Torey Krug will see this.
Mark Wallace Graham has been a writer for TheHockeyWriters.com since March 2013. Growing up in New England, Boston Bruins hockey was in my blood. Follow me on Twitter, @MarkWGraham