The Boston Bruins officially have the cheapest, most effective one-two punch across the league at the centre ice position.
It wasn’t always this case either.
In fact, it was looking very unlikely that the team would even have much depth up the middle once the offseason began.
With captain and 18-year member of the Bruins Patrice Bergeron undecided on his future, and the team remaining rather silent on his playing career in the early summer months, the club announced his return to the fold for season No. 19 on Monday.
Moments later, Boston announced the return of fellow centreman David Krejci on yet another short-term, one-year deal, just one season removed from a year spent playing overseas in his home country.
The Czechia product indicated that conversations with fellow Czech forward David Pastrnak and the gathering of current Bruins teammates at Tuukka Rask’s wedding this offseason put the wheels in motion on his return to the fold for 2022-23.
Both players (Bergeron – 37, Krejci – 36) have already played out their best years of hockey, but return to a team and systems they are familiar with and can keep up with, while helping produce offence and lead by example from both the bench and in the dressing room.
Bergeron opted to sign for just $2.5 million, while Krejci also agreed to a deal worth less than half of his captain’s contract at $1 million.
“I’m extremely excited to be back for one more year with the Boston Bruins,” Bergeron said. “Obviously, it’s an organization that means the world to me. I’ve started here…[the team has] been extremely loyal, and I’ve learned a lot over the years, being a part of the organization. I feel like I’ve grown immensely. Boston is my home… Once I felt like the desire and the passion was there and coming back, and I was getting excited to work out again and to really want to skate – that to me is the indicator that you need to keep playing.”
Later in the day, the Bruins also came to an agreement with restricted free agent forward Pavel Zacha on yet another one-year deal, this one worth $3.5 million.
So for $7 million, Boston had itself quite the shopping spree, lining up some familiar faces with a fresh, young newcomer and the prodigal son for what the team hopes will be a year-by-year basis built on team and personal success.