It’s difficult for David Warsofsky to avoid. He, too, is on social media. He, too, can see what is happening with training camp holdouts Torey Krug and Reilly Smith. But he, unlike most others following the story of the absent Bruins players, is directly affected by it.
Of course, he’s also trying to avoid being distracted by it.
“I think the more I can keep out of the distraction, kind of not pay attention to it and let it run its course and see what happens [the better],” Warsofsky said. “For me, it’s just focus on myself and go out and practice the way I know I can play and prove myself in games also.”
Warsofsky should get the chance.
“Certainly will be an opportunity for him,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “Similar size and type of defenseman [as Krug], so he should take advantage of it.”
Neither Krug nor Smith, both entry-level free agents, showed up at TD Garden on Thursday for fitness testing.
So while the rest of the Bruins were huffing and gasping their way through shuttle runs and pull-up competitions, Smith and Krug were nowhere to be seen, nor are they expected to show for the first day of on-ice workouts on Friday.
That leaves the Bruins without two of the players who had significant roles in the run to the Presidents’ Trophy last season.
“We want them in our mix,” said Chiarelli, who declined to comment on the status of negotiations, though the sides are apparently not close. “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 [but not in Boston]. They’re not very pleasant, but that’s what we have right now.”
Because they are entry-level free agents and not restricted free agents, neither player can negotiate with another team. But neither player has a contract, the problem being the Bruins’ lack of cap space.
Taking into account the long-term injury exception on Marc Savard’s contract, the Bruins have just $3.218 million in cap space left.
“In an ideal world, to have all your players healthy and present, that would be ideal,” Chiarelli said. “Younger players, older players, if they miss time they’re going to fall behind. It’s unfortunate they’re not here. They’re both good players, both contributed to our success last year and previously. I hope something gets done at some point.”
When asked when he hoped that would be — if there’s a deadline of sorts — Chiarelli declined to comment.
He was happy, however, to comment on Warsofsky, a player he has placed in the NHL-ready category all summer. The 24-year-old got a six-game NHL cameo last season in which he had a goal and an assist. And while his two-way deal makes him easier to ship out than the other defensemen in camp, his skill set could benefit the team, especially if Krug doesn’t sign quickly.
“I think getting a couple games last year and kind of proving to myself I could play at that level definitely gives me a lot of confidence heading into this camp as opposed to others,” Warsofsky said. “Something’s going to happen with a defenseman, and you know just as well as me that no one knows what’s going to happen. But until that time comes I’m just focused on myself and controlling what I can control.”
While Krug and Warsofsky are similar — in terms of stature and style of play — they aren’t an exact match, which is why the Bruins still need to ink Krug. But it isn’t a bad thing to have a potential substitute at the ready.
“They’re a little different players,” Chiarelli said. “Torey, I think, pushes the puck decisions a little more aggressively. I think David goes with the flow a little bit more. They both defend positionally. Torey’s a little more closing on defending, David’s a little more position, so they’re different.”
And there will be an adjustment period. But there likely will also be time to make that adjustment.
“I thought he had a real strong finish last year in Providence, like every time I saw him, he was one of the best players on the ice and he was doing things we were telling him to,” Chiarelli said. “He was moving the puck, he was skating, his escape ability is terrific, like turning the net, and real good vision on the power play.
“So he’s a player that I think is ready. Now, will he be ready for our team? Let’s see how things sort out, but he’s put his time in and he’s a guy to watch, too.”