Bolting the NHL for Russia’s KHL has previously been viewed as an option only for European born players; Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins could be changing that trend. Locked into a contract dispute with the Bruins, Krug and his agent have allegedly leveraged the team with the “KHL Option” if the two sides don’t come to an agreement soon. The Bruins have had an offseason to forget and need to retain the rising star. This offer makes a dicey situation even worse.
The Bruins have allegedly offered Krug a two-year deal worth roughly $2.5 million per season as their salary cap constraints have tied them up in terms of giving Krug what he is worth. For a 23-year-old defenseman, who despite being undersized finished fourth in the Calder voting, $2.5 million per year is an almost insulting offer. In a situation where leverage is hard to come by, it is almost impossible to fault Krug and his agent for using this option to put heat on the Bruins.
The KHL is far from an ideal situation as the day-to-day life in Russia has swung dramatically into a borderline scary direction in recent years. For Krug to go over there and play he’d be taking a huge risk as there is seemingly an often fatal disaster every year in the league. It’s also worth noting the Russian Mafia still (allegedly) has its hand in the cookie jar with the league, and any time such an unpleasant group is involved it’s wise to stay away. Despite all of the risks, the finances have been in line, and if a team in the league is offering Krug such a large of sum of money he’d be foolish to rule it out.
At the end of the day I believe the Bruins will re-sign both Krug and fellow restricted free agent Reilly Smith before the season starts in October. Having said that, the Bruins will surely lose at least one other player on the roster in order to clear cap space to keep the two youngsters. No one ever said being a general manager was easy, and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is surely living that this offseason.