Whether it was mere wishful thinking or something with actual legs, Don Sweeney has left the door open for center David Krejci to return to the club.
“I think we we addressed some areas that we wanted to,” Sweeney said of Boston’s jump into the free agent market, which featured three forwards (including two natural centers) added to the mix. “Ultimately with David making a decision, we’re wondering whether or not he may return at some point in time. But that’s open ended.”
Wait a minute now.
It hasn’t even been a week since Krejci officially signed on with his new Czech League team, and Sweeney is already talking about a potential return to Boston. Again, this could be Sweeney & Co. simply hoping that the 35-year-old Krejci, who is moving back to the Czech Republic to play in front of his family and friends and have his children make memories with their family, will decide that he misses the NHL and rejoins the Bruins for a stretch run. That would be one hell of a quick turn for Krejci, and obviously come with a gigantic boost to the Bruins, who are aiming to fill his role with a “by committee” approach.
“It’s not ideal,” Sweeney admitted when discussing the second-line center by committee approach. “And we’ll still see if somewhere down the road, David Krejci opens the door back up. But again, that’s his own family decision. There’s no timelines as I’ve indicated before with David.”
Once again, he’s talking about an open door with Krejci. That tells you that there’s a legitimate hope on the B’s end that this will indeed happen at some point in time. (Sweeney also noted that Krejci’s camp gave the Bruins a heads up about their decision during free agency, which is what allowed them to make their moves for Erik Haula, Tomas Nosek, and Nick Foligno.)
There’s a few things to note when it comes to a potential Krejci return, at least if it were to come in-season.
If Krejci plays a game in the Czech League this season, he will be required to clear waivers upon signing with the Bruins at any point during the 2021-22 season. Krejci could (and would) tell teams that he only intends on playing for the Bruins, but a team chasing the Bruins in the standings could put in a claim to simply block the Bruins from getting their second-line center back in Boston. Perhaps this is something that you’d see in another league (NHL general managers tend to have these weird handshake agreements with one another), but it remains a possibility and presents a potential problem for the B’s.
Secondly, Krejci would have to sign with Boston before the NHL trade deadline to be eligible to play in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. HC Olomouc’s Czech League schedule currently runs through Mar. 8, 2022. Depending on how they perform, and the date the NHL settles on for the 2022 trade deadline, that could surely cut it close for Krejci and the Bruins.
But while the hope is clearly that the door between Krejci and the Bruins can be reopened as soon as this season, Sweeney and the Bruins are keeping tabs on anything else they can do to bolster this team’s Cup chances in 2022.
“We’re constantly exploring options and conversations,” Sweeney noted. “The trade situation sort of died down a little bit after free agency. Everyone sort of re-evaluates where they’re at. But there has been some ongoing [talks] prior to that, that we’ll continue to explore. If we can improve our roster, we’re going to.
“I don’t think any team believes they’re a finished product sitting here in August.”
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.