On Thursday, September 4, the Boston Bruins General Manager, Peter Chiarelli, announced that the organization had signed David Krejci to a six-year extension. The terms of the contract mean that his salary will be worth an annual cap figure of $7.25 million beginning with the 2015-16 season.
The forward led the Bruins in scoring during the last season with 69 points (19 goals and 50 assists), winning his first team scoring title. He also accrued a plus-39 rating, making him first in the NHL.
While he appeared to struggle during this past season’s playoffs, Krejci’s regular season included a seven-game point streak that went from October 12 to October 26, 2013 which saw him score two goals and earn 10 assists. Other high points of the past season for the centerman, and assistant captain, included adding 18 multi-point games to bring his career multi-point games to an impressive 98 and scoring his third career regular season hat trick in the March 4, 2014 home game against the Florida Panthers. In total he has five NHL hat tricks, with two having come during the playoffs.
Since being drafted by Boston in the second round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Krejci has played in 504 NHL games, all while wearing the Spoked B. Throughout that time he has collected 378 points (110 goals and 268 assists) with a combined plus-97 rating.
Part of the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship Bruins team, Krejci played in all 25 games, making his personal mark on that season’s playoffs by scoring 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points. With that season and the 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) he earned in the 2013 playoffs, he has led the team twice in the last four postseasons.
Though he still had one year left on his existing contract, it was clear that management wanted to lock him up for the foreseeable future. His contract makes him the third of the core group of Bruins players—the other two being Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask—who are contracted with the Bruins for the next seven years.
In the last few years the Sternbeck, Czech Republic native has been paired with Milan Lucic on what is traditionally referred to as the first line. In the earlier years the third body on this line was Nathan Horton—who after the shortened 2012-2013 season signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets. This past season saw Jarome Iginla join the top line for most of the games. However, Iginla was not re-signed by the Bruins during the off-season—a result of how close the Bruins already were to the cap ceiling.
With training camp starting on September 18, it will be interesting to see who appears to be making chemistry with Lucic and Krejci. Undoubtedly, Head Coach, Claude Julien, will be asked early into camp who he sees sliding into that slot. And just as likely, Julien will keep the press guessing probably right up until the puck drops on the first game of the regular season.
Regardless of the uncertainties of that third forward on the top line, Bruins fans now know that Krejci will be with the team for a long time to come.