While some Boston Bruins fans have harbored long shot hopes that David Krejci would somehow return at some point this season and the Bruins have consistently said that they’ve left the door open, it sure sounds like Krejci is intent on playing the upcoming full season in the Czech Republic.
The 35-year-old center had his introductory press conference on Monday in the Czech Republic for the HC Olomouc club he’ll be playing for and said he intends to play in the Czech Republic for the full season without any short term plans to come back to the Bruins.
A muzete si zvykat:) pic.twitter.com/V4G4tDevIJ
— Martin Tomaides (@MartinTomaides) August 23, 2021
“I have a contract for the season that I want to fulfill. I don’t plan to return (to the NHL) during the season,” said Krejci, per Google translate of this iRozhlas.cz article, at a press conference in Olomouc, where the club officially introduced him with his No. 46 jersey. “I am happy to be here, and I am very much looking forward to what the season will bring.
“I’ve been thinking for a long time about what’s next. My [Boston Bruins] contract expired last season, and even though I was focused on Boston, [coming back to the Czech] dragged me home. I played here when I was a teenager, but never for [the ExtraLiga team], which is what I’ve always wanted. It was one of my dreams and I look forward to it coming true now.”
According to the article, Krejci is hoping he’ll also be a part of the Czech Republic Olympic hockey team this winter, with his availability now guaranteed whether or not the NHL decides to send it’s players to the Olympics.
While it’s still technically possible Krejci could play for the Bruins following the completion of his HC Olomouc season in Europe, the playmaking center would have to clear through waivers unclaimed in order to get back to the Boston Bruins prior to the NHL trade deadline. There is zero chance of that happening given Krejci’s caliber as an elite top-6 center coming off eight goals and 44 points in 51 games for the Black and Gold last season.
Aside from all that, it sure sounds like Krejci is going to enjoy the year with his family living in the Czech Republic while he plays, and is looking forward to his children and his wife Naomi learning more about the Czech language and culture that Krejci is so proud to be a part of. With Krejci out of the picture in Boston, it looks to develop into a training camp competition between Charlie Coyle and youngster Jack Studnicka for the No. 2 center position with the big, strong and experienced Coyle holding the inside track on the job prior to camp.
Both Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney and head coach Bruce Cassidy wouldn’t rule out Studnicka, however, as the 22-year-old top prospect has looked bigger, stronger and more NHL-ready this summer while looking to lock down an NHL forward job this coming season.
“The obvious choice is Charlie Coyle. He’s the most familiar with our guys and I’m the most familiar with him, and that would allow the other guys to fall into place. I know [Erik] Haula and [Tomas] Nosek prefer to play in the middle,” said Cassidy while speaking to reporters at Boston Bruins Development Camp earlier this month. “Nick Foligno is a little more of a guy that will move around, so that’s probably how it will play out for him. So, it’s Charlie and Taylor Hall [on the second line], and [Craig] Smith was on that line last year. So, if Coyle can bring some of what [David Krejci] did then that’s going to be a really good line.
“That’s the way we’re leaning, and we’ll see how all of the other pieces shake out. Jake [DeBrusk] obviously on the left side third line behind Brad and Taylor would be a good fit for him to start, and we’ll see where it goes for the other guys. We added some good pieces that can move around. I know Haula and Nosek prefer to play in the middle. We had [Trent Frederic] in there at times and on the wing at times. Then there’s Jack Studnicka and how he’ll fit in. Some of that will depend on his growth. He didn’t get to play a lot of hockey last year unfortunately, and like a lot of young players he missed time because of the COVID restrictions. But he’s also in the mix. He looks bigger and he’s really going to be pushing for a spot, so I have to include him in that mix as well.”