Thursday, December 7 2023

Much like last offseason, the Boston Bruins are awaiting word from Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on whether they will return for another season or retire.

When Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and president Cam Neely met with reporters before the 2022 NHL Draft last July, they sounded fairly confident that Bergeron would return. Sweeney said “my conversations with Patrice have gone well,” and that “I suspect coming out of the draft and heading into free agency that he’ll be in a real good place. We’re excited that he’s considering playing and moving forward with what we think is a positive mindset.”

Neely said at the time that “I’m starting to feel a little more confident that he’s leaning in the direction we want him to lean in.”

They were asked similar questions Tuesday in Nashville — the site of this week’s 2023 NHL Draft — and for what it’s worth, they did not sound as confident in Bergeron and Krejci coming back as they did at this point last offseason.

“For us, we’ve got to really kind of plan like they’re not coming back until we hear otherwise,” Neely told reporters. We would not be doing the organization a service if we plan they are coming back and then we’re told they’re not. So for us, it’s kind of going down two paths. Hopefully we’ll hear something soon. But we certainly want to give those guys the time that they need.

“I think, as a player, you may think you’re done, but a month or two into the offseason, you’re like, ‘Wait a minute, what am I going to do next winter?’ And really, let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than playing hockey or playing a sport. So when it’s over, it’s over for good, for the most part.”

Bergeron recently wrapped up his 19th season with the Bruins. There’s no question about whether he can still play at a high level. Bergeron won the Selke Trophy for a record sixth time Monday night, and he has scored 20-plus goals in 10 consecutive seasons. He remains an elite player. But he’s also accomplished so much in his nearly two-decade career, and he has a young family with a fourth child on the way.


It’s not an easy decision.

“I’ve had some conversations with Patrice,” Sweeney told reporters. “He’s taking his time and he’s going to take all the time necessary. There’s no pressure from the organization. If and when Patrice makes a decision, we’ll respect it. We would welcome him back, whether that’s now or between now and whenever, to tell you the honest truth. He just wants to make a concrete decision for what’s best for him and his family. He has a lot going on. You have to afford him that opportunity. It won’t affect what we’re trying to accomplish as an organization between now and when he makes a decision.”

Krejci came back to the Bruins last summer after not playing in the NHL during the 2021-22 campaign. He played quite well during the 2022-23 campaign, tallying 56 points (16 goals, 40 assists) in 70 games.


What’s the latest on Krejci?

“(We’re) respectful of his process and when he ultimately makes his own decision we’ll react accordingly,” Sweeney said Tuesday.

The Bruins are in a tricky spot with free agency beginning Saturday at noon ET. They only have $10.9 million in salary cap space with just 14 players under contract. Bergeron and Krejci are just two of more than 10 Bruins players eligible for free agency this summer.

If Bergeron and/or Krejci retire, the Bruins will have less-than-ideal depth at center without much flexibility under the cap to make an upgrade at that position.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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