Now that his body of work is longer, David Krejci can no longer be called one of those “primetime” playoff performers.
We know that if the Bruins advance beyond the first round, the club’s No. 1 center can turn it up and set the league on fire. But just don’t expect him to light up the scoreboard in the first round.
Krejci’s 2011-12 season was supposed be about taking his game to another level and cementing his status as a top-line center. He performed to mixed results, capped by just three points (one goal) in Boston’s seven-game first-round series. This after he recorded just one assist in the 2011 first round against Montreal before leading all scorers in points by the time the Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup.
Although they could move Krejci in order to lessen their depth down the middle and add some scoring from the wings, the Bruins didn’t sound too interested in trading Krejci once the dust settled on their playoff loss. Perhaps Krejci will start his new contract extension with a new-found semblance of consistency, and maybe that will be helped by either a new addition on his wing, the return of Nathan Horton or some combination of both.
Regardless, if the Bruins are going to continue to build around Krejci, he cannot keep up the roller-coaster streakiness that has become his hallmark through his first several NHL seasons.
Regular season: 79 GP, 23-39-62, minus-5
Playoffs: 7 GP, 1-2-3, Even
Contract status: Signed through 2014-15 at a cap hit of $5.25 million
Regular season recap
Highlight: In a sign he might be ready to close out the season with a hot streak, Krejci torched New Jersey in a 4-3 win at TD Garden March 1. Krejci registered a hat trick, including the game-winner 2:59 into overtime. He also won 6 of 10 faceoffs and was a plus-2 in the victory.
Lowlight: The Bruins needed some extra offense Feb. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, but came up short 2-1. Krejci was little help with no points and no shots on net in 15:08 of ice time. He also won just 4 of 13 faceoffs.
Playoff recap: Many nights against the Capitals it was difficult to find Krejci on the ice. Like P.K. Subban and Hall Gill the year before, the Washington defense pair of Karl Alzner and John Carlson used mobility and strength to limit the opportunities of Krejci and his linemates. Somehow he skated 17:31 in Game 4 and didn’t record a shot on goal.
Grade: B-minus. Krejci’s career-high goal total and career-high-matching point total were spoiled by his minus-5 rating in the regular season and his Invisible Man impersonation in the playoffs/
Carnac predicts … Krejci comes back to the Bruins, and if he starts the season slow could wind up back on the wing (where he skated a few games last season) or bumped down the depth chart behind Patrice Bergeron and possibly a shift to center by Tyler Seguin.