Krejci

 

According to Yahoo’s Player Ranker, most fantasy GM’s have Krejci ranked 26th among centers. Although he will likely be facing a mild Stanley Cup-hangover, Krejci is entering his fifth full season in the NHL and is slated to line up as Boston’s top-line pivot with all the developmental room in the world to blossom.

 

Krejci really started turning fantasy owners’ heads in 2008-09 with a 73-point season at only 22 years of age.  How impressive is that? A 73-point season last year would have tied him for 15th overall in NHL scoring with players like Kesler, Kane, Marleau, Vanek, Kopitar, and Eriksson. Not a bad list of company. Over the next two seasons however, Krejci would average only 57 points. Although that could be somewhat discouraging, there are certainly some positives to look at as we enter the coming season.

 

Although Krejci scored significantly fewer points in the last two years, both seasons featured a locker room distraction in Marc Savard. Now I love Savard and it’s a travesty that his career is being cut short, but his attempts to return from injuries, then get knocked back out, then resume workouts, and fall back out had fed rumblings and debates about who should truly be Boston’s top center. If healthy, I have no doubt in my mind this spot would belong to Savard. But that’s not the world we live in. The world we live in has Savard sitting out the entire season and likely hanging up his skates for good.

 

This means that Krejci’s only real competition for the top center role in Boston is Patrice Bergeron, a player with a bit of a concussion history of his own. While Bergeron did have a strong season and postseason, Krejci was the man who led the team in scoring in both the regular and post-season.

 

Krejci’s postseason performance was likely the most impressive, where he totaled 23 points in 25 games, which is a 75-point pace over 82 games.  In 2009-10, Daniel Briere was wrapping up a 53-point season when he caught lightning in a bottle scoring 30 points in 23 playoff games. Granted a lot of that can be attributed to the chemistry with his linemates, but it was clear Briere was re-energized. The result was a 15-point increase in the following season, despite an overcrowded offense in Philadelphia. Although Krejci hasn’t shown that he has as high of a ceiling as a player like Briere, he should still be very likely to continue his momentum into the coming season, but with much more ice time to go around.

 

Another thing to consider is that Krejci, who is actually the fourth-highest paid Bruins forward (fifth if you include Savard), is entering a contract year. This should be encouraging news to most fantasy owners because it tells you that opportunity and motivation should both be high.

 

The only Bruins forwards signed further than next season are Savard and Bergeron. While Krejci has the edge over Bergeron, it is important to note that Patrice is no slouch himself, scoring only five and three fewer points than Krejci in the regular and post-seasons, respectively. Not to worry though as Claude Julien is unlikely to break up the trio who formed last year’s top line in Lucic, Krejci, and Horton. Krejci actually skated with these two wingers in 59% of his even-strength shifts last season, which is remarkable consistency.

 

This particular season will be rather interesting for Boston as they have 10 players with expiring contracts, including Rask, Boychuk, Corvo, Peverley, and Krejci.  The good news is that they already have over $5 million in cap space with their current roster though (even including the bonuses from last year’s Cup win), and there is likely some money that could be trimmed in the bottom six forwards. However the team decides to move forward, they shouldn’t be handcuffed with their cap the way some other teams (Chicago, Philadelphia, etc.) have been.

 

As we look to the future, it is possible that one of Krejci or Bergeron would need to be moved to accommodate for the emergence of Tyler Seguin. Since Bergeron carries a NTC for the next three years, we might see Krejci moved next summer or possibly signed to an offer sheet. For the coming year, Krejci certainly has the settings to improve upon last year’s output and could be a top-10 center. If your counterparts are letting him slide, you might want to roll the dice.


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TheRook said:

TheRook
... Krejci is one of those players we often overlook. Nice writeup.

I think Seguin will be fine with Krejci and Bergeron there for the next couple years. I think he stays at C and you see Bergeron start to take that 3rd line C/checker role because of how defensively responsible he is and great on the draw. It will also allow Bergeron to extend his career because he wont be relied on as a scorer, but can still put the puck in the net and played in key situations at times in a game.
September 16, 2011
Votes: +1

Tim Lucarelli said:

duballstar014
... Thanks for the feedback guys!

@Christian, that's awesome news that the Bruins are looking to lock up a deal now. Very smart move by management if they can get a deal done. Look at the Flyers signing Giroux and JVR a year before their contract expired and not having to deal with potential offer sheets or inflated contracts. There are many others following that model.

Personally, I think Seguin would be better suited at C than RW, but you never know. If they are going to try him out there, this is the year to do it, and hey, if it works, they are going to be sitting pretty.

@Jocular - very good points. You could argue that while Krejci is in more of an elite class, he is still young, which could be another factor of a mild 'Cup hangover.' Personally, I only put that part in the article to show that I understand what factors may be working against him, but I am with you - I don't think it will be an issue.
September 16, 2011
Votes: +0

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

JHM
Hang over I foolishly believe that 'Cup Hangover' is a symptom which helps define between the good and the Elite. Thus, the David Bolland's, suffer Cup hangover. They have an awesome playoff and are key in the success of the club. Elite players, however, are on another step of achievement. They expect more of themselves. Their inner being is 'hockey player'. They are a hockey player when they get out of bed in the morning. They are a hockey player all day. They are a hockey player, when they are sleeping.

Does Pavel Datsyuk suffer 'Cup Hangover'? How about Crosby? Krejci/Bergeron, I believe, are Elite (not necessarily as scorers), thus my concern for them suffering 'Cup Hangover' is limited. If you don't believe they are Elite, then I would agree that they are prime candidates to suffer 'Cup Hangover'.

I wouldn't be afraid to hitch my cart to Krejci.
September 16, 2011
Votes: +0

Warren Viegas said:

Banshee
... Of course, Boston should give credit to it's GM Brian Burke for taking Kessel of their hands and handing them 2 top, cheap prospects.
September 15, 2011
Votes: +0

Christian Bergeron said:

cbergeron
... Nice article - thanks!

There are rumours that Krejci and the Bruins are in contract talks right now.

http://www.csnne.com/09/13/11/Bruins-reportedly-open-negotiations-with/landing_bruins.html?blockID=563301&feedID=3352

It surprised me a little bit to hear that yesterday given the fact that I was expecting Seguin to be given one of the top 2 C spots in 2012-13. Assuming the Bruins re-sign Krejci, could Seguin be moved to the wing instead?

Another observation is that out of Krejci's 62 pts last season, only 12 were on the power play. To me, this indicates growth potential, assuming the Bruins can get something going on the PP this year.

Thanks again for a great read!

September 15, 2011
Votes: +1
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