BOSTON -- With the 2014-15 season set to open next week, the cap-challenged Boston Bruins finally got their remaining two entry-level free agents under contract.
The signings end lengthy contract stalemates for both players.
"I think at some point you've just got to get in here and make sure you're prepared for the upcoming season and it got to be that time," Krug said. "We've talked to Peter [Chiarelli] a lot over the last few days and we decided to come to the deal that we reached and we're very happy to be here. I was very excited to walk in the room and see all the guys and be back in this great city. I'm very happy with the way things worked out."
Said Smith: "It was definitely tough. At times, you think you're fighting a three-way battle. You've got your own ideas, your agent is advising how he probably should and they've been in the business a long time and that's probably the advice you should take. The Bruins also have their ideas and ideologies of how they want the whole situation to go, so you're kind of bouncing ideas with everyone. Me and Torey were bouncing ideas off each other the whole time, because we just wanted to get to camp. It seems like it all worked out."
The St. Louis Blues came to terms with Jaden Schwartz and the Nashville Predators inked defenseman Ryan Ellis to a long-term deal last week, leaving Columbus' Ryan Johansen as the top restricted free agent who has yet to sign with his club.
Both Krug and Smith missed the first 11 days of training camp while working out new contracts. Because of salary-cap constraints, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has said since the end of last season that both players would have to accept bridge deals until the team had the money to give the players the pay raises they deserved.
The Bruins were prepared to play without Krug and Smith, and Chiarelli held his stance before the players agreed to one-year deals.
"It took a little while with Torey and Reilly but they're good young players, good individuals," Chiarelli said. "Throughout the process I explained to them that we have some challenges here cap-wise and it's important for them to get here and play, and we'll try to bang out an extension as soon as we can, because they're two young men that we want to have in the mix. They missed a week and change, but they're both always in pretty good shape."
Now that both players are in the mix, it settles a few uncertainties for coach Claude Julien. Once Smith gets up to speed, he'll likely return to right wing on the team's second line, joining center Patrice Bergeron and left wing Brad Marchand.
"It's nice to have them back, everybody agrees on that," Julien said. "Now it's a matter of getting them in game shape. They've been skating, they showed up and obviously look in really good shape, but playing and battling are two different things, so they've got a little less time than others have had to get up to speed with everybody."
Krug will return to the blue line, where he quarterbacked the power play in his first full NHL season during 2013-14. He had 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points in 79 regular-season games.
Smith, also in his first full NHL season last season, recorded 20 goals and 31 assists for 51 points in 82 games.