On July 30th, long time Bruin David Krejci announced his departure from the NHL. At 35 years old, Krejci had played 15 NHL seasons, all of them in Boston. When the 2021 season ended, David Krejci was a free agent. While he did express great interest in returning to Boston, he also knew his career is in its later stages. Krejci wanted to play in his native Czech Republic before retiring from playing hockey and he decided that 2021 would be his last in the NHL.
Krejci’s Legacy In Boston
David Krejci’s legacy in Boston is an interesting one. Krejci was never the center of attention for Boston. In the minds of many fans, he played second fiddle to players like Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron. However, more keen eyed fans could see that Krejci was one of the best players over the last decade in Boston. Krejci had unbelievable playmaking ability from the moment he stepped on NHL ice. Some of the biggest plays in Bruins history started because of David Krejci.
With David Krejci’s career in Boston over, he finishes as the 8th overall point scorer in Bruins history. He may just have a 15 point lead on teammate, Brad Marchand, but being just in the top 10 of this list is an amazing feat. Krejci managed to cement himself among the best players in an almost 100 year old franchise.
Factor in just playoff points and Krejci’s exploits become even more impressive. In the playoffs, Krejci is the second overall point scorer in Bruins history. The only other Bruin ahead of him is the legendary, Ray Bourque. Krejci also lead the entire NHL playoff in points twice in his career in 2011 and 2013. 2011 specifically being the year Krejci helped lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup Championship.
Can Krejci Be Replaced?
In back to back seasons now, the Bruins have lost one more leader from the 2011 Stanley Cup championship. Last year it was long time captain, Zdeno Chara, and now it is David Krejci. While 2021 did see a decent showing from Boston, the team clearly missed Chara on the backend. With Krejci now gone, will similar situation happen with Boston’s forward core?
Krejci was a leader in Boston and it will hurt a locker room any time a player like Krejci leaves. There most likely will never be a player like Krejci again in Boston. Who every does take Krejci’s place will have high expectations to match. At this point in time, centreman Charlie Coyle seems like the most likely candidate. Coyle did struggle in 2021 though and if that continues into 2022, that would a major cause of concern.
Boston could of course bring in a new second line center via a trade. Jack Eichel is still available for trade, but there questions if Boston even can afford him after their recent free agent signings. Those signings did bring in few new centreman to Boston though. Although none have exactly top-6 forward potential. Unless Coyle had fluke bad year in 2021, the Bruins may miss Krejci dearly.
David Krejci, Forever a Bruin
In his statement released on Bruins social media, Krejci wrote; “I will be a Bruin forever…and I will always bleed black and gold.” Not many professional players can say they spent their entire careers with the team they began with. David Krejci gave 15 years of his life to Boston and helped deliver yet another championship to the city. His career numbers may not put him on the Hockey Hall of Fame ballot, but they just may get #46 in the rafters at TD Garden.
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