Who Is Left? Remaining Free Agents: Torey Krug


Rookie camp and training camp are set to get underway in the next two weeks. But, that doesn’t mean the offseason isn’t totally over. We’re looking at some remaining free agents that could make an impact on the Predators. Today, we look at a restricted free agent defenseman that was a breakout star in Boston, and could help out on the blue line in Music City: Torey Krug.

In case you missed it, we looked at Ryan Johansen as a free agent option here.

Krug was never really touted as an elite prospect. He went undrafted out of Michigan State, but the Bruins took a chance on him when they signed him to an entry-level contract in 2012. Krug burst on to the scene during the 2013 Playoffs, when he scored four goals in five games, and became a fan favorite (watch all four of those goals here). He notched 40 points in 79 games for the Bruins, and performed very well in the postseason.

So, why would he leave Boston? He would probably want to stay if the Bruins offered him a contract. But,

Torey Krug has some flashy offensive skills for a defenseman. Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Boston probably doesn’t have the funds to keep him. They were already very close to the salary cap ceiling when they signed center David Krejci to a massive extension recently. They could either make a trade to free up cap space for Krug, or they could let him go. With the depth on the Bruins blue line, they could afford to let him go.

Krug would bring an added offensive boost to the Predators. He is more of an Erik Karlsson-type defender. When he is out on the ice, he looks like he could be a forward. He is very speedy, which will work well in Peter Laviolette’s system. Krug can bust into the zone on an odd-man rush and rip a shot by the goaltender with ease. In his Hockey Abstract, Rob Vollman said that Krug “plays the sheltered scoring-focused role almost to perfection.” He has a quick slap shot, and a neat little wrist shot. Check out this awesome goal in the playoffs vs. Montreal:

As for advanced stats, Krug is a pretty solid player offensively. His Fenwick (all shots attempted minus blocked shots) per 20 minutes was second among all Bruins defensemen last season at 15.044. However, he was fifth among Boston defensemen in Fenwick against at 12.642. This basically means he is better at producing shots than preventing opponent shots.

Two other barometers of Krug’s worth are his Goals Versus Threshold (GVT) and the Player Usage Chart. GVT is used to measure a player’s contribution to a team’s goal differential. It was invented by Tom Awad of Hockey Prospectus. The measurement is broken down into Offensive GVT (OGVT) and Defensive GVT (DGVT). OGVT measures a player’s impact on his team’s goal differential, while DGVT measures how well other team’s perform while the player is on the ice.

“[Krug] plays the sheltered scoring-focused role almost to perfection.”-Rob Vollman

According to Hockey Prospectus, Krug’s OGVT was 8.2 last season. By comparison, that is higher than Drew Doughty and P.K. Subban. However, his DGVT plummeted to 1.9. Shea Weber’s DGVT was 4.3, and Zdeno Chara’s was 4.6. Erik Karlsson, who plays a similar style to Krug, had a DGVT of -1.5. Even while playing with more offensive prowess, Krug still managed to be theoretically better at preventing goals than Erik Karlsson, a Norris Trophy winner.

Player Usage Charts measure how a player is used on a particular team. It plots different players on the chart based on the quality of the opponents he plays against (measured by relative Corsi) and the percentage of offensive zone starts. This is because starting shifts in the offensive zone naturally leads to more shots. The bubbles represent the player’s Corsi number. Bigger bubble means bigger Corsi. Shaded bubbles mean that the player outshoots the opponent when he’s on the ice. Here is the Bruins’ Player Usage Chart from last year, courtesy of Rob Vollman:

Krug’s bubble is in the bottom right corner. His bubble is filled in blue. This means that he gets a lot of offensive zone starts, but against weaker competition. His team also tends to out-shoot their opponents while he’s on the ice.

What role could Krug play with the Predators? He won’t step onto the first line, but he could easily slide between the bottom two defensive pairings. He could provide some offensive firepower. Usually, the Predators’ offense-minded defenseman is Ryan Ellis. Krug is definitely more skilled than Ellis, and he would be an ideal candidate to replace him should Ellis decide to sign elsewhere. Also, Anton Volchenkov is known to be injury-prone. Should he go down, Krug could step onto the second line and play with Seth Jones. A Jones-Krug pairing looks good now, and in five years.

Torey Krug is a fantastic offensively-inclined defenseman that could easily add some depth to the Predators defensive corps. With the Bruins payroll stretched to the limit, the Predators should absolutely try to offer sheet Krug.

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