It was only a few weeks ago that Bruins fans were shaking in their boots when the subject of depth at the center position came up. There were two top six holes at the center, with camp just around the corner. The upcoming season was looking grim for the Bruins. Thankfully, those days have come and gone, and the renewed depth the B’s have now at the center is looking cup-ready.
Bergeron is Back
On August 8th, Patrice Bergeron signed a one-year, 5 million dollar contract with a 2.5 million dollar cap hit, with David Krejci’s one-year, 3 million dollar contract with a 1 million dollar cap hit coming in just hours later. The addition of Krejci is crucial to a Bruins team who has struggled to find the right piece at the 2C position since he left the team in 2021. It was a move the Bruins not only wanted to make but needed to make. They needed a cup caliber top 6 and that’s now what they’ve got.
We all know the importance of Bergeron to the first line, especially with Marchand missing from the lineup for the first half of the season due to off-season surgeries on both hips. Without Bergeron’s first-line presence the B’s would have been bailing water all season just to stay afloat. His decision to stay in Boston for another year was an important one for a Bruins team looking to avoid another first-round exit this year and hoping to retain and add depth.
Re-Enter David Krejci
David Krejci is a force. A tried and true number two centerman who deepens the Bruins offensively and defensively and adds sneaky, sleeper value (a little fantasy insight) to a tremendous top 6. So much so that one could argue the day away as to who Boston’s first line even is… We all know the answer, but hey, there is certainly an argument there now!
The ceiling is still high for David Krejci, even as he nears the potential end of his playing career. Though likely not as high as it was in 2018 when he recorded 73 points in 81 games but if that’s the bar, then Bruins fans have nothing to do but rejoice. It was just last season that with ease Krejci put up 46 points in 51 games in the Czech Extraliga league. The man is 36 years old. Pretty impressive.
In 2021 we were lucky to get a short preview of what a Hall-Krejci-Pastrnak line would look like and Boy, was it glorious. There is no questioning the chemistry between these three players. With Taylor Hall being one of the most dangerous off-the-rush players in the league, and David Pastrnak being the sharpshooter that he is, David Krejci’s presence will only magnify the traits of his elite linemates and vice versa. His addition makes the B’s competitive in what one would argue is the league’s toughest division.
Now, it’s easy to spend all day focusing on the strengths of Boston’s top six centers but with Charlie Coyle in his natural 3C position and paired with the likes of Trent Fredric (or Pavel Zacha) and Craig Smith and with options like Nosek, Wagner, Steen, and McLaughlin at 4C; on paper, the B’s have cup caliber center depth and potential through and through. Charlie Coyle is coming off 6 points in 7 playoff games in 2021 and his most points per game since the 2017-18 season. This season could yield big numbers for Charlie Coyle if he continues to build off of last year's game. Also, he adds great value to the Bruins PK2. A spot David Krejci has been known to excel in as well if need be. It only bolsters the B’s playoff potential that all four of their starting centers have playoff experience and play with a defensive style.
Tomas Nosek, one of the now, five Czech-born players on the Bruins roster will likely start the year out centering the 4th line. Nosek has proven himself to be good for around 15 points per season and can fill most bottom six positions if injuries occur or Coach Jim Montgomery needs to shuffle the roster around a bit. The addition of Pavel Zacha this offseason, further adds center depth and versatility.
It’s ultimately the signings of both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci that give clout to the notion that the Bruins' center depth is cup ready. Without those two being part of the equation, the Bruins roster looks lightyears from cup contention. The skill sets that Bergeron and Krejci bring to the Bruins roster are invaluable. Their collective experience is priceless. Well, not exactly… a couple million will do the trick but you get what I’m saying. These guys are the real deal. The fact that the B’s have options at Center in the bottom 6 is a huge plus and seeing important role guys on the up and up gives great hope to Bruins fans everywhere.
Still, nothing gives us a true fighting chance like having Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci as our 1C and 2C. Their signings give the Bruins real cup-contending depth at the center position.
At least for now.