If the Boston Bruins were seriously considering listening to any trade offers for David Krejci this offseason instead of hoping to lock up the Czech superstar, the team would be going about their franchise plans all wrong.
To put a move like this into perspective, it would be the equivalent of the Montreal Canadiens trading Max Pacioretty or the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Sidney Crosby. Why? Because all three of these players are their team’s leading point scorer, and each would lose a giant chunk of their offensive production if they traded away these players.
So, even though Krejci will become an unrestricted free agent after this season, the Bruins need to seriously consider signing him to a long-term extension and not trade away one of their cornerstone players.
Krejcis’s struggles in the playoffs are well documented, as he and the rest of the first line combination of Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla provided little to no offense in the postseason. In the regular season, Krejci led the team with 69 points, including a team-high 50 assists. And in previous postseason play, Krejci has been an integral reason why Boston went so far in the playoffs. In both 2011 and 2013, he was the leading scorer in the postseason.
The assistant captain was a main reason why the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and fell two games short in 2013. His disappointment a year ago seems to be the outlier in the equation.
It is worth noting that Krejci struggled most with the team speed of the Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings, not because of his lack of speed, but because of the lack of speed on his line. Iginla and Lucic are both extremely talented hockey players, but lack the straight-ahead speed that Krejci possesses. His playmaking abilities end up slowing down the game so his wingers can catch up instead of pushing the pace and scoring on quicker breakouts.
Iginla’s contract remains in question, and Lucic has received his fair share of scrutiny, but trading Krejci would not be the answer for the Bruins.
For a team that lacked scoring in the playoffs, eliminating the top point scorer in two of the last four postseasons seems extremely counter intuitive. The Bruins and GM Peter Chiarelli should focus their primary attention on building a team for this year with their plethora of free agents on hand. But afterwards, their attention should then turn to Krejci in hopes of signing a long-term deal to keep him in Boston into the prime of his career.