Thank you Mike Sullivan

Marc Savard was signed by the Bruins prior to the 2006-07 season to a contract averaging $5 million annually. He was brought in to be the number one center while Patrice Bergeron honed his skills, and he has performed better than the Bruins anticipated. Savard has accumulated 234 points in 198 games as a Bruin, putting him at elite status among forwards in the NHL. Savard is not the top forward on the Bruins, he is not even the top center.

No disrespect to Savard, but David Krejci has emerged as the top pivot, forward, and quite possibly player on the Bruins, the team that has amassed the most points in the NHL.

Krejci was drafted in the 2nd round (63rd overall) by the Bruins, courtesy of Mike Sullivan’s genius scouting. The twenty-two year old center has played the majority of the year on the third line, but has recently received second line honors after Bergeron went down with a concussion. davidkrejciKrejci currently ranks second on the team in points, behind Savard, with 46 points in 42 games, and is on pace for 31 goals, 58 assists, and 89 points. Since mid-November, he ranks second in points in the NHL, trailing only Alexander Ovechkin, the leagues most prolific goal scorer.

Krejci is not the fastest player, he is not the biggest, nor does he have the hardest shot, but finding a smarter player in all of hockey would be a daunting task. Thus renders the comparison to one of the games all-time greats applicable: Wayne Gretzky. That’s right, the great one. Those who have seen Gretzky play can attest to the fact that although tremendously talented, he compiled 200-point seasons through his wit, and ability to think faster than defenders could move. Krejci possesses the same ability (although perhaps not quite to the same extent).

Gary Dineen, the legendary junior hockey coach, once said that you skate from the waist down, and play hockey from the waist up, meaning that having the head, and the hands to play the game are essential components of any players skill. No better example can be found of this than Krejci, who seems to always know where every player is on the ice, whether he is looking or not. Frequently, Krejci seems to slow down the game, holding the puck on the side boards, and waiting for passing lanes to open at his own leisure, without a flicker of panic in his stunningly calm demeanor. “It is a fast game, I don’t necessarily try to slow it down, I just try to make the best decision I can in the time I have,” said Krejci. He has done a good job–when a shooter is open, Krejci finds him, and the pass is normally put in an optimal shooting position.

Okay, the kid can pass, but that alone does not come close to warranting a comparison to a man who scored 92 goals in one season, a record that will never be broken. Krejci does not limit himself to helpers; he can also put the puck in the back of the net, posting the third highest shooting percentage (21.62%, 16 goals on 74 shots)among those who have scored 15 or more goals in the NHL, only trailing Loui Eriksson of Dallas (21 goals, 22.83%) and Alexander Frolov of Los Angeles (17 goals, 22.37%).

Offensive-minded forwards that pay little attention to the defensive aspect of the game have become almost a proverb in professional hockey (see Marc Savard prior to dawning the spoked B). Defying most trends, Krejci plays equally as well on the defensive end of the puck. Despite spreading only 178 pounds across his 6-foot frame, Krejci has compiled a plus 25 +/- ranking this season, which is good for 3rd in the league. He has only taken 10 minutes in penalties. He is a complete player and has found himself frequently receiving penalty-kill time.

This complete player has a bright future, and will most likely lead the Bruins in points with a line in the area of 35-65-100. The only problem with Krejci: he is owed a major pay raise by whatever franchise signs him after this season (he is a restricted free agent), lets hope he continues to wear the black and gold.

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