St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug is expected to be ready to go for the 2023-24 campaign after sustaining a foot injury during offseason training, per NHL.com. The veteran defender was reevaluated yesterday, as per the team’s initial plan, and was cleared to play in tonight’s preseason contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The news paves the way for the 32-year-old to assume his usual top-four role to begin the season, in all likelihood alongside Justin Faulk, his partner for the majority of three seasons in St. Louis thus far. Krug is coming off one of his worst seasons in recent memory, during which injuries limited him to 63 games and 32 points, the latter of which was tied for a career-low in a full season. His -26 rating was also, by far, a career worst.
In fact, injuries have become somewhat of a recent theme for Krug. He hasn’t played more than 70 games in a season since 2017-18 with Boston, up to which point he had been a rather durable player. Krug’s healthiest campaign as of late was when he suited up in 51 out of 56 games in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign, his first with St. Louis.
He is entering the fourth season of a seven-year, $45.5MM contract he signed during free agency in 2020, which carries a full no-trade clause through 2025. That clause found its way into the spotlight this summer after Krug reportedly used it to block a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers that ended up going through anyway without him, seeing the Blues acquire center Kevin Hayes at half-price. There is still a chance if the Blues try again to trade Krug in-season if he can rebuild some trade value that he’d waive it for a different team, likely one closer to winning a championship.
Winning a championship is something Krug’s narrowly eluded throughout his career. His breakout came for Boston in the 2013 postseason, which saw them lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final. He joined the Blues in 2020, who were a year removed at the time from winning a championship in 2019 – one that Krug was also on the opposing side of with the Bruins.
Krug being healthy for opening night creates a significant roster crunch for the Blues, who will likely need to waive at least one of Robert Bortuzzo, Scott Perunovich, Calle Rosén, or Tyler Tucker to get under the 23-player roster limit.