People were awestruck when Torey Krug exploded on the the scene during the Boston Bruins‘ playoff run. Of all the players on the squad, nobody expected the 5-foot-9 rookie defensemen to be the one who lit up the ice during the grinding series against the New York Rangers. An offseason removed from his thriling postseason performances, Krug will have high expectations placed on him by fans, the organization and himself.
Krug does not exactly scare oppenents on the ice at first glance. Compared to Zdeno Chara, he appears tiny and weak among hockey players. But what he lacks in physcial traits, he makes up for with heart and effort, not to mention a wicked slapshot, proof of which can be seen in almost any game he has played. He has proven he is not afraid of the big stage either. In fact, 15 of his 16 games with the Bruins were all in the playoffs, including the Stanley Cup Finals. But most importantly, he did not come for one game or series then fizzle out. He played hard and well, to the delight of fans and coaches who see Krug as a star in the making. Now, with training camp around the corner, Krug will be expected to take his talents to new heights. The surprise factor is no longer there; people know what he is capable of and expect it on a consistent basis.
This may be a lot for a second year player to handle, but all indications show he is made of tough stuff. He never slowed down during the postseason, and there is no reason to slow down now. For all of his fans there are inevitable doubters who believe a sophomore slump will set in, sending him down to the Providence Bruins to refine his game before a recall to the team. But I beg to differ. I see a progression that will continue to accelerate. With more ice time comes more experience. He will not learn more about the NHL stuck in the AHL. His game is not finesse nor skill, although he is a clinical skater; his attributes include passion, heart and toughness. Some might call these intangibles ineffective on their own, but he also has the stat sheet to back him up with six points in 15 games. Hockey intelligence and good decision making will come naturally, and he continues to develop. Under the wing of stalwarts Chara and Dennis Sidenberg, there is almost no question of that.
It seems evident that Krug will not end up being a flash in the pan, but rather a big time player for the Bruins. As long as he has his head in the game, he can dictate what is going on on the ice. Mental qualities that make any coach drool, and skills to match make him a lethal player for the Bruins. Unless something goes south, big things can be expected of Krug, who possesses all of the ingredients to become a star in the making.
Tim Nikolouzos is a Boston Bruins writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @timnikolou