Krejci/By S. Bradley

Regardless of his availability to the Bruins this season, Marc Savard was probably never going to fall into his top form this season.

So the Bruins needed someone else to step up and serve as the type of No. 1 center that puts opposing defenders on edge and makes opposing coaches worry about match-ups.

By the end of the 2010-11 season, David Krejci was that player for the Bruins.

During the regular season, he tied for the team lead in points despite missing some games due to a concussion. After a slow start to the playoffs, he was lethal when the stakes were raised to their highest levels. In all situations, the line centered by Krejci with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton on his flanks was a threat.

The Bruins had a vision for Krejci a couple years ago when he was starting to come into his own. He’s fulfilling that promise now and should be a mainstay of the organization for the better part of the rest of this decade.

Stats
Regular season: 75 GP, 13-49-62, plus-23
Playoffs: 25 GP, 12-11-23, plus-8

Contract status: Signed through 2011-12 at a cap hit of $3.75 million

Best regular-season moment: Krejci enjoyed a two-goal game against Tampa Bay in December, but probably his best performance came on one rush in Vancouver during the only Bruins-Canucks matchup of the regular season. Krejci carried the puck end to end before he fed Milan Lucic for what turned out to be the game-winning goal against the league’s best team. Krejci was also plus-2 on the night.

Best playoff moment: Remember in 2010 when Krejci got injured against Philadelphia and the Bruins’ second-round series with the Flyers went to crap? Well, this season against that same team Krejci made a statement about how much he meant to the Bruins and the difference he would’ve made had he been healthy in ’10. In Game 1, he registered four points (two goals), in Game 2 he scored the overtime game-winer and in Game 3 he recorded three points (one goal). For good measure, he added an assist in the sweep-concluding fourth game and finished the series with 4-5-9 totals.

Worst moment: Krejci registered just one point, a goal,  in the Bruins’ first-round seven-game win over Montreal. For the seven games, he recorded just 13 shots on net and was greatly outplayed by the Canadiens’ top defense pair of Hal Gill and P.K. Subban.

Regular-season grade: B
Playoffs grade: A-minus. That first round against the Habs and his struggles to generate much on the power play were the only things that tarnished  a stellar championship run.

Carnac predicts … Krejci continues to grow into his role as a two-way force at center and is one of the league’s most-coveted restricted free agents under the new CBA next summer.