The time for hockey is near and David Krejci is here to stay according to a report where he has just agreed to terms with the Boston Bruins for a six-year, $43.5 million deal that starts in 2015. The extension brings Krejci to the age 35 solidifying him as the team’s first line center for years to come and makes him the highest paid Bruins player based on average annual value.
The extension is a great move by the Bruins as Krejci is a player that generally improves his game in the playoffs and makes his teammates better all season. Since 2008, Krejci has averaged 41 assists per season and has been the ultimate set-up man at times.
After struggling last post-season, Krejci will be motivated to live up to the contract. Krejci, along with most of the team, couldn’t score the puck and it led to an early departure from the playoffs. Krejci scored 0 goals in 12 games, had just 4 assists and was a minus-3.
On a well-balanced team, Krejci scored the 11th most points last season among all NHL centers. He had the best plus-minus in the NHL (plus-39) and was sixth in assists. Crosby is the best player in the game and is making an average annual salary of $8.7 million. Krejci’s new contract has an AAV of $7.25 million, which brings him to number nine on the top paid centers in the game behind players like Malkin, Datsyuk, Kessel and Eric Staal.
The state of the Bruins:
The time to lock up Krejci was right now and even though the contract is significantly large, the contract could have become bigger if he performs at a high level this season and that was a risk the Bruins didn’t want to make and they shouldn’t as they are flirting with cap overage penalties of $4.75 million before the extension of Krejci.
The Bruins need to replace Jarome Iginla’s production on the wing, but for now they will try to see if Loui Eriksson can do it. If he can’t, the Bruins could use their surplus of defensemen to get a winger. There are still decisions to be made and as Bruins fans, you have the right to wonder what Chiarelli was doing this offseason.
The Bruins lost Thornton and Iginla quickly and it’s because of money troubles. The troubles were there then and they still are, which is interesting and dumb at the same time. You don’t clear north of $4.75 million by getting rid of a few lower-tier players. Chances are a tough decision is coming for the Bruins and it could be Brad Marchand, who makes roughly $4.5 million, disappointed in the playoffs and still has value around the league.
More likely scenarios have them moving a defenseman because that spot is a bit crowded. With Seidenberg having a no-trade clause and McQuaid coming off injury, the best return would come from Boychuk or Bartkowski, who are both on the final year of their contracts. Moving on from Boychuk scares me because of Chara’s age, but Boychuk will command about $6 million on the market and that’s a number the Bruins probably can’t get to.
Chiarelli is basically going to be forced into a trade and it may be one that’s hard for fans to swallow like the Seguin deal last season. Just be ready. This team, as it stands, has virtually no flexibility with the roster, but the good news is this team can make a strong push for the Cup.