It’s been almost two months since the Bruins and David Krejci last spoke.
During that conversation with the Bruins, the 35-year-old Krejci made it known that he would be staying in the Czech Republic and playing for his hometown HC Olomouc. But then came the 2022 Beijing Olympics, and an interview where Krejci seemingly implied that a return to the NHL was more of a “we’ll see what happens” than a definite thanks, but no thanks.
“Obviously if I had one year left on my deal, I would be in NHL now,” Krejci told The Associated Press earlier this month. “It just kind of happened to work out that way. Things happen for a reason, I believe, so I’m here now. I’ll try to take the most out of this opportunity and what comes after this, we’ll see.”
You could practically hear the Bruins racing to their phones by the time Krejci finished that sentence.
It goes without saying that the Bruins would need to reconnect with Krejci to see if that “we’ll see” actually means anything or not. And if it did, the bummer for the B’s is that the path to get the career-long Bruin back to Boston is more complicated now than it was before the calendar flipped to 2022.
If the Bruins wanted to bring the dynamic center back, Krejci would need to pass through waivers after signing a contract to end up back in Boston, and there’s a belief throughout the league that Eastern Conference rivals would not let Krejci land back in Boston for nothing and thus block the move with a waiver claim. That’s where the Bruins would almost need a cellar-dwelling team like Montreal, Arizona, or Seattle to claim Krejci and work out a trade.
But if you’re the Bruins, that kind of side deal probably beats the price they’d have to pay to acquire one of the market’s premier talents at the center position — the Flyers’ Claude Giroux, San Jose’s Tomas Hertl, and Vancouver’s J.T. Miller are all names believed to be on the market this deadline — given the team’s laundry list of needs between now and the deadline.
In other words, even a side deal may beat the alternatives in a market full of buyers.
And Krejci would absolutely be walking back into a situation that’d appeal to his desires.
Assuming Krejci simply stepped back into the mix without the Bruins reinventing the wheel, not only would he reunite with Taylor Hall as a formidable one-two on Boston’s second line, but he would also have David Pastrnak on his right wing. That’s something Krejci clearly wanted towards the end of his Boston tenure. As good as playing in your backyard may be, that’s an awfully intriguing option for Krejci, who has repeatedly made it known that he hasn’t closed the door on an NHL return.
Time isn’t on anybody’s side here, of course, and the Bruins are inching closer towards making their calls for external help.
But that call should begin with one last circle back towards the Czech Republic.