You can cross “sign a new contract” off Boston Bruins center David Krejci’s summer to-do list. Now he can move on to task No. 2, which is have hip surgery and be available to play for the Bruins as soon as possible this fall.
Krejci, who agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Bruins worth a reported $11.25 million Tuesday, will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair his nagging hip injury. Today during a conference call he explained why he signed a new contract well in advance of becoming a restricted free agent July 1.
“Obviously, I wanted to sign before the first of July 1 and have a summer just to focus to get ready for the season,” said Krejci, who despite the balky hip set a career high with 73 points (second most on the Bruins). “And this was the place that I wanted to play next year and many years. And (general manager) Peter (Chiarelli) with my agent, they got a deal. Me and my agent decided it’s a good deal, and I love the city and it’s a place that I want to play. So I’m very happy and very excited for the next few years.”
So it would seem that Krejci’s third full NHL season will be delayed by his recovery, but he’s holding out hope he’ll be able to skate in the Bruins’ season opener.
“It could happen,” said Krejci, who admitted the predicted recovery time is four to six months. “I might be back for the first game. But I might miss the first month. So it goes how it goes.”
While Krejci’s health factored into Chiarelli’s decision process in terms of a long-term deal for the native of the Czech Republic, the GM said he and the organization are confident their investment will pay off.
“It’s certainly something that you look at … you look at the nature of the surgery. We had a lot of discussions while we were diagnosing this, and we talked with David and his representative and the doctors over the course of probably at least a couple months. It was a while,” Chiarelli said. “He’s a young person, a young man, and he’s a hard-working guy and all the indicators from the medical people that we had look at David were very positive. So you put that in the equation and you make a decision to move forward.”
Once back healthy, Krejci will continue to be a part of the Bruins’ core, one that led the team to the top of the Eastern Conference in the regular season and a berth in the conference semifinals during the postseason. Krejci should continue to blossom and could push Marc Savard for the title of No. 1 center. The best news out of Krejci’s mouth today was that he’s not satisfied with the solid player he has become.
“I think basically everything,” Krejci responded when asked what he’d like to improve on. “I just turned 23 and I believe the best age of hockey is close to 30. And I believe, and I hope, that I’ll be getting better at every area of my game – talking about my shot, skating, get strong. I believe that I’m still young and every year I’ll be bigger, stronger, faster and a better player.”
The Bruins obviously believe that too.