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CAP STRAPPED BRUINS MAY BE FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN DEBRUSK AND KRUG

The Boston Bruins may be clearing about $18M off the books this summer, but with several pieces to lock up ahead of next season, $18M can go pretty quick. Especially when three of your free agents are named Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk and Torey Krug.

While Chara (43) is not expected to command much in terms of salary, DeBrusk and Krug could break the bank, forcing Boston into a very tough decision in choosing one over the other.

Krug (29) has been a beast on the back end for the Bruins, scoring 40 or more points in each of the last 5 seasons. Where he really excelled for the B's was in the playoffs last season when he registered 18 points in 24 playoff games, helping to propel the Bruins into the Stanley Cup finals against the eventual champs, the St. Louis Blues.

DeBrusk, on the other hand, is an absolute spark plug for this team, causing fits for the opposition by playing a fast two-way game and getting under his opponents' skin. He also has a nose for the net, averaging over 20 goals per season over the last three seasons in Boston.

Krug is rumoured to be seeking a long-term deal in excess of $8M per season, while DeBrusk could be in line to sign a contract somewhere in between fellow draft class running-mates Brock Boeser ($5.875 AAV) and Kyle Connor ($7.14M AAV). Edmonton Oilers radio analyst Bob Stauffer coins DeBrusk as a $5.5M-$6M player, likely on the higher end.

"To me, I think Jake is a $5.5-6 million player. Maybe that money comes down a bit because of the cap. I think he’s a $6 million forward. He’s a guy that’s going to be capable of scoring 25-30 goals in a full season. That’s a $6 million forward to me."



Considering that DeBrusk's agent - Rick Valette - has no intention of having his client settle for a team-friendly deal, the Bruins and DeBrusk could be facing a potentially brutal negotiation.

“I don’t really consider that at this point. Will it play into it? Maybe,” said Valette, when questioned about the team-friendly salaries of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand all locked up on long-term deals below the $7M threshold.

“I would hope not. That’s not typically how I would approach that. The one thing I would add to Jake is that you want to look at his playoff performance and what he’s done in the playoffs in big games. The Toronto series from a couple of years ago, for example. He’s a big-game performer and he’s been a top-6 forward almost from the moment he stepped into the National Hockey League.

“Boston certainly has some internal things that they like to look at, but I’m going to try to not look at that. I guess that’s the way I would say it to you.”

The Bruins also have Matt Grzelcyk and Anders Bjork due for new contracts, which complicates matters for GM Don Sweeney. With the cap remaining at $81.5M for the foreseeable future, the B's may be forced to walk away from one of two very important players this summer.

MIKE ARMENTI
JULY 7, 2020  (11H36)
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