To say that I am stunned by the news of Bruins center David Krejci heading home to the Czech Republic would be an understatement. Krejci, 35, is still a very effective second line center in the NHL. But at the end of the day, I understand his reasoning and hope for the best for him and his family. The HC Olomouc ice hockey team of the Czech Extraliga just gained one heck of a player.
With that said, the Bruins are left in a tough spot. General Manager Don Sweeney has done well this offseason to add to the forward depth. But, the Bruins replacing a player like David Krejci is no simple task. Especially when you’re trying to keep your team in the contending window.
With the current roster, there are some in-house names that the Bruins may look to for a solution. The offseason is still young, however. The Bruins may turn to the trade market to find their next top center.
After the depth moves that have been made thus far, a few names stand out in-house that could be up to the task. The first one being Charlie Coyle. Coyle is coming off a rather disappointing 2020-2021 campaign with the main culprit reportedly being a knee injury. That, and a carousel of underperforming line mates as well.
The Bruins need Coyle to get back to the level of play he showed in the 2019 Cup run. If he can produce with linemates such as Marcus Johansson and Danton Heinen, then he should have no problem producing with Taylor Hall and Craig Smith.
Another player that has shown flashes of top six play is Erik Haula. In the Vegas Golden Knights inaugural 2017-2018 season, Haula played on their second line. Playing with the likes of James Neal, David Perron and Alex Tuch, Haula set career highs in goals and assists. Since then, he has bounced around between a few teams. However, he still remains a very solid five-on-five point producer.
The 2017 53rd overall pick has shown flashes of high-end hockey IQ and scoring ability in his time with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Although that has yet to translate at the NHL level, early reports are that Studnicka has added on a lot of weight as of recent. While he might be a long shot for the second line center role, he could slip into the third line if one of the two players listed above get moved up. There is a chance that begins the season back in the AHL.
Mr. Outside Hire
Don Sweeney may look to the trade market for his second line solution. Rumors surrounding the Bruins heading into the 2021 Entry Draft were that they were checking in on Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak. The center has been one of the few pieces the Coyotes have yet to move, but many expect him to find a new home eventually as the team continues to rebuild.
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-Josh Croteau (@_JCRO on Twitter)
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