Krug, Smith: Good to Remain in Beantown
This offseason hasn’t been the most dynamic for Peter Chiarelli and Co.– the loss of Jarome Iginla and the shortage of salary cap money a testament to that. Some have branded the summer as a failure based on the fact that the squad’s talent hasn’t improved from last year.
The structure of their contracts doesn’t give them the same capabilities a typical RFA holds. Instead of being able to utilize arbitration or sign with other teams, Krug and Smith are forced to stay put in Boston because they decided to sign entry-level contracts out of college.
After Krug finished his junior season at Michigan State, he signed his entry-level deal with the Bruins on March 25, 2012. The Dallas Stars inked Smith to an entry-level agreement on the same date, and it carried over when he was traded to the Bruins in July 2013.
Despite not having the power to follow up great NHL seasons with a much-deserved payday, you can assume that both skaters will get paid what they deserve down the road.
It’s doubtful, though, they would accept a deals in the range of $1-$2 million per year, since the Bruins currently have Chris Kelly, among other veterans with little future upside, making at least $3 million.
If the both Smith and Krug significantly build off of 2013 and their price goes up, the ability of the Bruins to keep both players could be tricky, considering David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk, and Carl Soderberg, arguably the best third-liner in the NHL, will be unrestricted free agents.
Right now, though, the Bruins are safe, and a drop-off in their performances based on unfulfilled contracts definitely shouldn’t occur.
They will play to the best of their ability this coming season, especially Krug, who still hits the rink with a chip on his shoulder.
“I’m really proud of everything I accomplished as a rookie, but you never stop improving and getting better. There’s always room to improve,” said Krug. “I want to gain that trust where I’m a top four defenseman, and I’m playing 20 minutes a night in all situations. That will be something I’ll be trying to prove to myself, and to the Bruins.”
Assuming the Bruins have to sign one of these players, Krug would surely receive the honors, mostly due to his power play contributions from the blue line.
However, Smith showed his goal-scoring prowess last fall, actually leading the Bruins in goals at one point. And, noted previously, this coming season will serve as a huge factor regarding the likelihood of brand new contracts.