Torey Krug has said wants to remain with the Boston Bruins following this season, and general manager Don Sweeney echoed those sentiments Friday.
"I dearly hope that Torey hasn't played his last game, this year or going forward," Sweeney said of the defenseman who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. "He's been a big part of any success we've had as an organization. He's a special player both on and off the ice. He means a lot in the locker room and I think everybody could acknowledge his attributes on the ice and his importance to our team."
Krug, who turns 29 on Sunday, is a key member of the power-play unit and an important offensive and defensive presence on the second pair for the Bruins. He had 49 points (nine goals, 40 assists) in 61 games before the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. In seven seasons with the Bruins, Krug has 337 points (67 goals, 270 assists) in 523 games.
He is in the final season of a four-year, $21 million contract with an average annual value of $5.25 million.
"In [an NHL salary] cap world, we have to try and fit the pieces together," Sweeney said. "We've had very, very good discussions with Torey's group. We just haven't found a landing spot, and that's understandable, given the circumstances of where the cap is and, really, his value, both to us but also in a potential open-market situation."
Krug said Tuesday, "For me personally, I really hope I did not play my last game as a Boston Bruin. It's been a special place for me and my family to grow and my love for the game and playing in front of these fans, it's been very special to me."
Video: BOS@FLA: Krug hammers home slap shot for OT winner
Krug had 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games last season to help Boston advance to the Cup Final, which it lost to the St. Louis Blues in seven games. The Bruins (44-14-12) lead the NHL with 100 points this season.
"We're hopeful that we'll find a resolution with Torey and (agent) Lewis [Gross], but at this point in time we haven't been able to do so," Sweeney said. "But it's been very amicable. We've made our feelings perfectly clear that we respect and acknowledge what Torey has done and what he's capable of doing as a member of the Boston Bruins, and we hope that continues."
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara also can also become an unrestricted free agent after the season. The 43-year-old captain has signed a one-year contract for each of the past two seasons.
"I think even Zdeno himself has reported that he would like to continue to play," Sweeney said. "The really unique relationship that we have as an organization with Zdeno, and this started a bunch of years ago, but the last three or four in particular, he has exercised the ability to show patience, allow us to plan accordingly and then adjust his own contractual situations. You saw him do two consecutive one-year deals, which was important for us in planning.
"That's an extension of the relationship he and (agent) Matt Keator have afforded us, and his legacy with the organization, how much he wants to continue to play, how much he's motivated to continue to play, allows him to take that time necessary."
The Bruins are being patient with Krug, Chara and the rest of their pending free agents, who include goalie Jaroslav Halak (unrestricted) and forward Jake DeBrusk (restricted).
"We run different parallels of rosters and things, [how] that would look like under one scenario versus another, and we try to forecast accordingly, having internal discussions," he said. "I've been in touch with all RFA and UFAs, and I think we've all agreed in some of those cases it's better to just wait."