The Boston Bruins are approaching their offseason under the assumption that captain Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will retire at some point this summer.
Bruins team president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney addressed the media Tuesday in Nashville and ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Yeah, I mean, for us, we have to kind of plan like they aren’t coming back until we hear otherwise,” Nelly told reporters. “We would not be doing the organization a service if we planned that they are coming back and then they weren’t. So, for us, it’s kind of two paths going down two paths.
Hopefully, we’ll hear something soon, but we’re certainly going to give those guys the time that they need. I think as a player, you may think that you’re done, but then a month or two into the offseason, you’re like, ‘Oh, what am I going to do next winter?’
Neely also said that both Bergeron and Krejci completely understand the Bruins’ predicament when it comes to their salary cap restraints and building their 2023-24 season roster.
“They absolutely understand,” Neely said. “We’ve been very open, and we’ve told them we understand that they need to take some time to make decisions, but we have to do our jobs, too.”
After the Bruins’ Game 7 loss to the Florida Panthers on April 30, Bergeron wasn’t close to deciding his future.
“I’m going to take some time and talk with the family and go from there,” Bergeron told reporters. “Right now, it’s hard to process anything. Obviously, we’re shocked and disappointed.”
The longtime Bruins center missed the first five games of the series due to injury, and it was also revealed following the game that he played the final two games with a herniated disc. Sources have told Boston Hockey Now that Bergeron’s understandably battered body has handled all it can, and ‘future health and happiness’ and the arrival of a fourth child are playing a major role.
According to two sources close to the situation, who spoke to Boston Hockey Now last week, David Krejci could soon announce his retirement.
“Yeah, nothing is absolute, but that’s where he is leaning towards,” a source close to the 37-year-old center told Boston Hockey Now on Thursday morning.
That came after an NHL source tapped into the situation told Boston Hockey Now ‘He’s retiring’ last Wednesday night.
As the first source quoted here pointed out, nothing is ‘absolute,’ and the last offseason was a perfect example of that. At this time last year, Krejci and Bergeron were in the same situation as unrestricted free agents and uncertain of their situation. The longtime 1-2 punch up the middle and key cog in the team’s leadership core wound up signing one-year, bonus-laden contracts on August 8. Still, multiple sources later confirmed to BHN that their decisions were made before NHL free agency, which kicked off on July 28 last year.
Krejci, who has spent his entire NHL career with the Boston Bruins, acknowledged that he could hang them up after the Bruins blew the 3-1 series lead to the Panthers.
“I have lost some tough years before, but this one I would put probably right next to 2019,” David 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.”
However, Krejci made it clear that he would only play for the Boston Bruins if he didn’t retire.
“No, it’s either come back [to the Bruins] or be done,” Krejci replied when asked if he would still play in Czechia even if he didn’t return 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.”
Right now, it appears he’s going to close the door on a brilliant career, but again, things can change, and Krejci surely showed he could still play last season with 16 goals and 40 assists in 70 regular season games, and a goal and three assists while battling an injury in four playoff games.