The Boston Bruins and first-line centerman David Krejci have begun to informally discuss the possibility of a long-term contract extension, according to a report from WEEI's DJ Bean:
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the Bruins have had “casual discussions” with David Krejci‘s camp about a contract extension for the first-line center. Krejci, 28, is entering the final year of a three-year, $15.75 million contract and is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the coming season.
The source said there is an expectation that talks will accelerate in the near future. Historically, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has tried to get deals with his franchise players done before they enter their contract years. Chiarelli did it prior to the 2010-11 season, when he locked up free-agents-to-be Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, and last summer, when he signed Bergeron to an eight-year extension.
A Czech international player, who represented his country at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia this past February, Krejci has led the Bruins in playoff scoring during both of the club's recent runs to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 and 2013.
Over the past five seasons, Krejci ranks in the top-10 (among forwards) in even-strength assist rate and ranks in the top-30 in points per sixty minutes of five-on-five ice-time per stats.hockeyanalysis.com. Put simply, Krejci has managed to produce even-strength points more efficiently than the likes of Joe Thornton and Pavel Datsyuk since the 2009-10 season.
Despite the high-end play-maker's long run of productivity, he struggled enormously in the postseason this past spring. In Boston's 12 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff games, Krejci went goal-less and managed just four points. Even more concerning, he was the single worst Bruins forward - aside from the club's fourth-liners - by shot attempt differential.
At 28-years-old, Krejci is likely past his scoring prime. Still, he remains a top-end, bona fide top-line scoring threat and - despite his struggles against the Montreal Canadiens this past May - a proven playoff performer. If he hits the open market as an unrestricted free agent next summer, he'll easily be the most heavily courted pivot.
Which is why it's really no surprise that the Bruins have no intention of seeing him get there.
[H/T Kukla's Korner]