It’s been months since the Bruins last connected with David Krejci’s camp.
Leaving the Bruins (and the NHL) to return to his native Czech Republic last offseason, the 36-year-old suited up for his hometown Olomouc HC, where he totaled 20 goals and 46 points in 51 games, and also played for Czechia in the 2022 Olympics. It was a season-long confirmation that Krejci’s still got it. And for Krejci, it’s now off to the World Championships in Finland, where Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is almost hoping for some NBA-like recruiting pitches from some of Krejci’s ex-teammates.
“David Pastrnak, along with Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark have all traveled over to the World Championships and will play. Knowing how close they are, I’m sure there will be a conversation that maybe filters back to me,” Sweeney offered. “I certainly kept in touch with David and his camp throughout the year. He had hard decisions to make in terms of the promise he had made to his family overall. Just ultimately decided to stay and see it through.
“I’m sure at some point in time if he decides he wants to return, then hopefully I get a call and we can have a conversation.”
The Krejci-Pastrnak connection, meanwhile, has picked up right where it left off upon No. 88’s arrival to the Worlds.
Wake up babe more Krejci to Pastrnak goals today pic.twitter.com/WPWWa9B2VO— Petrov McGuire (@McguirePetrov) May 21, 2022
And it’s one the Bruins would absolutely love to get back together, regardless of Patrice Bergeron’s decision.
With Krejci out of the picture, the Bruins relied on Charlie Coyle and then Erik Haula to pick up the slack on Boston’s second line. The ask proved to be a bit too much for Coyle, who never seemed to gel with Taylor Hall, while Haula did about as well as the Bruins could have hoped, but ultimately struggled when things tightened up in the playoffs. The Bruins have identified center help as a potential area of need entering the 2022 offseason, and there’s no doubt Krejci may be their best bet.
But how likely — if at all — is it?
First of all, I’d throw out Krejci’s criticism of Bruce Cassidy’s refusal to put Pastrnak on his line during his final years here. I don’t think there was a lot of venom behind it, but rather just the always-blunt Krejci’s take on the state of the Bruins. Especially because a move back to Boston would almost certainly come with Pastrnak and Hall on Krejci’s wings. (It’d probably be the best winger duo he’s skated with since Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla in 2013-14.)
Krejci also made it a point to say that he wasn’t leaving forever, and that he’d be back in Boston soon enough. Whether or not that was just a diplomatic way of saying peace out, who knows? The real question here would be whether or not Krejci thinks that one year of being back home is enough for his family and if the NHL itch is still there.
A lot has to align, and the Bruins know it.
“[It] has to line up for a number of reasons,” Sweeney said of a potential Krejci pursuit this summer. “Still looks like he values playing the game and being highly competitive and was highly productive. Seamlessly would probably fall back into knowing what our team is like and what we’re trying to accomplish, but again, it’s hypothetical for me at this point in time.
“I’ll cross that bridge when it’s presented.”
Now comes Pastrnak & Co. convincing Krejci to cross that bridge back to Boston with ’em.