A lot of the early offseason talk surrounding the Boston Bruins has included goaltender Tuukka Rask and left winger Taylor Hall. But there's another free agent who is arguably just as important as those two players, and his name is David Krejci.
What does Krejci's future with the Bruins look like?
"I’ve obviously thought about it a lot, not just the last couple of days but the whole season, pretty much. I'm not going to give you an answer right now," Krejci said Friday during the team's season-ending media availability. "I’m going to need a few weeks, think about lots of things. Talk to lots of people. I love Boston. We’ll see what happens."
Similar to Rask, the chances of Krejci playing for a team not named the Bruins next season seem pretty slim.
"Today, I can tell you, it's not going to be about money. And at the same time, I just can't see myself playing for a different team," Krejci explained. "We'll see what happens, I guess. I don't even know. I talked to my parents, and they asked me, I can’t even give them a straight answer. I just don't know right now. I just don’t know."
The Bruins, to put it simply, really need Krejci back.
They don't have another forward capable of playing second-line center to the level that he does. Charlie Coyle is paid like the best third-line center in the NHL but did not have a good season offensively. He could go up to the second line if Krejci departed, but it certainly wouldn't be an ideal situation.
The Bruins also don't have any prospects capable of filling Krejci's role. There was hope that Jack Studnicka could take a huge step forward in his development this year, but that didn't happen. He should get more experience at the NHL level next season, but a top-six position is not something he's earned or is ready to handle.
Bringing back Krejci could further entice Hall to stay. The Bruins had a very good second line after the April 12 trade deadline when Hall was acquired and played alongside Krejci and right winger Craig Smith. This trio played excellent at 5-on-5 to close the regular season.
A short-term deal for two or three years with a salary cap hit around $5 million would be a great outcome for the Bruins in regards to Krejci. It would give the Bruins excellent depth down the middle and buy the team more time to find a long-term replacement.