Bruins Player Preview: David Krejci’s Expected Role, Projected Season Stats

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David Krejci is one of the Bruins’ best forwards and pledged his future to the Original Six franchise by signing a six-year contract extension worth $43.5 million last month.

After a tremendous 2013-14 regular season in which he tallied 69 points (second-highest total of his career), Krejci struggled in the Stanley Cup playoffs with zero goals and only four assists in 12 games.

The veteran center is motivated to make up for that poor performance and play at a much higher level as he enters his eighth season with the Bruins.

Player Vitals
Age: 28
Position: Center
2013-14 Stats: 19 goals, 50 assists, 69 points in 80 games
Contract: One more year with a $5.25 million salary-cap hit; six-year extension with $7.25 million cap hit begins in 2015-16

What He Will Bring The Team
Krejci is a fantastic two-way center. He’s a talented playmaker — his 50 assists in 2013-14 were the second-highest single-season total of his career — and an excellent power play performer. His 19 points with the man advantage tied defenseman Torey Krug for the team lead. Krejci is a quality goal scorer, too, and has netted 19-plus goals in three of the last six seasons.

The 28-year-old forward also excels defensively. He consistently back checks, anticipates plays well and forces turnovers, and also plays an important role on the penalty kill. Krejci ranked third on the Bruins with 45 takeaways and second with a 51.2 faceoff percentage last season.

Even though Krejci’s 2014 postseason performance was disappointing, he’s still among the most reliable forwards in April, May and June. He’s tallied 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) in 93 career postseason games and led the 2011 and 2013 playoffs in scoring.

Krejci’s all-around skill set allows B’s head coach Claude Julien to play him in all types of situations, which makes the Czech center a very valuable player. He was ranked as the 33rd-best player in TSN’s 2014-15 NHL rankings.

Weakness That Must Be Improved
Krejci doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses — just a few small things he could improve. Two of them are road and short-handed faceoffs. He won just 44 percent of his penalty kill draws and won 48.2 percent of his faceoffs away from TD Garden in 2013-14. Krejci also was the only Bruins player to attempt five or more shots in shootouts and fail to score (0-for-5).

Expected Role For 2014-15
Krejci will play his usual first-line center role and remain a focal point of the power play. Without an elite goal scorer on his right wing, expect the 28-year-old center to be extra aggressive in the attacking zone and look to create his own offense more often — we saw Patrice Bergeron try to score more goals last season and it yielded positive results (30 goals, 61 points).

Krejci’s superb defense and penalty killing also will be key factors in Boston’s success this season.

Projected 2014-15 Stats: 26 goals, 49 assists in 80 games

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