BOSTON– The Boston Bruins have been in close contact with two important centers this offseason: Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
Bergeron, who can become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, has been undecided on whether he will return to the Bruins for his 19th NHL season since they were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference First Round.
The Boston captain, who will turn 37 on July 24, has also been rehabbing from surgery he had to repair a tendon in his left elbow in June that was expected to keep him out 10-12 weeks.
“As far as Patrice, real positive indications about his rehab and spending time with his family,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. “(He) indicated that he’ll come out in short order to make his declaration, but things are tracking along the right lines there.”
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Bergeron had 65 points (25 goals, 40 assists), including scoring his 400th goal, in 73 games last season and won the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward for the fifth time, an NHL record.
Jim Montgomery, who was introduced as Bruins coach on Monday, said the first call he made to a player after getting the job was Bergeron.
“It was really good. It was enlightening. I felt like I was talking to a coach, not a player,” Montgomery said. “Just how he thinks about the team first, thinks about ways to get better. So, very impressive. It was a very open and honest conversation about how he’s excited about what the Bruins family can do and how I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Krejci, 36, spent his first 15 seasons in Boston but did not play in the NHL last season after opting to return to his native Czech Republic to be closer to his family. There, he played for Olomouc HC and had 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 51 games, but he has never closed the door to a return to the NHL.
Sweeney said the Bruins would work hard to fit him into their roster but that it would be difficult given the limitations of the NHL salary cap, which is set at $82.5 million next season.
“I’ve had numerous conversations with David Krejci about what his plans are,” Sweeney said. “He’s spent a lot of time with his family as well, and his decision could be forthcoming. We’re hopeful that it’s with us. We would welcome him back.”