By Maria of Watertown | Follow me on twitter @mariaofh2otown
The NHL free agency period is not over yet, but I believe it is safe to say that from the perspective of many fans of our Boston Bruins, it has been an underwhelming offseason thus far. In my opinion, the Bruins have yet to complete a transaction that improves the team. If Bruins management expected me and many other fans to get excited about the signings of Kevin Miller and Craig Smith, then the organization does not know its fan base very well. The organizational depth and balancing the economics of contracts, and managing the salary cap, are factors that seem to be driving the Bruins offseason plans.
The most significant free agency question Bruins management had loomed over them was answered very early on in the process when it was announced that Torey Krug was “taking his talents” to the St. Louis Blues.
Thank You, Torey Krug, A True Boston Bruin— Mark Allred (@BlackAndGold277) October 12, 2020
Via @BlackNGoldPod writer Joey Partridge.
Give Joey a follow @joey_partridge #NHLBruins #Boston #BruinsFam #BruinsTalk #NHL #NHLFreeAgency @BNGProductionshttps://t.co/MqxprSvnrl
As disappointing as it was to hear this news, my glass-half-full assessment of such a significant loss to the roster was two-fold. With Krug moving on, it opens the door for Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, or Matt Grzelcyk to compete for that alpha-dog role on the Bruins power-play. In addition, the Bruins would have some financial flexibility to sign a notable free agent that could help improve one of the holes that have plagued the team for the last two seasons, particularly during the playoffs – lack of consistent 5v5 scoring.
Throughout the free agency course, the Bruins have been rumored to be in on just about any notable free agent that is/was available, including, but not limited to, perhaps the biggest free-agent fish in the pond, Taylor Hall. Although Hall had initially indicated that he wanted to sign with a contender, he ultimately agreed to a one-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres. Somehow, the words contender and Buffalo Sabres are not synonymous to me, but how does one pass up an $8 million contract offer regardless of where it comes from.
Could it be that the Bruins efforts to draw free agents are being somewhat impeded by the comments made by Tory Krug regarding his contract negotiations with the Bruins? Krug spoke to the media after signing with the Blues and had this to say about negotiations with his former team:
“It was pulled from me. I didn’t have an offer. When they offered me a year ago and then it’s gone, I don’t know what I’m expected to do. Just being blunt and being honest with you. Most people don’t share that side of it, but it is what it is.”
That statement alone sheds a somewhat troubling light on the Boston Bruins, more specifically, management, about negotiating good faith with players. The opportunity to play with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak should make the Bruins a draw for free agents who truly want to contend for a championship. However, after reading or hearing Krug’s comments, notable free agents could be taking a “proceed with caution” approach when considering the Boston Bruins as a destination if there is a perception that management may not always operate in an above-board manner.
Perhaps I am grasping at straws with this theory in an attempt to maintain a semblance of patience while I try to figure out what the Bruins plans are for the roster in the future. Unfortunately, patience is not one of my virtues.