The Boston Bruins have started the season with a 12-8-1 record. The team sits in fifth place in the Atlantic Division, though they have played anywhere from three games to five games fewer than every team ahead of them in the standings. Because of this, it’s hard to tell exactly what kind of team they have. That said, it’s been an average start to the season for the Bruins who are once again depending heavily on the production of their top line and special teams to earn victories.
Outside of the line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, the highest point total on the team comes from Charlie Coyle who has scored seven goals and 13 points in 21 games this season while assuming the role left by former long-time Bruins’ center David Krejci.
After spending parts of 15 seasons with the Bruins and becoming one of the most accomplished players in franchise history, the veteran forward felt it was time to leave the NHL and return to his home country to play in front of his family. The intention to return to play in the Czech Republic at the tail-end of his career was discussed at various points of Krejci’s career, so while it wasn’t a complete shock that it happened, it didn’t make losing him any easier for the Bruins.
While there’s a Krejci-sized hole down the middle in Boston, it should at least give Bruins’ fans solace to know that Krejci is shining back home and making the best of his time playing in front of his loved ones.
In 26 games this season, the 35-year-old Krejci has scored 14 goals and 28 points. To put that in perspective, Krejci is tied for fourth in goals scored in the ELH – just three goals behind the league lead, and seventh in points – just four behind the league lead.
Krejci Shining as a Scorer as Well as a Playmaker
It’s been an impressive campaign thus far for Krejci who has found success at scoring in the ELH at a rate that fans in North America have never seen.
This isn’t to say Krejci has never been able to score goals while playing in North America. Though, known as a playmaking center, Krejci has still always been capable of putting the puck in the back of the net. He’d score 20 goals or more in four different seasons in the NHL while consistently scoring at a double-digit pace throughout his career.
Even going back to his time in the QMJHJL and the AHL, this is the second-best goal-scoring pace of Krejci’s career. The only season he’d score at a higher goal-per-game pace was the 2012-13 season when he’d spend 24 games in the Czech Extraliga, scoring 16 goals and 27 points in 24 games before returning to the NHL following the lockout.
Admittedly, the level of competition is significantly lower in the Czech Extraliga than it is in the NHL and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Still, Krejci was producing excellently even at the NHL just last season. He’d score eight goals and 44 points in 51 games before adding two goals and nine points in 11 postseason contests. Though Krejci may be playing overseas, there should be no doubting his ability as a player despite the fact that he’s in the twilight of his career.
Krejci Will Forever Be a Bruins’ Legend
If we look at where Krejci ranks among all Bruins’ players in franchise history, it’s clear how exceptional of a talent he was for years. Krejci ranks seventh among Bruins in games played with 962, 16th in goals-scored, seventh in assists and ninth in points. He’d also win a Stanley Cup in 2011 with the Bruins.
While fans in the NHL knew that Krejci was a good player for the Bruins, it felt like he was often neglected as one of the most talented centers in the league throughout his career. This is especially true when considering the fact that there was a constant turnstile on Krejci’s wings throughout the back-half of his tenure in the league following the departures of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton (and one season of Jarome Iginla).
Krejci would always play the game at his pace, which was a departure from the direction of the rest of the league. Speed has largely become the name of the game and that’s created some electric highlights over the course of the last few seasons. Still, Krejci always had a knack for slowing things down and creating opportunities in different ways while in the NHL. By all accounts, this style seems to have worked for Krejci throughout his career in the ELH too, which isn’t surprising in the slightest.
It’s hard to say if the Bruins will ever raise the Krejci’s No. 46 into the rafters, but it would make a lot of sense given the level of success he had during his time in Boston. All things considered, his resume alone will forever cement him as a Bruins’ legend. Retiring his number one day would be a fitting end to a brilliant career.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.