Krejci eager to finish what he started against Flyers

191545.jpg

Krejci eager to finish what he started against Flyers

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The memories are hazy and a little blurry when they come to David Krejci about last years playoff series against the Flyers.

He was jacked up by Mike Richards near the defensive blueline during his first shift on the ice during Game Three, and the Bs center was clearly the unwittingvictim of a Flyers Captain looking to change the momentum of the series.

It didnt work immediately as the Flyers dropped that game at home, but the absence of Krejci with a gruesomedislocated right wrist was monumental in Phillys rise and Bostons subsequent collapse duringlast year's playoff series.

The night ofthe injury was harrowing for Krejci as he dealt with a wrist that was radiating extreme pain.To make matters worse the playmaking Krejci hadto wait until after the game was finished to travel back to Baltimore with a noted hand specialist for emergency surgery. Krejci was stuck in small holding room adjacent to the Bs dressing room in the bowels of the Wells Fargo Centerwithout any televisions or other means to watch what exactlywas happening while his teammates battled through a tight playoff game.Krejci still cared through the pain and knowledge that his season was done.

The 25-year-old was done for the postseason following the injury, and stuckin a haze of post-surgery medication in the days that followed leading up to Bostons eventual collapse partially due toan absentee Krejci and an impaired Marc Savard attempting to compete with a foggy head. In essence the Bruins were just as done as Krejci at that point in the series, and they just didn't know it.

Last year obviously when Krejci went down, I felt it really created a big hole because Marc Savard hadnt played in the first round. Savard was maybe half the player he was before the concussion courtesy of Matt Cooke when he came back, said Claude Julien. So that left us with Patrice Bergeron and then as you know we had Vladimir Sobotka, we had Trent Whitfield, we had Steve Begin. So we really felt we got thin there and we didnt have the type of centermen we needed to win.

So thats where David Krejcis presence, or lack of presence, really hurt us once he went down. And we lost Sturmy Marco Sturm before too. So you lose two guys from your top two lines and our scoring was a little thin last year. It really affected our team a lot. David Krejci was having tremendous playoffs. So I think this year is a different situation, because when you look at Bergy and you look at Krejci and you look at Rich Peverley and even Chris Kelly can play there, you still have a good centermen. Gregory Campbell as well and lets not forget Tyler Seguin. So there is some depth there and we feel a lot better about that this year. Hopefully wed be able to overcome the challenges we had last year.

Krejci knows that its a new beginning for bothhe and his team against the Flyers this season, and hell be an important figure after leading the Bruins with four points in their highly successful regular season meetings against Philly. Instead Krejci is motivated to improve on the one point scored in seven playoffgames against the Montreal Canadiens while Tomas Plekanec shadowed him and the Hal GillP.K. Subban combo shut down their entire line. Obviously the Bs No. 1line will attempt to shake free and contribute, and Krejci knows much of the pressure falls on his unit to provide offense, pressure and a playmaking for everybody else.

Getting the first line topop along with riling upthe toothless power play will be taking up the Boston coaching staffs spare time above and beyond any other special playoff projects they have in mind. Krejci knows who he's playing, and it's got the fire going in his stomach even if he's not going to throw it out there publicly before the series commences.

It is what it is right now. Its a good chance for myself and the rest of the team to get back at them for last season, said Krejci. Last year was tough. Im not saying that if I didnt get hurt we would have won, but who knows, right?

We would have played in the conference final against Montreal, and I think everybody even you guys in the media would have been comfortable going against those guys. It was heartbreaking. It was tough to swallow, but this is another year. Were not going to think too much about last year. Itll nice after the season is over if we beat them and I can look back and say we took care of them.

Krejci finished the season as Bostons leading point producer and the No. 1 center between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, but he looked far from that guy in the first round against the hated Habs. The center was certainly contributing in other ways as evidenced by the good screen on Hortons overtime game-winner in Game Seven, but the Bruins have always relied on Krejci for points rather than subtle little hockey plays on the ice.He should be ready to set screens, feather passes and finish off the plays left incomplete against Montreal, and reinforce Krejci's belief in himself that he's a No. 1 center in the NHL capable of taking his squad deep into the postseason.

Hell only get one chance to exact retribution on the team and group of Flyersplayers that ended his postseason prematurely last year, so Krejci better make this one count after showing so many flashes over the last three seasons leading up to Boston's chance at ascension.

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

Source: Bruins preparing offer sheet for Jets D-man Jacob Trouba

Source: Bruins preparing offer sheet for Jets D-man Jacob Trouba

According to a hockey source, Don Sweeney and the Boston Bruins “are preparing an offer sheet” this week for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba as an aggressive option to land a No. 1 defenseman after trades didn’t pan out at last weekend’s NHL Draft.

