BOSTON - David Krejci has played all 15 of his NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins. As the 35-year-old approaches unrestricted free agency for the first time, he isn't sure he can ever see himself suiting up in another jersey.
"I'm going to need a few weeks to think about lots of things," said Krejci, who signed extensions with the Black & Gold in 2009, 2011, and 2015 before ever hitting the market. "I love Boston. This is my home. I just don't see myself playing anywhere else. But at the same time, we'll see what happens."
Krejci said that contract talks were put on hold during the season as he tried to keep the focus on the ice. That does not mean, however, that the uncertainty of what lies ahead has not weighed on him.
"I've obviously thought about it a lot, not just the last couple of days but the whole season, pretty much," said Krejci, who notched 44 points (8 goals, 36 assists) in 51 games. "It was just, let's focus on this year. Let's focus on making the playoffs. And playoffs, lets focus on making a run. It wasn't because of anything else."
Krejci is 38 games shy of 1,000 for his career, one that already stands out among the best in club history. The Czech native - who ranks seventh in Bruins history in games played (962) and assists (515) and eighth in points (730) - went on to say that at this stage of his career, his next contract will not be about the money.
"I guess that's all I can tell you. My next deal is not going to be based on money," said Krejci, who also ranks second in Bruins history with 124 postseason points and third with 156 playoff games. "We'll see what happens I guess. I don't even know. I talked to my parents, and they asked me, I can't even give them a straight answer. I just don't know right now. I just don't know."
What Krejci does know is that he thoroughly enjoyed his time playing alongside Taylor Hall and Craig Smith, a trio that thrived following Hall's arrival the trade deadline.
"It was amazing. But it wasn't just on the ice. It was just such good guys, too, off the ice," said Krejci. "Smitty's the nicest person ever, and Hallsy - I didn't know Hallsy at all before, but he surprised me. Obviously, we knew what kind of player he is, but he surprised me as a person. We would hang out a lot…we got close. I think we became really good friends. And that carries out on the ice as well.
"If you get good chemistry away from the game, then you come in the game and sometimes you don't have to say anything, you just know how the other person feels. It was great. I love playing with those guys. I love hanging out with those guys. I had lots of fun the last couple months for sure."
Video: Krejci talks on Friday morning at WIA
Hall Hoping to Stay
From the moment he got to Boston, Hall has expressed his appreciation for the Bruins and the city. That has not changed now that the B's season has come to an end.
The unrestricted free agent reiterated on Friday his desire to work out a new contract with the Bruins.
"Nothing's changed since the last time I talked about this," said Hall. "I see a fit and hopefully they feel the same. We'll let the dust settle on everything this year. I'm sure they have a lot of stuff going on and some other guys that have been here longer than me that they have to worry about. Then we'll figure that out, but hopefully we can make something work. That's my goal. Hopefully we can make that happen."
Hall made an immediate impact upon his arrival from Buffalo, notching eight goals and 14 points in 16 games. He added three goals and two assists in 11 postseason contests.
"I don't even know what my value is at this point," Hall said of a potential contract. "I feel like I had two different seasons. I'm not looking to absolutely maximize my value at this point in my career. I've been fortunate enough to make some good money in this league.
"And at this point, it's about more of a fit for me than maybe money, or a long-term thing. You want to find a home for the next few years here and we'll see what happens."
Mike Reilly, another one of Boston's deadline pickups and a fellow free agent to be, said he believes there is mutual interest in trying to come to terms on a new deal with the B's.
"I definitely want to stay here, for sure," said Reilly. "There's been some talks, but since Day 1 it's been an easy transition for me to come in and just get used to everything, how they run the ship down here. It's been great so far, and hopefully stuff can work out."
Video: Hall addresses the media on Friday morning at WIA
Wait, There's More
- Sean Kuraly, an unrestricted free agent, said he has not yet had any contract talks with the Bruins. "It was kind of something that I talked to my agent about and said we'll leave it until after the year, so no, nothing from my end," said Kuraly, who has played all five of his NHL seasons with the B's. "I love Boston. I love the city. I love the fans. I think the best part about this whole thing has been this group that we've had in this locker room. The teammates I've had here, it's all I've known. I've only played here. I don't know anywhere else. This is where I call my home in the NHL."
- Chris Wagner said that the COVID protocols and restrictions made this season extremely trying. "For me personally, I definitely dealt with anxiety that I've never dealt with in my life," said Wagner. "But then talking to guys, you realize that a lot of people are going through that. I mean the whole world is, realistically, with COVID and stuff. Having fans back in the building, it made such a big difference, I thought, for everybody mentally. It makes it more fun to have that buzz around the city. I missed it so much. It definitely gave me a good taste and I can't wait for next year to be normal."
- Jake DeBrusk said that he did not have any lingering effects from his bout with COVID-19 in March, but admitted that it was a "difficult" season. The winger tallied five goals and 14 points in 41 games and found himself sitting as a healthy scratch at various points of the season, including the second round against the Islanders. "I need to revamp some stuff," said DeBrusk. "There were a lot of factors that went into this year. Things that I could control and couldn't control. I dealt with a lot of negativity, as well…my haters had a lot to say this year…my mindset is an interesting place right now. Every year it's obviously different, disappointing obviously while hopes were high. I've disappointed myself, and my team. I'm looking forward to this year, I've got to prove a lot of people wrong."
Video: DeBrusk speaks on Friday morning at WIA