David Krejci has been a franchise stalwart for the Boston Bruins, but despite a really solid career, he hasn’t quite garnered the fanfare that Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have.
Such is life for a player in this era of the Bruins.
Of course, Krejci, a pending free agent, is in the final year of a contract that has made him the highest-paid Bruin for years. Lately, too, he’s been on an offensive tear, posting three goals and a pair of assists in the four games since the NHL trade deadline.
That brings us to Tuesday, when Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy after morning skate was asked about Krejci and whether he thought the second-line center was underappreciated in Boston. And if so, whether he thought it was because of Krjeci’s contract.
Cassidy launched into a thoughtful response.
“I don’t think it’s because of his contract. He’s a guy that’s played well for this team for a long time. Anybody that signs term, there’s always a risk at the end that you might say ‘Hey, this guy’s not’ — and it’s just people having their opinion — ‘He’s not playing like an X amount of dollars player.’ And there could be times in the deal where he’s playing above that number, so a little bit of that goes into those long-term numbers, you’ve got to balance it out.
“To me, ‘underappreciated’ is a good word. I think there’s a lot of knowledgeable people in the New England hockey market — and people I talk to outside of here, quite honestly, people from Canada, friends back home, they really appreciate what David brings. Other people, less so because he’s not maybe as dynamic looking as the Marchy’s and the Pasta’s. He’s not on the penalty kill anymore, so he doesn’t get some of what Bergy gets, the shorties and the 200-foot game.
“But I think what’s really underappreciated with Krech, there’s a couple of things, he’s a great teammate, he really is. He’s low maintenance, he’s trying to make people around him better. And the second part is his defensive game, his game away from the puck is really solid. He’s very positionally sound, probably could be a penalty killer, we’ve just went different directions over the years and even before I got here in terms of using other people, building other people into that role.
“And that’s David, he’s quiet about it. He’s going to accept responsiblity for whatever you put him out there (to do) or whatever situation, he’s a guy that probably could’ve handled more. Now he’s getting a little bit older, so it’s tough to ask guys to play in every facet of the game, we certainly do with Bergy, we do with Krech on the power play, 5-on-5 and driving a line.
“So, no, I don’t put it on his contract. If other people do, that’s certainly their opinion, I think it’s just that he’s more a quieter guy, goes about his business. You don’t see him a lot in front of the media … probably kind of a shy guy, answers the questions and moves on. Some of that is just how he handles himself, as well. He’s not a guy trumpeting himself or looking for extra attention, but I think people in hockey truly appreciate what he does, how good he’s been for the Bruins and what he’s meant to this team.“