The Bruins took a breath after their swift and decisive exit from the playoffs, but general manager Don Sweeney is scheduling Zoom calls in the coming weeks with players, including free agents.
He and Torey Krug may not have much to discuss.
Sweeney, in his end-of-season video conference with reporters Wednesday, didn’t allude to either side’s willingness to reach a compromise on a deal that would keep the No. 1 power-play quarterback with the only franchise he has known.
Last week, Krug said negotiations were at a standstill, and had been for the entire season. He also made it clear he would not accept short money or a one-year deal.
“I’ve taken shorter-term deals, less amount of money my whole career now,” Krug said. “This is my time in terms of my value at its peak.”
Sweeney was unfazed.
“He’s entitled to say whatever the hell he feels he wants to say,” Sweeney said. “I’m not going to comment publicly on any different contract negotiations other than hoping to find a landing spot when I have a good player and [person] that I feel are important to our organization, and Torey is such.”
The Bruins successfully courted Krug in 2012, when he was an undersized, undrafted captain at Michigan State. Now 29, Krug is looking for a life-changing payday. It’s unlikely he will find it in Boston.
The Bruins are battling a flat cap, which will stay at $81.5 million until leaguewide revenue reaches its pre-pandemic level, and future raises due younger standouts. As special a puck-mover as Krug is, paying open-market prices — seven years, at around $7 million per — would hurt the Bruins from a balance and depth standpoint, particularly when Matt Grzelcyk or Charlie McAvoy could, with more training, become acceptable distributors on the man-advantage.
“I would be the last person to begrudge any player trying to make the best decision for [them] and their family,” Sweeney said, “and in a perfect world, it’s with us, but we know that the world is anything but perfect right about now.
“Listen, I respect Torey coming in as a rookie free agent and making our hockey club. I only hope that we made the moves to accommodate what he and his family and agent feel he has earned.”