Leading up to the start of the season, New England Hockey
Journal will be taking a look ahead to 2013-14 with a series of
Bruins player previews throughout September. Today, we're
looking at what's in store for Torey Krug, who's expected to give
Boston's power play a jolt in his first full NHL
HEIGHT: 5-foot-9 WEIGHT: 180 SHOOTS: Left
BORN: April 12, 1991 – Livonia, Michigan
CONTRACT STATUS: Signed through 2013-14 ($1.7 million cap hit)
2012-13 STATISTICS: 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, minus-1 in 1 NHL game; 13 goals, 32 assists, 45 points, even in 63 AHL games
LOOKING BACK ON 2013
Signed as a free agent at the tail end of the 2011-12 NHL season, Krug struggled early on his first full pro campaign last fall, tallying just once before the calendar turned to 2013 for Providence. After not taking part in Boston’s January training camp (while nursing minor injuries), the now-22-year-old blueliner caught fire for the B’s farm team.
Krug went on to set a Providence rookie record for points by a defenseman with 45, all while seeing just one game of action with the big club. But when the NHL playoffs rolled around and Boston’s blue line was banged up, No. 47 stepped in and all but singlehandedly crushed the Cup hopes of the New York Rangers.
The former Michigan State standout tallied four times in the five-game, second-round series against the Blueshirts. While his offensive outburst proved unsustainable the rest of the way, Krug remained in the B’s lineup for the remainder of the playoffs, finishing with 4-2-6 totals and a plus-5 rating.
1. Krug left Michigan State after three seasons. He was captain of the Spartans during his junior and sophomore years.
2. Krug became the first rookie blueliner with four goals in his first five playoff games in the NHL’s post-expansion era.
3. Five of Krug’s 13 goals for the P-Bruins last season came on the man advantage.
4. With 45 points, Krug finished tied for fourth among all AHL defensemen in scoring.
5. The last Bruin to wear No. 47 was Steve Kampfer who, coincidentally, is also an offensive-minded defenseman and native of Michigan.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2013-14
With about a dozen days to go until opening night, Krug appears to be a lock to start the season in Boston’s top six. After his electric start to the playoffs this past spring, the gifted rearguard has begun the preseason strong. He racked up three assists in a 6-3 win over Montreal and, while minus-2, earned a lopsided victory in a scrap with David McIntyre during an 8-2 loss to the Red Wings.
Krug’s skill set is one the Bruins haven’t had on the back end in quite some time, as the young d-man’s slick stick-handling and ability to maneuver at the point wowed many during the B’s run to the finals in 2013.
The 5-foot-9 puck wizard will likely patrol the blue line alongside Adam McQuaid again to begin the year, as the two complemented each other nicely throughout the postseason as a pair. Krug should also see plenty of ice time as part of Boston’s top power-play unit, where his abilities will be put to their best use.
PREDICTION FOR 2013-14
A high-character player with high-caliber creativity and plenty of courage, Krug’s bound to become even more of a fan favorite in the Hub of Hockey during his first full NHL campaign. I don’t think he’ll be putting up earth-shattering numbers or scoring at a four-goals-every-five-games kind of clip, but I think we could see a stat line similar to the one Dennis Wideman (13-23-36) posted back in his first full year as the Bruins’ “puck-moving defenseman” in 2007-08.
PREDICTION: 10 goals, 26 assists, 36 points, plus-10 in 77 games