WILMINGTON, Mass. — One key to winning the Stanley Cup is strong center depth, and the Boston Bruins are set up to dominate that position for the foreseeable future with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron signed to long-term contracts.
“To know we have two of the best centers in the league locked up at still a young age is very comforting,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday.
Krejci signed a six-year, $43.5 million extension earlier this week in what should be a great investment for the club.
The 28-year-old center was a second-round draft pick in 2004 and will continue to be a focal point of Boston’s offense.
“He’s been a real valuable player for us,” Chiarelli said of Krejci. “I consider him one of the pillars of the franchise. To get him locked up for fairly reasonable term and value, it speaks to a couple things. One for him wanting to stay and be part of us continuing to win and our commitment to try to keep this successful core together.
“It was a priority. We’ve been working on it for a while.”
Krejci has posted 378 points (110 goals, 268 assists) in 504 career regular-season games and 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) in 93 Stanley Cup playoff contests. Krejci also has an important role on special teams (he led all B’s forwards in power-play ice time last season), plays quality defense and provides leadership on and off the ice.
As for future deals, the Bruins still need to re-sign restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith. The best-case scenario is to finalize these contracts before training camp begins Sept. 18.
“I want them to be part of this team and I want them to have a full camp,” Chiarelli said when asked about Krug and Smith. “In my tenure here, we’ve never had anyone not attend. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t.”
The B’s are $809,143 over the salary-cap ceiling, per CapGeek, which might force Chiarelli to make a move or two before Krug and Smith are re-signed. The team also has the option of putting Marc Savard’s contract on long-term injury reserve to free up $4,027,143 in cap space.
Chiarelli was asked about Milan Lucic’s future, too. The veteran power forward is another valuable member of the team’s core, and he has two more years left on his contract.
“He’s another guy we like. Obviously I consider him a backbone of this franchise,” Chiarelli said. “Eventually we’ll get around to that. We’ve got a lot of things we have to do, that’s the business of hockey. … We’ll get him done when his time comes around.”
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