Charlie McAvoy hasn't gotten over Torey Krug leaving the Boston Bruins and signing with the St. Louis Blues as a free agent.
"'TK' was one of the first people who took me under his wing right away from the moment I got there. We still work out [in the summers]," the Bruins defenseman said on the Cam & Strick Podcast. "He's just an unbelievable guy. Everybody [in St. Louis] is going to love him. … I'm still sad that he's not on our team, honestly."
Krug played his first nine NHL seasons with the Bruins after signing as an undrafted free agent on March 25, 2012. Since 2013-14, his first full NHL season, he led Bruins defensemen in goals (67), assists (268), points (335), power-play goals (24), power-play points (159) and games (520).
But after signing a seven-year, $45.5 million contract ($6.5 million average annual value) with St. Louis on Oct. 9, Krug, who was an unrestricted free agent, said he had not received a contract offer from the Bruins in about a year.
"It didn't work out [with the Bruins]. I was looking forward to having a conversation with them. It just didn't happen," Krug said.
McAvoy said Krug was one of the players who mentored him when he entered the NHL in 2017-18.
"It definitely doesn't really feel real, showing up to training camp that he's not going to be there," the 22-year-old said. "[St. Louis] got a [really good] hockey player. He's an unbelievably gifted defenseman, especially on the offensive side of the puck. He just sees the game so well. He's going to make the Blues a very good hockey team."
There's a possibility that Boston also enters this season without defenseman Zdeno Chara, who has been Bruins captain since 2006-07 and is an unrestricted free agent. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Monday they have had frequent communication with the 43-year-old but his situation hasn't changed.
"Nope. Same status quo there," Sweeney said. "Waiting to reconnect with (agent) Matt [Keator] and Zdeno. [He] continues to evaluate what the landscape of the League looks like, and we'll see where it goes. We've had constant communication, but hopefully we've got a target date (for this season) here at some point in time in the near future and we'll see what the League determines."
The NHL season is targeted to begin Jan. 1, 2021. McAvoy could have a much bigger role with the Bruins, including maybe replacing Krug on the first power play.
"I'm definitely excited to be where I am and with this team," McAvoy said. "And I'm not really sure what's going to happen. This is kind of like a weird place to be. I [haven't] been in this position since I've been here where it kind of looks like we're restructuring a little bit on the back end.
"No one knows what's going to happen to [Chara] and all that. But whatever the challenge is, I know that I'll be ready for it."