With three players overseas for the 2022 World Championships in Finland, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney hinted at some potential recruiting pitches to ex-Bruins center and current free agent David Krejci.
David Pastrnak clearly heard that loud and clear.
Basking in the afterglow of Czechia’s Bronze finish at the tourney — complete with a Pastrnak hat trick against Jeremy Swayman and the Americans — Pastrnak and Krejci have returned to Prague with Instagram stories aplenty. And Tuesday brought about the most interesting one yet, with Pastrnak filming Krejci and straight-up asking if he’s going to come back to Boston next year.
And rather than any sort of verbal response, Krejci instead delivered a smile that almost takes you back to those Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski videos. And that, of course, gets the mind racing and the hopes up in these here parts.
At this point, there’s no denying that the Bruins would take the 36-year-old Krejci back if he even expressed a slight indication that he wants to return to the NHL. Their attempts to replace him brought about some interesting regular-season production from Erik Haula, but it failed to give the Bruins the push they needed to upset the Hurricanes in round one. That fear-turned-reality was why the Bruins stayed in touch with Krejci’s camp throughout the season, and kept circling back until Krejci made it known that he was going to finish his 2021-22 season with his hometown HC Olomouc.
It also helps that Krejci seemingly opened the door to a potential NHL return prior to the 2022 Olympics when he offered a “we’ll see” about it. But by then it was too late, as Krejci would have had to pass through waivers to join the Bruins, and with ‘informed speculation’ indicating that teams were going to do what they could to block Krejci from a Boston return.
That worry is out the window until December now, though, and the B’s don’t hate hearing that. Especially with No. 46 still looking productive after a season that saw him post 20 goals and 46 points in 51 games for HC Olomouc, four points in four Olympic games, and three goals and 12 points in 10 games at the 2022 Worlds.
As for how the Bruins are approaching it now, it sounds like a wait-and-see from Sweeney & Co. until further notice.
“[It] has to line up for a number of reasons,” Sweeney said of a potential Krejci pursuit earlier this month. “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.”
In the meantime, however, he certainly won’t complain about Pastrnak trying to present it for him.