BOSTON — The Bruins began training camp Thursday at TD Garden with off-ice testing, but much of the buzz surrounded two players who weren’t there.
Defenseman Torey Krug and right winger Reilly Smith are unsigned as restricted free agents. Neither is eligible for arbitration and cannot negotiate with other teams (no offer sheets) because they played less than 10 games in their first NHL season.
“I won’t comment on negotiations. We want them in our mix,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “As it’s been chronicled, we’ve never had that type of player not signed and not come to camp. I’ve been through a few of them in my time. They’re not very pleasant, but that’s what we have right now.”
Chiarelli also was asked if there was a deadline in these negotiations, and he declined to comment.
“Younger players, older players, if they miss time, they’re going to fall behind,” Chiarelli said. “It’s unfortunate they’re not here, they’re both good players, they both contributed to our success last year. I hope something gets done at some point.”
The Bruins are $809,143 over the salary cap, per CapGeek. The team will receive a little more than $4 million in cap relief when Marc Savard’s contract goes on long-term injury reserve (LTIR), but that’s not expected to be enough space to re-sign both Krug and Smith.
Smith arrived in Boston as part of the Tyler Seguin trade with the Dallas Stars in July 2013, and he quickly emerged as a top-six player at right wing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Smith set career highs in goals (20), assists (31), points (51) and games played (82) last season, and he posted five points (four goals, one assist) in 12 Stanley Cup playoff games.
Krug led all NHL rookie defensemen in scoring last season with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 79 games. He became a vital part of the Bruins’ power play, which showed remarkable improvement and ranked third with a 21.7 percent success rate. The 23-year-old undrafted college free agent led the Bruins in scoring with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in the 2014 playoffs.
Both players are coming off entry-level contracts that began in 2011-12.
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