Bruins

Bruins will miss an injured Torey Krug on power play, but Matt Grzelcyk is a more-than-suitable solution for now

Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

There are very few defensemen that can consistently execute during 5v4 play quite like Torey Krug.

A gifted playmaker with a cannon of a shot, Krug has established himself as one of the premier power-play quarterbacks in the NHL. Since the start of the 2017-18 campaign, there have only been four defensemen (John Carlson, Keith Yandle, Brent Burns and Tyson Barrie) that have logged more power-play ice time that Krug (733:45). 

Only Carlson has more points among D-men during that stretch, while Krug (82 total points) leads all blueliners (min. 500 minutes of 5v4 TOI) with an individual points per 60 minutes rate of 6.71.

Given Krug’s ability to both operate the puck up high and move down to the half wall in search of seam passes through the slot, it should come as no surprise that Boston’s man-advantage has paced the pack over the last few seasons when it comes to cashing in on quality chances.

But what happens when one of Boston’s key cogs on the power play is taken out of the equation?

It’s a scenario that Bruce Cassidy and his club have faced a number of times, given the beating that the 5-foot-9 Krug takes on a regular basis during a grueling NHL campaign. 

Such was the case again on Tuesday night in Philadelphia, when Boston was tasked with slowing down a red-hot Flyers team without Krug and Brandon Carlo — both lost for now due to upper-body injuries. 

Of course, Boston’s power play still has plenty of bite with the likes of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron operating at their respective spots at the left circle, half wall and bumper. 

But if the B’s PP1 unit wants to operate at full strength, it needs at least some form of a stopgap when it comes to a fleet-footed defenseman capable of extending O-zone possessions and serving as a reliable “low-to-high” option.

Thankfully for Cassidy and the Bruins, they don’t have to look very far down the roster to find suitable candidates on the games in which Krug isn’t given the green light.