Last Thursday, the Bruins announced that they had signed David Krejci to a six-year, $43 million contract extension to keep the team’s top center in town through the 2020-2021 season. The extension, which is set to kick in next season, will make Krejci the highest paid player on the Bruins with an annual cap hit of $7.25 million. There is no question that Krejci has been one of team’s top performers, but should he be the team’s highest paid player?
Regular Season Production
Over the last three seasons, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron have been the top two forwards in average time on ice per game for the Bruins. After finishing a close second, in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, Krejci led all Boston forwards in time on ice. Krejci has certainly made the most of his ice time, finishing among the top three Bruins in points in each of the last three seasons, most notably leading the team in assists and points last year. As impressive as his performance has been over the last three seasons, throughout his career, he has never been a point per game player across an entire season. To put that in perspective, only two forwards with a cap hit of $7 million or more (this year) have never produced a point per game season, those two being Rick Nash and Paul Stastny. If this leaves you wanting more, Krejci has more than shown his worth in the postseason.
As you probably already know, the Bruins have been to two of the last four Stanley Cup Finals. In Boston’s two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, David Krejci led the NHL in points, including putting up 26 points in 22 playoff games in 2013-2014 (for an impressive 1.18 points per game). For better or worse, as Krejci’s offense goes, so too have gone the Bruins. Last season, Krejci and linemates Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla combined for 18 points over 12 playoffs games, as Boston was bounced from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Three years ago, when the Bruins were eliminated in the first round, Krejci was only able to produce three points in the seven game series with the Washington Capitals. While his offensive production has been stellar in two of the last four years, his coach, Claude Julien, has shown the utmost confidence in Krejci, giving him the most ice time of all Bruins forwards over the last four playoff runs. Having signed Krejci to a long-term extension, the hope (and expectation) is that Krejci can find a way to consistently achieve success in the playoffs and, in the process, help bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston.
So between his ice time and offensive production, does Krejci deserve to be the highest paid Boston Bruin? Does his offensive production outweigh the offensive and defensive contributions of Patrice Bergeron? Or the defensive dominance of Zdeno Chara? How about the Vezina worthy goaltending of Tuukka Rask? In my opinion, Krejci deserved to get paid, but more in line with these three, somewhere in the range of $6.5-$7.0 million per. Hopefully he can prove me wrong. What do you think? Did the Bruins overpay? Would Krejci have made more on the open market?