Flash Hollett, Torey Krug Were Similar Players In Different Eras
Offensive defensemen helped power Bruins to success seven decades apart
Legendary hockey reporter Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for NHL.com. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," shares his humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.
In Stan's monthly "Then and Now" feature, he compares Flash Hollett, a prolific offensive defenseman from the 1930s and 1940s who helped the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup twice, with Torey Krug, a contemporary defenseman whose offensive skills helped keep the Bruins among the NHL's elite for the past few seasons before he opted for free agency and signed a seven-year, $45.5 million contract with the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 9.
Flash Hollett was among the NHL's best defensemen in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s. Among his claims to fame is that he helped the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 1939 and again in 1941. He scored a goal in the series-clinching victory each time.
Torey Krug accomplished a lot with the Bruins more than seven decades later. In 2013, he became the fourth player in team history to score goals in his first two Stanley Cup Playoff games, as well as the first rookie defenseman in NHL history to score four goals in his first five playoff games. He helped the Bruins advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 and 2019.
Though he's small for a defenseman (5-foot-9, 186 pounds), Krug's offensive skills and compete level were among the reasons the St. Louis Blues were willing to sign him to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract ($6.5 million average annual value).
"Krug, first and foremost, is a competitor," said St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong, who got an up-close-and-personal look at Krug when the Blues defeated the Bruins in seven games in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final to win their first championship since entering the NHL in 1967. "He's got real hockey smarts and a quick stick. He plays to his strengths."
Hollett was 23 and in his second NHL season when he broke out with 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 48 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1934-35 -- big offensive numbers for a defenseman in that era. But Toronto traded him to Boston midway through the 1935-36 season; owner-general manager Conn Smythe later admitted that the trade was a mistake -- especially as Hollett continued to improve.