He dazzled Bruins fans with his crafty playmaking skillset from his first year in Boston during the 2007-08 campaign. And now David Krejci is returning home to continue his hockey career in his native Czech Republic.
The 35-year-old announced his intentions through a statement with the Bruins organization on Friday.
“Dear Bruins fans:
In January of 2007 when I pulled the Black and Gold sweater on for the first time I was 20 years and was almost 4,000 miles away from home.
Since then, you have embraced me as a Bostonian. I have given everything that I have had to you and the Bruins, and over time, Boston has become a second home to me. I met my amazing wife Naomi here, and our two beautiful children call Boston home. This City and your support are so special to me.
The Bruins organization has always treated me with the utmost respect. I am so thankful for my teammates, the trainers and support staff, coaches and management who have allowed me to be a part of so many great teams. Obviously the 2011, 2013, and 2019 teams stick out, but truthfully I have loved every Bruins team I have been part of.
Since the end of the season, as I have thought about my future, it has become clear that I need to make a difficult decision for my family and I. At this point in my career and life I need to return to the Czech Republic and play in front of my family who sacrificed so much to help me achieve my NHL dreams. I want to play in front of my parents, brother and friends. I want my children to live where I grew up, spend time with so many Czech family members who love them and create lifelong memories.
So for now, I want to thank all the Bruins fans for the support they have shown my family and I over the last 14 years. I will forever be thankful.
This is not goodbye, I will not be a stranger. I will be a Bruin forever. I will see you at the TD Garden soon, and I will always bleed Black and Gold.
Krejci ends his 14-year tenure with the Bruins as the eighth leading point producer (730) and with the seventh most assists (515) in franchise history. He led the team in points during their 2011 Stanley Cup triumph over the Vancouver Canucks and again in their 2013 Cup Final appearance against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Krejci’s departure obviously leaves a gigantic void on the second line. The Bruins spent the first day of free agency adding some much-needed forward depth. Erik Haula and Nick Foligno could get an extended look in a top-six role following after inking their new deals on Wednesday. Other in-house options include Charlie Coyle — fresh of a disappointing 2021 season — and Jack Studnicka — a young and talented prospect who sustained a step back in his development between Boston and Providence last year.
The Bruins could look at outside options like Jack Eichel — albeit unrealistic — to fill that second-line center vacancy. They have a little over $1 million in projected salary cap space according to Cap Friendly. Jake DeBrusk ($3.675 million cap hit) remains a prime trade candidate as part of a salary dump or perhaps a more significant trade package.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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