NHL Off-season
(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the NHL off-season in full swing for the Boston Bruins, they now face several challenges. One of the biggest challenges is that Torey Krug’s stay with the organization seems to be coming to an end after the heartbreaking game five defeat against the Tampa Bay Lighting. Fans could have witnessed Torey Krug’s last game as a Bruin.

The departure of Torey Krug would leave a gaping hole in the Bruins blue line, and there are a few options that the Bruins could pursue to try to fill this gap.

1. Alex Pietrangelo

Alex Pietrangelo would be the perfect replacement for Torey Krug. Alex Pietrangelo has proven himself to be a more than capable power-play quarterback for the St. Loius blues. Yes, he is one year older than Torey Krug, but he would bring more of a size advantage and leadership into the locker room.

With the future of the Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara uncertain, the Bruins could use a large defenseman with leadership skills to replace both Chara and Krug. Pietrangelo carries a similar cap hit to Krug. Both will command around $7-8 million. The Bruins certainly have cleared enough cap space to keep to Krug, and it’s not hard to imagine them finding a way to make a little more room for Pietrangelo.

2. Tyson Barrie

Tyson Barrie just finished a below-average year with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and because of this, he may be a cheaper replacement for Krug. Barrie is about the same size has and is a right-shot defenceman, which could make him a viable replacement for Krug. His last contract was $5.5 million for four years. It’s easy to imagine that he will receive a significant pay raise. Barrie would be a solid add for the Bruins during the NHL off-season.

3. Rasmus Ristolanien

Well, Rasmus Ristolanien is not an offensive machine like some of his peers; he is still a good asset. The Bruins would have to make a trade to acquire Ristolanien, but due to him struggling the past few seasons. Another factor is that he wants out of Buffalo. A potential package could be Torey Krug and a third for Rasmus Ristolanien, a second. Rasmus Ristolanien would bring more size to the Bruins blue line, and he’s only 26, which still gives him time to develop.

Ristolanien only carries a $5.4 million cap hit, and he still has time left on his contract. The Bruins could end up putting themselves in a buy low sell high situation. If things don’t work out with Ristolanien, the Bruins could leave him exposed in the expansion draft.

4. Sami Vatanen

Yet another free agent makes this list. Sami Vatanen is another solid choice for the Bruins to fill in the gaping hole that Torey Krug will leave if he was to depart from the team. Vatanen is roughly the same size as Krug and but he is a right-shot defenseman instead. His previous contract was just shy of $5 million, which is a lot cheaper than Krug. It’s hard to imagine he would receive a much higher pay raise. So, with the Bruins in a potential cap crunch, Vatanen is a slight downgrade from Krug, but that comes with the territory of saving money

5. Tony DeAngelo

A great addition to any team during this NHL off-season, Tony DeAngelo could be a fantastic addition to the Boston Bruins. He is currently 24, so he has a lot of time to grow and continue to develop his skills. DeAngelo is now a restricted free agent, so he would be challenging to acquire. He is currently sitting at just over 100 points in 200 games, making him a very gifted offensive defenseman. If the Bruins could get DeAngelo, that would be a big add for the present and the future.

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