For the last 17 years, Bruins fans have become accustomed to seeing #46 with the eight spoked B on his chest. David Krejci in his younger days served as a first line center and has been an alternate captain for many years. He now faces a very uncertain future as he is set to hit free agency as a 35 year old.
His production has significantly decreased, but Krejci had a resurgence on the second line when left wing Taylor Hall was acquired from Buffalo and Craig Smith moved up from the third line right wing. Before they came together, Krejci only had one goal on the year and his eight other points came from the power play. The second line proved to be a huge boost for the Bruins this season.
To keep or not to keep?
Now this poses a few questions. On one hand, if Taylor Hall comes back then do you bring back Krejci on a one year deal and retain that chemistry in an effort to make one more run at it. If Krejci doesn’t play well, then fans everywhere will be up in arms. The next option is to let Krejci walk and add someone new to the line. If the offense isn’t the same then that is another problem. What are the options if Krejci doesn’t come back? In terms of players they have in house, not much.
One name to keep an eye on is Jack Studnicka, who played mostly in Providence, but got some opportunities with the Bruins as a right wing and center. He is most comfortable and plays better as a center and shifted between the third and fourth line. He doesn’t seem very physical at this point of his career, so the fourth line may not be a good fit for him. Studnicka as a younger player could greatly benefit with playing with seasoned vets.
Curtis Lazar seemed to fit in well with the fourth line this year when he came from Buffalo. Moving him up is a possibility. Lazar also has experience playing right win, yet played very well as a center for the Bruins. Trent Frederic played as a rookie this year and is also a pending free agent. Frederic has not been able to play center at the NHL level. Frederic looked most at home as the left wing on the fourth line. He was able to score a little bit and showed he has an edge. Frederic has seven fighting majors in Providence and got into three with Boston. He fought Washington’s Tom Wilson twice and held his own as well as taking on Brendan Lemieux when he was still with the Rangers. He was also willing to go with Alex Ovechkin. That is enforcer level material.
Sean Kuraly and Charlie Coyle were not good enough as centers or wingers and should not be on the roster moving forward. It would take a lot to clear some salary cap space and get guys like Jack Eichel and Pierre-Luc Dubos. Both are both coming off career low years or close to it and bring playmaking ability and the willingness to hit. That has lacking from Krejci and the center position for a very long time.
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