Don Sweeney spoke with the media via video conference on Friday afternoon in the midst of the ongoing stoppage of the 2019-20 NHL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sweeney shed light on a number of topics, including potential plans to resume play this season, salary-cap challenges and the future of some key cogs in Boston’s lineup. Here are few takeaways in regards to a number of Boston’s upcoming free agents on the blue line:
Sweeney ‘hopeful’ a deal can be struck with Torey Krug:
A lost season due to an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would be a brutal blow to a Bruins roster looking to cash in on its dwindling championship window — with a potential playoff push in 2020 perhaps standing as the best remaining chance for franchise stars like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand to further pad their resumes by hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.
For a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent in Torey Krug, the ongoing lockdown and suspension of all major sports also brings about the fear that he might never don a black and gold sweater again.
A scenario in which Boston re-ups its power-play quarterback was looking awfully promising just a few weeks ago, especially when Boston was looking at projected salary cap jumping up between $2.5 - $6.7 million from its current limit of $81.5 million.
But in wake of the loss of revenue over the past month — and future shortfalls due to the ongoing crisis – there stands a good chance that any breathing room brought on by an expanded cap limit has been snuffed out.
“For me, personally, I really hope I did not play my last game as a Boston Bruin,” Krug said on Tuesday when speaking to the media.
Sweeney concurred on Friday afternoon.
"I would echo those same comments,” he said. “I dearly hope that Torey hasn't played his last game — this year or going forward. 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.”
Still, with the new cap limit for next season still undetermined, Sweeney admitted that any discussions between the team and its free agents have yet to gain much traction — given that all parties are still operating in the dark when it comes to how much fiscal leeway there will be whenever the 2020 offseason commences.
“In a cap world, we have to try and fit the pieces together,” Sweeney said. “We've had very, very good discussions with Torey's group and we just haven't found the landing spot and that's understandable. .. As I've always said, every discussion and every contract negotiation kind of has its own timeline.
“We're hopeful that we will find a resolution with Torey. But at this point in time, we haven't been able to do so. But it's been very amicable and we've made our feelings perfectly clear that we respect and acknowledge what Torey has done and what he’s capable of doing for us as a member of the Boston Bruins and we hope that continues."
Bruins will put ball in Zdeno Chara’s court regarding his future