Krejci centered one of the Eastern Conference’s most lethal second lines, and his impact was impossible to miss. The 23-year-old potted 22 goals and 55 assists for a career-high 73 points
This offseason, the Bruins’ brass rewarded Krejci with the biggest payday of his life. GM Peter Chiarelli threw more than $11 million at the rising star on June 2 to keep him around for another three years.
At $3.75 mil per season, the 63rd overall pick in 2004 draft is a bargain, especially in this day and age of greed, holdouts and busts in professional sports.
“Larry [Kelly, Krejci’s agent] thinks I could get a little more,” Krejci told the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa. “But this is good money for me. I never even dreamed about this much money. I think it was a good deal for me, even if I could get a little more. I’m very happy with the money I got.’’
We can assume that a chunk of that bankroll won’t be going toward a shiny new truck. Prior to one of the Bruins’ final home games last season, Krejci was awarded a 2009 Dodge Ram pickup after fans voted him the 2008-09 Bruins Seventh Player.
“It’s a big truck,” he told NESN’s Jack Edwards upon receiving the wheels. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I’ve got just one parking spot, and that’s my second car. It’s a pretty big one, so I’ve got to figure it out.”
While the truck hasn’t been spotted, Krejci has been in Boston to get some rehab done on his surgically repaired right hip, which was stitched up on June 4 — just two days after he signed back on with the Black and Gold. The 6-foot, 178-pounder was at Ristuccia all week during the Bruins’ development camp, where he got some work done and also got to meet the B’s of tomorrow — players he may very well be skating alongside at the Garden within the next few years.
After another week of strength training with conditioning coach John Whitesides in Boston, Krejci will head back to his native Czech Republic at the end of the month for more R&R — rehab and repair. While he is limited to riding the bike and the elliptical trainer for cardiovascular work, he has been able to do some leg strengthening exercises, despite the occasional hip pain.
As for skating?
“I don’t think I’ll be ready to practice with the guys and be ready for the tests,” Krejci said in the Globe. “But I think I might start skating somewhere in September. I don’t know if in the beginning, middle or end. But I’d love to go on the ice in September.”
When he returns to the sheet, most Bruins fans are hoping a fellow lamplighter will be there, too. Krejci opened up about the negotiating process that left winger and last season’s leading scorer, Phil Kessel, is experiencing with regard to contract demands — something Krejci didn’t have to endure. Either way, Krejci understands the business side of it and is open to whatever happens.
“I didn’t want to take a chance, maybe like Phil is thinking now,’’ Krejci said about holding out for a high price tag. “He’s maybe going for a little more. There might be a chance he’ll get traded. Hopefully, if they won’t sign Phil, they’re going to bring in another guy who’s going to be good, and we’ll have a chance.”
Don Sweeney, Bruins director of hockey operations and player development, held another impressive and inspirational development camp.
“I thought we had a really good week,” counselor Sweeney told bostonbruins.com at the conclusion of camp. “I think the kids really came in and worked hard. No slight against the second year, but I think the first year we had a lot of guys that we had a familiarity with, and this camp had a little bit of that as well. They’ve come really, really prepared to work hard and dive right in. But really, all the groups, I think, have done that and done what we’ve asked them to do.”
The group consisted of 25 prospects –14 Bruins draft picks, four free agents and seven camp invites. The youngsters averaged just a hair over 20-years-old, with 16 Canadians, seven Americans, one Frenchman and one Russian in the mix.
“I like the flavor of this overall group,” Sweeney said. “Some of the guys have now been here a couple of years, and we’ve seen a progression. Maybe why I’m leaning toward them.”
Former BC captain Brock Bradford, the Bruins’ seventh-round selection in 2005, could be shown the door. Although the Bruins still own his draft rights, the former Eagle will become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15. At the time, it is very unlikely that the B’s will keep him around.
“Right now, it’s not looking like we’ll sign him,” Sweeney told the Globe last week.
Bradford scored 25 goals and registered 17 assists in his senior season at BC.
Quote of the week
“For me, getting bigger, stronger and faster is [the focus this summer], and I’ve done that. I want to be a better skater and [have] a better shot. I want to get five to 10 pounds of that good weight, and the guy I really look at in that regard is Krejci. He’s not an overly big guy, but he’s got that hockey strength and that core strength and he’s really got that part of it mastered. Just looking at him in street clothes and in workout stuff, I want to pattern myself after him. He’s really got that strength on the ice to battle guys that are much bigger. He’s able to keep the puck away from them, and that’s what I want to do.”
–Bruins prospect Zach Hamill on his desire to gain muscle
What to watch for
More camp! Now that summer camp is over, preseason camp is slated to begin in early September. Rookies will attend rookie camp in Kitchener, Ontario, from Sept. 5-10 while the Bruins begin their fall tune-up session starting on Sept.12.
The Rangers will host the B’s at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 15 in Boston’s first preseason tilt, and the Bruins will open up the Garden doors for the first time on Sept. 19 when the Rangers come to town for a 4 p.m. Saturday matinee.
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