For the first time in his NHL career and at age 35, center David Krejci is an unrestricted free agent, and his future with the Boston Bruins remains uncertain.
According to Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, there is no timeline on when Krejci will let the Bruins know if he will re-up with them or even ink another NHL contract.
“David and I have communicated pretty consistently over the last little while. Nothing has changed on that front. He has his own reasons, and he’s gonna keep those private as am I,” Sweeney told reporters in a Zoom call on Wednesday. “In terms of what his timeline is … we’ve left things completely open-ended about him possibly returning to play for us. So it’s not a definitive timeline. As you can see from several of the signings and the approach we took that the center ice position (is) a little bit by committee that we’re gonna have to do that and allow some players to get into some spots and hopefully perform to the level they’re capable of.”
That comes only a day after numerous news NHL insiders reported that Krejci and the Boston Bruins had reached an agreement to keep Krejci in Black and Gold. Also, does that not sound familiar? This was Sweeney just under a week ago when he addressed the media in his pre-NHL Draft Zoom call:
“I have been in touch with David, and I’m going to respect all of his privacy and decisions at this point in time,” Sweeney said last Thursday. “Has not given further indication, as you referenced before he’s got some things he wants to address. Then he’ll let us know. But yes, I have been in regular communication with David, and there’s no timeline to make decisions.”
It should also be noted that Boston Hockey Now has sent numerous emails to Krejci’s agent Robert Hooper and there have been no replies. Clearly, Sweeney isn’t just deflecting when he indicates that Krejci is – as Krejci himself he told reporters back on June 12 – at a crossroads contemplating his future not only with the Bruins and in the NHL but as a pro hockey player.
“I talked to my parents, and they asked me. I can’t even give them a straight answer,” Krejci said in his end-of-the-season media Zoom call. “I just don’t know right now. I just don’t know. It’s not about money. I guess that’s all I can tell you: My next deal is not going to be based on money. Today, I can tell you, it’s not going to be about money. And at the same time, I just can’t see myself playing for a different team. We’ll see what happens I guess. I don’t even know. I talked to my parents, and they asked me, I can’t even give them a straight answer.”
With all that – and the knowledge that their starting goalie for the last eight seasons, Tuukka Rask, will be out until at least February or March after undergoing hip surgery on Wednesday – in mind, Sweeney and the Boston Bruins went on a spending spree on the first day of free agency. The Boston Bruins signed forwards Erik Haula, Tomas Nosek and Nick Foligno, who at various points in their career, have played center. They also signed defenseman Derek Forbort and goalie Linus Ullmark. Sweeney indicated that until they can either bring back Krejci or acquire another center via free agency or trade, the plan for the middle six up the middle will be to have a committee of centers to replace Krejci.
“With Charlie Coyle coming off surgery — again, we wanted to identify players, and really two-positional players — in Nick Foligno’s case, a three-position player – all of them good on draws, all of them on the penalty kill,” Sweeney said. “Several of them have played power play situations and providing depth throughout our lineup was really important.”
The Boston Bruins GM also had this to say about the new additions:
“Obviously we’ll have some challenges associated with that. But players like Nick [Foligno] and the leadership he brings, Tomas Nosek played in a highly competitive environment in Vegas, and I just think overall, we tried to add to the depth of our group not knowing whether, with David and Tuukka, those unique situations.”