Krejci aiming for more shots, goals this season

191545.jpg

Krejci aiming for more shots, goals this season

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON -- Some of the Bruins playoff stats can be pretty eye-opening when placed under the microscope.

Some players regressed away from their regular-season performance, some maintained their body of work, and some ascended to a truly different level amid the Stanley Cup playoff battleground.

David Krejci is in the latter category, and he knows it. The 25-year-old playmaking center managed only 13 goals and 62 points in 73 regular-season games for the Bruins last year.

It wasnt a bad season at all.

But it could have been better for Krejci had an early season concussion and a brief Marc Savard return a move that temporarily displaced him as the No. 1 center -- not negatively affected his offensive numbers. That much was obvious when Krejci led all skaters with 12 goals during the Bs Stanley Cup playoff run a total that was only one less than he managed in more than 70 games during the regular season.

Krejci was well aware of the numbers, and admitted that getting more aggressive with his own offense is something hes focused on heading into the final season of his contract.

Im going to try to carry the momentum of what I had in the playoffs. Ill try to score some goals, said Krejci. Im going to shoot a lot. Im not going to pass up on any shots this year. Its easy to say, but Ive got to show it on the ice so weve just got to wait and see.

Theres also a matter of gaining more consistency in his game, and showing the same kind of want to during a December game against the Florida Panthers as he has once the playoffs begin.

If youre satisfied with your play, then that it isnt good enough. Youve always got to be better. I know I can be better in every single situation, said Krejci, who is often his worst critic in most instances. Get my speed, get stronger, and especially score more goals this year than I did last year in the regular season. Thats where Im going to focus, and it all starts with a strong camp and a good start to the season.

The numbers would seem to indicate that Krejci will score more this season given that he managed a career-high 157 shots on net last season, and trouble finishing around the net led to scoring on only 8.3 percent of those shots. Combined with shooting percentage totals of 10.9 percent (2009-10) and 15.1 percent (2008-09) over the previous two seasons, Krejci should have no problem pumping in close to 20 goals skating with Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic for a full season.

Coach Claude Julien drew a parallel to Savards battle with shooting versus passing, and the aggressiveness that can take opponents armed with their pass first scouting reports -- by surprise when Krejci attacks the net. That happened over and over during the playoffs when defenses paid plenty of attention to Horton and Lucic on his wings, and left Krejci with room to operate.

I think the Stanley Cup playoffs is where he gained a lot of that confidence," Julien said. "He realized he can do it in the playoffs he scored almost as many in the playoffs as he did during the regular season and it was because he decided to shoot more and went more to the net. There was a little bit more determination in that area. I think he realized that hes capable of doing that. I see a guy probably improving with those numbers this year especially if he understands it and focuses on it.

Youre going to see him shoot a little more and we need that from David. There were times last year where he had some great scoring areas and chose to pass instead of shoot. We had that issue with Savvy Marc Savard at one point, he always looked to pass before shooting. Those guys know that they do that, but breaking them out of the habit is tougher than realizing it.

Krejci need only review some of the game tape from last years playoff run to witness how much tougher he is to handle when looking for his own offense, and make it just as hard on the rest of the NHL as he did during the postseason.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

McQuaid on going in the NHL expansion draft: ‘I hope that’s not the case for me’

McQuaid on going in the NHL expansion draft: ‘I hope that’s not the case for me’

BOSTON – With the NHL expansion draft looming a couple of months in the future, it became much more of a reality for the Bruins this week now that the 2016-17 season is in the books.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney said on Thursday that he expects the Bruins to go the 7 (forwards) 3 (defensemen) 1 (goaltender) route protecting their roster from the June 21 expansion draft. That will still leave some useful roster players unprotected.

MORE BRUINS

Atop that available expansion list for the Bruins will be potential names Malcolm Subban, Riley Nash, Jimmy Hayes and Adam McQuaid, who could be headed to Vegas. Asked about the topic at this week’s breakup day for the players, McQuaid expressed his hopes that he isn’t the one selected by the Vegas Golden Knights. The 30-year-old McQuaid stayed healthy enough to play in 77 games this season, and posted two goals and 10 points along with a plus-4 while serving in a top-four role pretty much all season as Torey Krug’s defensive partner.

McQuaid also brought the toughness and quiet leadership element with his willingness to always stand up for his teammates and go toe-to-toe with the toughest guys in the league when it was called for. His midseason heavyweight bout with Matt Martin was one of the most memorable moments of the season. It’s an element the Bruins would miss if he was taken in the expansion draft.  

“Well, I hope not. I never thought of it that way, to be honest with you. Obviously, the reality of the situation is they’re picking somebody from every team,” said McQuaid. “So, I hope that’s not the case for me. I’ve won here and I’ve always said how much I love it back here. I can’t imagine playing for another team. It’s totally out of my control, but hopefully that’s not the case.”

McQuaid is signed for $2.75 million for the next seasons and it was clear he was missed on the penalty kill once he went down injured in the first-round series against the Ottawa Senators. As for the entire expansion process, Sweeney said they are currently whittling down the protected list while required to protect Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to start by virtue of the no-movement language in their contracts.

Other young players, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano among others, don’t need to be protected either after completing this season with two years or less of pro hockey experience. One of the most difficult decisions will come down to protecting either 25-year-old Colin Miller or 28-year-old Kevan Miller as the third defensemen. 

Whichever one of those D-men is left unprotected would join McQuaid as the most likely player to be selected by Vegas GM George McPhee after he spent a decent amount of time scouting the Black and Gold this season to get an idea of which player he wanted.

Here’s our best guess at which players will end up being protected by the Bruins:

Forwards (7): Bergeron, Krejci, Backes, Pastrnak, Marchand, Beleskey and Spooner

Defensemen (3): Chara, Krug and Colin Miller

Goaltender (1): Rask 


 

Friday, April 28: Why combine NHL Awards with expansion draft?

Friday, April 28: Why combine NHL Awards with expansion draft?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while hoping that Bruce Cassidy does a regular call-in to the Toucher and Rich Show next season. It’s a treat for Bruins fans. Cassidy is a straight shooter and has a great personality as well.

*Puck Daddy explains why the NHL is cramming the expansion draft for Vegas in with the NHL Awards show. I feel like this kind of makes sense because they’re both Vegas-centric.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ian Mendes says there’s no playoff fever in Ottawa and instead only a “Sens malaise.” It’s crazy to me that there were pockets of empty seats in Ottawa for Game 1 of the second round of the playoffs against the Rangers.

*Speaking of Game 1 between the Sens and the Rangers, here are the details with Erik Karlsson again stepping up and playing the hero while carrying Ottawa.

*The Anaheim Ducks are having a heck of a time containing Leon Draisaitl in their second round battle with the Edmonton Oilers.

*Here’s some of this morning’s chat between Bruce Cassidy and Toucher and Rich where he talked about his relationship with Claude, his hate for the Canadiens and the future outlook for the Bruins organization. Good stuff.

*Glen Gulutzan reflects on his first season behind the bench for the Calgary Flames after their first round ouster.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer Mike Halford has details of the Rangers not allowing Chris Drury to interview for the GM job with the Buffalo Sabres.

*For something completely different: What is the deal with this Buckingham McVie music that’s coming out? Whatever happened to Buckingham Nicks?