BostonBruins.com - The Bruins have locked up David Krejci through the 2020-21 season, with a six-year contract extension officially announced by the team on Thursday.
Krejci's salary will be worth an annual cap hit of $7.25 million, when the contract kicks in for the 2015-16 season. He has one year left on his current three-year deal. He would have become an unrestricted free agent in July.
The center will speak with media regarding the extension on Monday at 3:00 p.m. ET when he's back in Boston. General Manager Peter Chiarelli is set to address the media on Friday morning at 11:00 a.m.
Krejci joins Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask as Bruins now signed for the next seven seasons, through 2020-21. Bergeron is signed through 2021-22.
Chiarelli has placed an emphasis on extending core players prior to their contract years.
When free agency opened on July 1, Chiarelli stressed the importance of preserving money and cap space going forward for the likes of Krejci, as well as Milan Lucic, Johnny Boychuk, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
Boychuk and Hamilton are both entering the final years of their respective contracts, while Lucic has two more years on his deal. Krug and Smith are currently entry-level free agents, and can only negotiate with the Bruins for 2014-15.
The Bruins are built "strong down the middle, strong in the nets, [with] good character, good core" as Chiarelli has said. Having Bergeron and Krejci signed long-term gives Boston a strong one-two punch down the middle and two of the best defensive forwards in the game, who finished with the top two plus-minus ratings in the NHL in 2013-14 (Krejci at +39, Bergeron at +38).
Since being drafted 63rd overall in 2004, Krejci has gone on to rack up 378 points (110 goals, 268 assists) through 504 games in the Spoked-B. He led playoff scoring in two of the past four postseasons, as the Bruins won the Cup in 2011 and reached the Final in 2013.
Krejci was disappointed in himself after the 2014 playoffs, for not producing at his normal postseason pace, especially following one of the most consistent regular seasons of his career in 2013-14. He put up just four assists through 12 playoffs games as the Bruins fell to the Canadiens in the second round.
"At the end of the day, when the puck doesn't go in the net, that's all that matters," Krejci lamented on the team's breakup day back in May.
His longtime linemate Lucic had tried to take away some of the burden.
"He’s been such a great player for us for so long, and he’s been such a great playoff performer for so long. Everyone goes through slumps, and I definitely don’t feel like he let us down. It’s a team game. We win together and we lose together," Lucic had said.
"Obviously it feels like he’s pretty hard on himself. He’s allowed to be if he wants to be, but at the end of the day, he’s been my centerman for four or five years now. We’ve always each others' backs, and we’ve had success over the last few years."
"Sometimes it just doesn’t go for you, but like I said, you have to have the type of attitude where you don’t accept losing, you don’t accept failure, and you hope that it motivates you moving forward."
Krejci entered the offseason with that motivation, and four months to use it as fuel for the upcoming season.
"I'm going to train just like I never trained before, because I've never had that time. I feel that the break's going to help me and I'm going to come back a better player," Krejci had said.
"I'm going to come back stronger, better - just a better player."
Krejci will also be coming back to seven more seasons as a Bruin.