Bruins defenseman Torey Krug was not invited to Team USA’s orientation camp prior to the NHL season, but the rookie D-man is officially on USA Hockey’s radar.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are in town to play the Bruins on Monday night, and Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma will serve as head coach for Team USA at the Sochi Winter Olympics. There’s at least a chance that Krug is representing the country at the Games, according to Bylsma.
“I can, without hesitation, say he has been mentioned and talked about a little bit based on how he’s played, the start he’s had and what he’s done so far through 23 games,” Bylsma said Monday morning, according to ESPN.com. “So, yeah, we’ve been watching. We’ve got a lot of people out watching hockey games live and on tape. We’ve certainly made note of how he’s been playing and what he’s done on the back end.”
It’s an interesting tidbit to say the least. Just last week, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, who is serving the same role for Team USA, said there are still “approximately” 12 defensemen in the mix for that team. Poile also said that rookie defenseman Seth Jones is in that mix, so presumably both Jones and Krug are part of that 12-man group. Either that, or someone isn’t telling the entire truth.
Poile also said eight blue liners will be taken with the team to Russia.
Krug has certainly made a strong case in the last six months or so. The Michigan native scored four goals and had two assists in the playoffs last season with the big club, and he’s been even better this season. He enters Monday’s game against the Penguins with 6-8-14 totals in 23 games to begin the season.
While he might not be the biggest or most defensive defenseman, there’s no doubting Krug’s offensive skills. He has an incredible shot and has shown he can quarterback a power play, as he’s serving that role quite well on the Bruins’ top power-play unit. His ability to skate with the puck through all three zones may also be attractive, especially given the larger ice surface with more open area used in the Olympics.