Here’s the seventh feature on the eight potential unrestricted free agents for the Boston Bruins and whether or not they will return to play with the Bruins in the 2023-24 regular season or beyond.
After 1,032 regular season games, 160 Stanley Cup Playoff games and 15 seasons in the NHL – all with the Boston Bruins – is this it for longtime Bruins center David Krejci?
After spending a season in his native Czechia and playing for his hometown team, HC Olomouc, and after his longtime teammate, friend, and Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron signed a one-year contract, Krejci returned to the NHL last season. The general consensus was that this would be one final run at another Stanley Cup for the two pillars up the middle for the Bruins in the last decade-plus.
Krejci did his part to help Bergeron, and their teammates achieve the ultimate goal as he had his most productive season since the last time the Boston Bruins played for the Stanley Cup and he had 20 goals and 73 points in the 2018-19 regular season. Krejci had 16 goals and 40 assists in 70 regular season games and then had a goal and three assists (including a goal and two assists in Game 7), in his team’s seven-game, first round series loss to the Florida Panthers.
The Boston Bruins have left the door open for Krejci and Bergeron to return if they want but that could be a challenge salary cap wise even if they were to come back on team-friendly deals again. Factor in Krejci’s comments he made while holding back tears in his final media availability of the season, and the feel here is that this was Krejci’s swan song.
“I have lost some tough years before, but this one I would put probably right next to 2019,” Krejci admitted back on May 2. “This one’s going to hurt. Then you have another thing: That could’ve been my last game. There’s just lots of emotions. I don’t even like to talk about it, because we have talked about it with lots of guys in the last couple days.”
Krejci did make it clear that it’s either the Boston Bruins or retirement for him.
“No, it’s either come back [to the Bruins] or be done,” Krejci replied when asked if he would still play again in Czechia even if he doesn’t come back to the Bruins?
“If I come back, it would be [in the] NHL. I did what I did last year and I’m happy I did that. No regrets. But I closed the door, so I will make a decision soon. It would be NHL [and] obviously be the Bruins.”
If this is it for the 37-year-old center that the Bruins drafted in the second round (63rd) of the 2004 NHL Draft, he will have finished with 231 goals and 555 assists in 1,032 regular season games. David Krejci will also go down as one of the best playoff players in Boston Bruins history with 43 goals and 85 assists in 160 postseason games.