BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 15: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden on April 15, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Islanders 4-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Ex-Bruins center David Krejci, who left the team to return to the Czech Republic last year, will not return to the team for the 2022 stretch run, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney confirmed Sunday.
“No,” Sweeney said when asked if Krejci is an option for his club. “he’s decided to stay with his family in the Czech Republic.”
The hopes of a Krejci return to Boston were always slim, but the 35-year-old seemingly opened the door when discussing a possible return at the 2022 Olympics, offering a ‘we’ll see what happens’ opposed to an outright denial. The Bruins then missed out on Tomas Hertl, who re-signed with San Jose ahead of the trade, and lost the Claude Giroux sweepstakes, and both things just so happened to line up with Krejci’s Czech League team being eliminated from the playoffs.
Again, it was always slim, but if there was ever a time for the stars to align, it was this past weekend.
But the path on getting Krejci to the Bruins was always a tricky one, with the career-long Bruin requiring waivers to sign with a team after playing in Europe after the league’s December cutoff date. The Bruins couldn’t even work out a ‘have a bad team claim him and trade him to the Bruins’ without Krejci requiring waivers a second time. (Amazing that they’ve addressed this loophole but still let teams stash players on long-term injured reserve and then watch them them magically heal up for the cap-less playoffs.) And for what it’s worth, the belief around the league was that Krejci would not land back in Boston comfortably, with numerous teams prepared to do whatever they could to block a Krejci-B’s reunion.
Krejci, who put up 20 goals and 46 points in 51 games for Olomouc HC this season, could obviously return to the Bruins down the road. He’s been very careful when it comes to the wording of his move to the Czech Republic perhaps spelling the end of his NHL career, and if he does consider an NHL return at any point, it will indeed be with the Bruins.
But in the now, and for the 2022 stretch run, the Bruins will have to look somewhere else.
The top internal options in the middle of Boston’s second line has been Erik Haula since the Bruins came out of the COVID break in January, while Jack Studnicka remains with the club and could see his role continue to grow should he build off Friday’s performance. Externally, Winnipeg’s Andrew Copp remains a name to watch ahead of Monday’s trade deadline.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.