By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If I may compare David Krejci to Tom Brady for a moment … Much like No. 12 has played at a high level and elevated his team with an almost constantly changing group of receivers over the course of his career, Krejci has enjoyed a solid career with the Bruins despite playing with several different linemates and not a whole lot of consistency. Since 2009, Krejci has scored at least 62 points in every season but one where he played at least 72 games.
That’s consistency. What has not been consistent is who’s on Krejci’s wing – and he realizes that.
It’s unclear whether Krejci was actually taking shots at Cam Neely and the Bruins front office for their inability to either close deals or retain his linemates with any sort of consistency. Krejci’s right wing, in particular, has been a revolving door. He’s played with Nathan Horton, Jarome Iginla, David Pastrnak, Loui Eriksson, and several others at times. Milan Lucic manned Krejci’s left wing for most of his career, but now he’s gone along with everyone but Pastrnak.
It’s fair to say that the Bruins were not obligated to keep any of these jettisoned players around, but it still speaks to Krejci’s ability to adapt to changes on the roster. He just sounds exasperated at this point to have to continue to work with new players, now that Eriksson is gone to Vancouver.
When asked about the Bruins’ failure to sign Jimmy Vesey, who may have had a spot waiting for him on Krejci’s wing, the Bruins center said “I wasn’t really disappointed with that guy … I heard he’s a good player, but he has to prove himself at the NHL level.” It’s not failing to add Vesey that ostensibly ticks Krejci off, so much as removing yet another reliable winger from his line and forcing him to change – again.
“I was more disappointed that we weren’t able to keep Loui,” Krejci told reporters outside the Bruins practice facility in Brighton after the team’s captain’s practice, the first formal skate of the season. “I felt like we had some good chemistry going. That was kind of a tough time to see him go. But I’ve gotten kind of used to seeing my favorite guys going away … Milan [Lucic], Nathan [Horton], Iggy … so I’m going to have to just play my game and try to find chemistry with whoever’s going to be on my line.”
Krejci added that he doesn’t believe chemistry is something that you can just develop over time between any two players – it either exists or does not exist. This was Krejci voicing his disapproval for the constant interchanging of parts on his line that, entering this season, doesn’t have a clear replacement.
David Backes doesn’t appear to be that guy, as he may be expected to play his natural center position, and if he were to play right wing it would be with Patrice Bergeron and not Krejci. So that leaves a clear opening on either side of him. He’s clearly seeing that, regardless of who ends up on his wing, he needs to do his best to build chemistry that may not be there.
Krejci has been durable for most of his career and his production has been consistent, regardless of his linemates. But as Krejci recovers from his second hip surgery and the Bruins failed to add a clear replacement for his line, he will have as tough a time as he has in his career to find chemistry and consistency – which, again, may not even exist.
Krejci said he is “pretty confident” that his hip will be 100 percent by the start of the season. But whether or not he is the same player he’s always been, his line will not be.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.