The Boston Bruins are one of many teams in the NHL that still have key restricted free agents coming out of their entry-level contracts unsigned. Defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo are yet to reach an agreement on new contracts just a week away from the beginning of training camp. While their teammate, veteran center David Krejci, would love to see Carlo and McAvoy patrolling the Bruins blueline ASAP, he understands the financial landscape for RFA’s coming out of their first contracts has changed.
“It would be nice to have them here for the start of training camp with us,” Krejci said of McAvoy and Carlo Wednesday. “I know they still have a little over a week to get something done, but you know, lots of players go through that. With me when I was in that position, that was a little bit different, but I understand the game is changing.”
When Krejci came out of his three-year entry-level contract following the 2008-09 season in which he amassed a career-high 73 points (that he reached again for the first time in 2018-19), he was rewarded a three-year deal that carried a cap hit and AAV of $3.7 million per season. Based on the current market now though, if Krejci was a 23-year-old coming off a 73-point season in the final year of his entry-level deal, Krejci would get a minimum of $5.5-6 million per season.
The now 33-year-old Krejci however, holds no ill will for players in McAvoy’s and Carlo’s position, who are rightfully seeking market value and if necessary, will miss time on the ice to achieve that. Maybe McAvoy won’t go from making an annual cap hit of $966,667 and an AAV $1.2 million in his ELC to a contract like that of Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who signed an eight-year extension with a $7.5 million cap hit and AAV, but Krejci doesn’t blame him for trying.
“Obviously, their agents are doing what they think is best for their players and Don [Sweeney] is doing what’s best for the team,” he said. “So, they’re trying to find common ground there. I’m hopeful that they’ll get something done soon.”
So what does Krejci think of the fact that upwards of 15 high-end RFA’s still remained unsigned and the growing notion that this is because teams are trying to curb the ever-increasing second contracts and rotate back towards ones like the one he signed back in 2009?
“Like I said, it’s different than when I was in their position,” Krejci said. “For me, I’m like ‘Why change it?’ but at the same time, the game is changing. Everything around the game is changing too.”