David Krejci Is the Playmaker the Bruins Have Missed

NBC Sports

The Boston Bruins won 51 games in 2021-22 and accumulated 107 points for only the 13th time in franchise history. The season ended with a Game 7 loss in Carolina in a hard-fought series where the home team won each game. The Bruins power play struggled, and scoring, particularly in five-on-five play, was inconsistent. Jake DeBrusk provided some offense on the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. David Pastrnak was moved to the second line centered by Erik Haula, who performed admirably in that role. But one glaring need for Boston was a good playmaking center, which was missing after David Krejci’s departure, who went home to play in Czechia in the off-season.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 2022-23 season, and Haula has been traded to New Jersey for young center Pavel Zacha. But more importantly, the silky mitts of Krejci have returned to Boston, giving the Bruins something they sorely missed last season, a true playmaking center. The Sternbeck, Czechoslovakia native, has played 962 career NHL regular season games, all with Boston. Krejci is ninth all-time in points in team history and seventh in assists with 515. If healthy, the former second-round pick will be fifth in games played for the Bruins and will go down as one of the team’s great postseason performers.

What the Bruins missed without Krejci last season was his ability to see plays develop and find goal scorers in position to put the puck in the net. The 36-year-old pivot has had his share of wingers over the years and, except for Nathan Horton and Jarome Iginla, has been without a high-quality right wing. David Pastrnak, a fellow Czech, will begin the season with Krejci after not having much time together with Boston over the years. In the World Championships this past summer, the duo saw what might be this season in the NHL. Krejci mentioned after leaving Boston before last season that he wanted to play with Pastrnak, but former head coach Bruce Cassidy was reluctant to break up the “Perfection Line.”

Now, with new head coach Jim Montgomery at the helm and DeBrusk comfortable playing his off-wing on the top line, the opportunity has arrived for Pastrnak and Krejci to use their chemistry to give Boston two formidable top lines. Fellow Czech Zacha will be the left wing on that line, which dominated play in the most recent preseason game against the New York Rangers.

Boston’s power play last season struggled as the year went on, and Krejci should help Montgomery find ways to solve it. In 2020-21, Krejci was added to the first power play unit late in the season, and it instantly paid dividends. As this season begins, look for Krejci to quarterback the power play as Montgomery uses four and, at times, five forwards on the man advantage.

The Bruins will have to begin the season without leading scorer Marchand, but the return of Krejci should help the Bruins get off to a good start and fill a huge void Boston had last season, an elite playmaking center.

Season 3. Episode 43. Goal Scorers and A-Holes Bruins Benders Podcast

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  1. Season 3. Episode 43. Goal Scorers and A-Holes
  2. Season 3. Episode 42. Long Off-season Week 2
  3. Season 3. Episode 41. Long Off-Season Week 1
  4. Season 3. Episode 40. There’s Always Next Year
  5. Bruins Benders Postgame Live. Game 6 Recap

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