By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins center David Krejci is closer to the end than the beginning. And at 34, the career-long Bruin is entering some rather uncertain territory, too, as he has just one more year on his current $7.25 million per year contract signed back in 2014.
But Krejci's tank isn't on empty just yet.
Nor does he expect it to be come 2021.
“We'll see, but I’m not planning on retiring, that’s for sure,” Krejci said in a Monday video conference with the media. “I want to play after that. How long or what’s going to happen, I don’t know. I guess we’ll see what happens after next [season]. But definitely not planning on going into the next season with it being my last.”
Now, this question may seem out of left field, but it was certainly worth asking, all things considered.
It was back in 2014, and after signing that extension worth over $43 million, that Krejci said that he wanted to finish his professional career in the Czech Republic. He felt that the six-year extension he signed with the Bruins would make that decision easier at its conclusion, noting that he saw the B's winning another championship during that window. It would be easier for Krejci to go back to his hometown knowing that the Black and Gold accomplished their goals during his time.
Obviously, and as one terrible night in June 2019 will remind us forever, that hasn't happened yet.
But there's still time for the Bruins to win another Stanley Cup with Krejci manning their No. 2 center spot, which may very well give us Krejci's potential "out" when it comes to retirement talk. You know, that whole, "I'm not retiring from hockey, I'm just retiring from the NHL" kind of thing. (Ask Pavel Datsyuk, he'll know what I mean.) It's also hard to see Krejci, who lives in South Carolina in the offseason, picking up his family and moving to a new NHL city at 35 years old.
It'll also be interesting to see where the Bruins are at when it's time to work out a new deal with Krejci.
Patrice Bergeron, at 35 years old, will be entering the final year of his contract, Charlie Coyle will be in the second year of a six-year extension that pays him $5.25 million per year, and the Bruins will have hoped that high-end center prospects Jack Studnicka (23 goals, 49 points in 60 AHL games) and 2019 first-round pick John Beecher (nine goals, 16 points in 30 games at Michigan this past season) will have made the NHL jump by then. The Bruins will also have to make a decision on Tuukka Rask that summer, and Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy's paydays will loom over the club in a major way. So it's entirely possible that the Bruins either don't have room at the center inn or are asking him to take a major haircut.
That's all stuff that's certainly in "worry about it when you get there" territory for Krejci, who just wants to get another shot at lifting Lord Stanley given the way the Bruins entered the pandemic pause as the league's lone 100-point club.
"We were obviously feeling pretty good," said Krejci. "I understand playoffs is different, you start from zero. But the way we went so far last year in the playoffs, the way we were doing so far this year, we were obviously feeling pretty good about ourselves."