December 01, 2011
David Krejci(notes) was mentioned a lot in the last 48 hours. First, for showing some semblance of offensive life in a 6-3 Boston Bruins' win over the Toronto Maple Leafs; notching two assists and his first goal since Nov. 7 while skating with Nathan Horton(notes) and Milan Lucic(notes).
But also for being the answer to the increasingly common question: Who would the Boston Bruins have to give up for Bobby Ryan?
The Bruins have more goodness in the middle than a Boston Crème from Dn'D, and Krejci was set to become a restricted free agent next summer. He heard the trade talk, and told Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com that he didn't like it:
"I love the city. I love the team. Everybody really gets along well. We are winning," said Krejci when asked about the trade rumors. "I like to be on a winning team and I like to have a chance to win the Cup. This is the team, you know? I would like to have a chance to stay here. There were some talk about me getting traded, but I didn't even know about it. I try to focus on my game and stay away from these things."
Those chances increased threefold on Thursday: The Bruins signed Krejci to a three-year deal that TSN's Darren Dreger reports carries a $5.25 million annual cap hit. Stanley Cup of Chowder passes along that it reportedly "has a modified no-trade clause in years two and three: Krejci has given Chiarelli a short list of 6 teams he won't be traded to."
There are some reasons to celebrate this and some reasons to cringe, if the Bruins don't intend to sign-and-trade the guy.
Krejci is one of the team's top centermen. His 62 points and a plus-23 last season were strong; the fact that he led the team in goals (12) during its Stanley Cup run and has 44 points in 52 playoff games is perhaps even more compelling. While his numbers are significantly down this season (13 points in 20 games), it's not like there hasn't been an every-other-year patent developing with him.
But at $5.25 million annually, that pays him more than any other Bruins forward next season, including Patrice Bergeron(notes) ($5 million). (That's against the cap; Nathan Horton makes $5.5 million in base next year.) Both players will be on the books when it's time to ante up for Tyler Seguin(notes) in Summer 2013. The Bruins could have a rather significant amount of cash tied up in the middle of the ice.
Granted, the Bruins had to buy up some unrestricted free agency in a 3-year deal, but a $5.25 million cap hit for Krejci — who is making $4 million in base salary this season — puts him in the top 25 for centers in the NHL, ahead of Ryan Kesler(notes) and in the neighborhood of Ryan Getzlaf(notes) ($5.325 million).
Krejci isn't Ryan Kesler, although one imagines a few Bostonians sneering "ya got that right pal" while pointing to an imaginary Cup ring on their hand.
What Krejci is: a player who has proven as clutch in the postseason as he is at times maddening in the regular-season, and someone that for better or worse is always going to be seen as a portable asset for a segment of the Bruins fan population.