Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Torey Krug comes into the Boston Bruins' training camp with a much better chance to make the regular-season roster than he did at this time last year.
The undrafted defenseman from Michigan State made his playoff debut in Game 1 of Boston's second-round playoff series against the New York Rangers last season and scored four goals in five games. It was the first time since the 1967 expansion that a rookie defenseman had scored four goals in his first five playoff games.
During the entire 2013 postseason, Krug showed why he belongs at the NHL level on a permanent basis. He's a fantastic skater, an accurate passer and makes smart decisions with the puck. His powerful and accurate slap shot from the point is a real weapon on the power play, and his ability to make a good first pass out of the defensive zone to evade the forecheck is impressive.
"It’s unbelievable, the poise [Krug] has with the puck," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg during last year's Rangers series. "He’s got great skating legs and he jumps into the open areas. And you saw those one-timers he had the last couple of games. They’re very nice shots. They’re perfect shots. It’s nice to see a guy like Torey to play so well."
Boston has three or four defensemen competing for one or two open spots on the blue line during training camp, but at this point, Krug should have the best chance to remain with the NHL club at the start of the 2013-14 season.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL columnist at Bleacher Report. He was a credentialed writer at the 2011 and 2013 Stanley Cup Final, the 2012 NHL playoffs and the 2013 NHL draft. All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.