While David Krejci admitted that the idle time during the coronavirus outbreak has given him a lot of time to think about his NHL career, the playmaking center said he was no plans on retiring when his $7.25 million per year contract runs out with the Bruins following next season.
Krejci will turn 34 years old on Tuesday in a season where he’s posted 13 goals and 43 points in 61 games along with a plus-14 rating. He has managed to remain largely healthy and productive even as he’s entering the mid-30’s portion of his NHL career.
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So it makes sense that Krejci will be looking for at least one more contract either with the Bruins or somebody else.
"My contract expires after next year. Then we’ll see. I’m not planning on retiring, that’s for sure. I plan on still playing. But for how long or what’s going to happen after [the current contract], I guess we’ll see. I’m definitely not planning on going into next season as my last," said Krejci. "I’m aware that I only have one year left. It’s not just this situation, but the older you get the more you appreciate everything.
"The life you have at home [changes], so you appreciate more [the time with] the guys and your time on the road. But then being home you appreciate everything more than before, before I had kids and stuff like that. I really enjoy going to the rink every day and being with the guys. But I also really enjoy being at home, being a dad and a husband. I was living the dream before this situation happened, but I’m sure one day we’ll all be going back to our lives."
It will be interesting to see what the Bruins do after next season when Krejci will be turning 35 years old with the fellow middle-aged Patrice Bergeron still signed up for two more seasons beyond this current one. The Bruins have top center prospect Jack Studnicka in the development pipeline right now and 2019 first-round pick John Beecher could come quickly.
It’s clear the Bruins have their eyes on getting younger at the center position over the next few years and that could mean moving on from Krejci in the twilight of his NHL career.
One byproduct of being a seasoned veteran like Krejci, though, is that you know there are only so many chances to win a Stanley Cup. Krejci and the rest of the Bruins had a prime chance at another Cup run this season as they were leading the entire NHL with 100 points.
"You definitely want to finish the season," said Krejci. "The older you get, you don’t know how many seasons you have left and we were pretty close to the playoffs and having another crack at it. You don’t want to just wash the season off and then start a new one. I definitely want to finish it, especially with the team we had this year at the top of the standings.
"But being off for this long and how many more weeks or months, it’s going to be challenging [when we return]. I don’t think we have any advantage anymore. I don’t think it matters which team finished first and which team finished 15th or 16th."
Clearly the clock is ticking on Krejci’s time in Boston given all of the factors involved even if the Czech center keeps playing beyond his current deal. This postseason, if it happens at all, may be the last, best chance for many of the current, aging core of Bruins players to win a Cup before changes are forced on a hockey team with a window shutting on them.