Boston Bruins Prospect Report: Torey Krug

(April 3, 2012 — Source: Steve Babineau/Getty Images)

By Benjamin Woodward (@_BWoodward)

Player: Torey Krug

Position: Defense

2011-’12 Team: Michigan State Spartans (NCAA) / Boston Bruins (NHL)

Drafted: Undrafted Free Agent (Signed March 25, 2012)

Vitals: 5’9”, 180 lbs., Age 21

Hometown: Livonia, Michigan

Camp Observations: At Boston Bruins 2012 rookie development camp, defenseman Torey Krug was the only player on the ice with prior NHL experience. After inking a two-year entry-level contract with the B’s back in March, the 21-year-old was given the chance to practice with the club for the remainder of the 2011-12 regular season and was even inserted into the lineup for two games. This brief stint with the Bruins allowed Krug the invaluable opportunity to learn from the veterans in the Boston locker room and gain the knowledge of exactly what it takes to succeed at the NHL level. The Livonia, Michigan native was happy to pass on what he learned to the younger and more inexperienced players at development camp.

“Coming into these camps as a younger kid, you’ve never been to a camp or you don’t have any experience at the pro level, you have no idea what’s going on. I think I can teach some guys, let them know (how everything works).  I was able to see how to be a pro first-hand watching guys like Z (Zdeno Chara) and (Andrew) Ference, (Johnny) Boychuk, all those guys. I was able to watch them and work together day-to-day. I try to relay their message.” – Torey Krug

First-year camper Seth Griffith (5th round, 2012) spoke quite highly of Torey Krug in a post-practice interview, pronouncing high praise for the leadership qualities he’s displayed at such a young age.

“Torey Krug, he’s played with Boston a couple games last year and he knows what it takes. Some of the younger guys like Subbs (Malcolm Subban), he helps them out and tells them what to do and stuff like that. It’s nice to have those guys around to learn from.” – Seth Griffith

Leadership is no unfamiliar role for the undersized rearguard out of Eastern Michigan. Krug successfully led his Indiana Ice (United States Hockey League) squad to a Clark Cup championship back in the spring of 2009. The following fall, Krug would begin what would be a three-year career at Michigan State, where he would serve as team captain under the regime of not one but two different head coaches (Rick Comley and Tom Anastos).

Future: After scoring 26 goals and adding 57 assists in 114 games for the Spartans, Krug is set to begin his career as a full-time hockey player this fall. As I’ve said before, Krug will be involved in what’s shaping up to be a healthy competition for the final two spots on the Boston blueline, along with fellow youngsters Dougie Hamilton, Tommy Cross, Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky, as well as newly-signed veterans Garnet Exelby and Aaron Johnson.

If Krug doesn’t make the big club out of training camp in September, I’d expect him to be the first man to get the call-up from Providence, should an injury strike the Bruins’ defense.

Potential: Krug is a player cut from a rarely-used mold: an undersized skater who has never allowed his small stature to negatively influence his career. Much like Marty St. Louis, Danny Briere and Brian Gionta, amongst others, Krug should be able to achieve NHL success through the same type of dedication and impressive work ethic that has brought him to where he is now. Admittedly, Krug does need to bulk up a bit in order to adjust to the strength of opposing players at the NHL level.

“I have to learn how to defend bigger guys at this level. Everybody’s so strong. It’s no secret that I have to get stronger. I’m not bigger, so I’ve got to be able to play bigger.” — Torey Krug

Krug has every necessary tool to become a legitimate top-four defenseman in the NHL. His speed, quickness, on-ice intelligence and tremendous vision from the back-end remind me a lot of longtime Philadelphia Flyers’ blueliner Kimmo Timonen. Bringing Krug to Boston at the end of last season was simply an incredible coup for general manager Peter Chiarelli.

Please check out the rest of my Boston Bruins prospect reports, published earlier this summer.

D Dougie Hamilton

D Tommy Cross

F Ryan Spooner

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