The Boston Bruins have a busy off-season ahead of them. One pending unrestricted free agent is long-time Bruin, David Krejci. The 35-year-old had himself another great season this year. The addition of Taylor Hall also benefitted him significantly when it came to his offense. Thus, bringing him back would not be a bad thing at all. It is just hard to predict what is going to occur.
In a recent press conference, Krejci stated that he can’t envision himself playing elsewhere. However, he also said that he is contemplating his future regardless, as he could opt to finish his career back in the Czech Republic. Still, there is a distinct possibility that he ends up back with the Bruins next season.
The Bruins also showed this past off-season that they are not afraid to move on from fan favorites. Of course, the team elected not to bring back former captain, Zdeno Chara, as they wanted to give the youngsters a chance. One can argue that this was not the right move, though, as they struggled significantly throughout the season on the left-side. This was especially true in the postseason.
The Bruins do not have a prospect who is ready to take over the second-line center position, either. Jack Studnicka could eventually hit that point, but it is hard to expect him to be ready immediately. His play at the NHL level this season showed that he needs to develop a little more. John Beecher is their next best center prospect, but he is still working on his craft at the University of Michigan.
The free agent market does not offer much better, either.
If the Bruins aim to look for their second-line center via free agency, they will run into trouble. The biggest name out there is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but he may be out of the Bruins’ price range. This is his chance to cash in because he is in his prime and honestly, he deserves to. Krejci openly stated he is not focusing on salary with his next contract, though.
Phillip Danault is another fascinating player, but like Nugent-Hopkins, he will be looking for the largest contract possible. He’s a very effective two-way forward, but is not necessarily capable of putting up the same offensive numbers as Krejci. Thus, it just does not make much sense for the team to go down this avenue.
With all of this stated, it seems best for the Bruins to extend Krejci. They will not find a player of his skill level who will be willing to take less money. If Krejci wants to stay in the NHL, the ball will be in Don Sweeney’s court.