Is David Krejci worth $7.25 million per season through 2021?
A Czech report that Krejci signed a contract extension with the Boston Bruins was confirmed by DJ Bean of WEEI.com: Six years and $43.5 million for the center, who was entering the final year of a 3-year, $15.75-million deal he signed in Dec. 2011. So the Bruins have him locked up for the next eight years.
(Next time the glass falls on him, he can afford to replace it.)
Krejci, 28, will carry a $7.25 million cap hit throughout the duration of the deal, which begins in the 2015-16 season. His salary breakdown will be $7.25 million for the first two years of the deal, $7.5 million for the next two and $7 million for the final two.
The contract will make Krejci the highest-paid player on the team cap-figure-wise when the pact begins in the 2015-16 season. Sitting behind him are Tuukka Rask ($7 million cap hit), Zdeno Chara ($6.916 million) and Patrice Bergeron ($6.5 million).
He’ll also be the ninth-highest paid center in the NHL as far as AAV in 2015-16.
Aaron Ward of TSN adds that he’ll have a full no-move clause in the first four years and a limited no-trade in the last two years.
As Bean noted, this is actually less than what some figured for Krejci given the way the market’s going. If Paul Stastny received $7 million as an unrestricted free agent last summer, Krejci could have easily snagged somewhere between $7.75-$8 million, depending on the term.
That’s a separate issue than if the Bruins should be committing this money to Krejci.
From a performance standpoint, he’s been north of 0.80 points per game in two of the last three seasons, including a 69-point effort last season playing with Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla. Assuming the 2014 postseason was an anomaly, Krejci is also among the best postseason performers in the East: 73 points in 81 games before last postseason’s four points-in-12-games dud.
He’s got the goods, and he’ll still be productive at the end of this deal.
By committing this money to Krejci, GM Peter Chiarelli has locked up his two top centers through the 2020-21 season, with Patrice Bergeron going one year beyond that.
That doesn’t mean the cap situation won’t be precarious for the Bruins going forward. They now have $19.75 million against the cap committed to their top three forwards in 2015-16, with Milan Lucic up for a new deal in Summer 2016. So is Loui Eriksson. In Summer 2015, Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid are both UFAs, and Dougie Hamilton is onto his second contract.
It might be a bit of a money puzzle. But that’s why they pay Chiarelli the big bucks.
Look, the usual complaints about dollars and no-move protection are going to be raised about this, and the usual couter-arguments about what Krejci would have gotten as an unrestricted free agent will be volleyed back at the critics.
The bottom line: The Bruins have two outstanding centers under contract for a long, long time.
Bergeron is elite. Krejci is right there at the top of that next tier, with players like Nicklas Backstrom. It’s an unmatched one-two punch in the Eastern Conference for the Bruins, save for Crosby and Malkin. And it’s the essential ingredient the best teams in the Western Conference share – Chicago, at times, excepted – to the point where the Blues overpaid for Stastny to get a one-two punch of their own with David Backes.
It's how you win in this League, and it's how the Bruins will continue to win.
No matter what happens with Chara as he ages out of the NHL or the comings and goings of the supporting cast in Boston, they can now building around two great centers and a goalie through 2021.
And that’s a pretty damn sturdy foundation.