The Bruins have watched Trouba closely for some time, and clearly have an interest in the 22-year-old D-man with size, offensive abilities and a workhorse nature that’s seen him average more than 22 minutes of ice time per game since entering the league as a 19-year-old.

Trouba is coming off a six-goal, 21-point season while playing in 81 games for the Jets, and was a career-best plus-10 for Winnipeg. With Trouba, a restricted free agent, and the Jets locked into big money deals to fellow right shot D-men in Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers, the writing has been on the wall for some time that the Jets would need to give one of them up.

Now it appears the Bruins may be willing to put their money, and their assets, where their interest is, and come up with an offer sheet that totals a minimum of $47 million for Trouba’s services.

Part of that high total is crafting an offer that the Winnipeg Jets aren’t going to match, and part of that is the Bruins’ own doing while casually tossing away their own draft picks. Because they sent their 2017 third round pick to the Flyers for Zac Rinaldo and their 2017 second round pick to New Jersey for Lee Stempniak, the Bruins must put together an offer sheet with an average annual value (AAV) of at least $9.3 million that will require Boston to give up four consecutive first round picks as compensation.

The good news for the Bruins: for offer sheet purposes, AAV is determined by dividing the total compensation offered by the lesser of the length of the contract, or by five. For contracts longer than five years in term, this will result in a higher AAV than simply dividing the contract total by the number of years.

Example: a 7 year offer sheet worth $49 million total, would be considered an AAV of $9.8 million ($49 million divided by 5) for offer sheet compensation purposes. That means the Bruins could make an offer sheet to Trouba in the $7-8 million per season neighborhood on a seven year deal, a reasonable contract if Trouba turns into the No. 1 defenseman that the B’s are envisioning.

The real price for the Black and Gold would be surrendering four first round picks, but the Bruins have made five first round picks in the last two years while stockpiling their prospect cupboard. The B’s have also been hit-or-miss with their first round picks, so sacrificing a few of them for a surefire, young defenseman would theoretically be worth the price.

Clearly the offer sheet route is the product of Bruins’ frustration at being unable to broker a deal for Kevin Shattenkirk or Cam Fowler last weekend in Buffalo, and at the realization that they need a stud No. 1 defenseman in order to again be competitive in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps even the threat of an offer sheet could spur the Jets into dealing Trouba, just as the threat of an offer sheet pushed forward the trades of Dougie Hamilton and Brandon Saad last season. 

Dirty Water Media Bruins reporter James Murphy was also reporting the buzz that the B's are exploring their offer sheet option. 

Bruins go for size, defensive presence at center with Koppanen

joona-koppanen.jpg

Bruins go for size, defensive presence at center with Koppanen

While the Bruins fourth round pick might sound eerily like Finnish fourth line center Joonas Kemppainen, the Black and Gold are hoping for much more from fifth round pick (135th overall) Joona Koppanen. The 6-foot-5, 194-pound Finnish center is obviously a big body in the middle of the ice, and already plays a responsible, smart game on the defensive side of the ice.

In keeping with the parallels to Kemppainen, Koppanen is a bit less developed on the offensive side of the game at this point in his young career as an 18-year-old.  

“I think that the draft was awesome and I’m really excited for the draft to Boston,” said Koppanen, who added “Tuukka Rask plays there” when asked what he knows about the Bruins. “My strength is to skating and I’m a good two-way forward.”

The Big Finn had nine goals and 26 points in 40 games for the junior team in Finland last season, and was shut out in seven games for Team Finland at the World Junior U-18 Championships. So he’s got some work to do developing his offensive game and getting both bigger and stronger, but the Bruins see size, strength and the work ethic to improve in Koppanen.

“He’s a big guy, and for a big guy he can really move around. He’s very good defensively and smart with his positioning. He plays hard,” said Bruins head scout Keith Gretzky. “The skill is the one area that needs to develop, and we think it’s going to do that. He was a guy that we targeted because he’s a big guy that can skate, and is good in his own end.”

One thing the Bruins focused on heading into the draft was acquiring some size at the center position, and they’ve clearly done that with 6-foot-2, 200-pound Trent Frederic and the 6-foot-5, 198-pound Koppanen.

It just remains to be seen what kind of offensive upside these gritty, tough competitors will have once they reach the pro ranks a few years from now, and that will go a long way to determining how good these picks end up being.

One thing is for sure: they must be projecting that Koppanen is better than Kemppainen, who was an absolute bust in the offensive zone. 

Lindgren brings toughness, leadership as Bruins second-round pick

boston-bruins-ryan-lindgren-nhl-draft-062516.jpg

Lindgren brings toughness, leadership as Bruins second-round pick

Despite receiving a mixed reaction to their two first-round picks, the consensus is the Bruins made another good pick in the second round with Ryan Lindgren.

The 6-foot, 203-pound defenseman from the US National Team Development Program had a combined 10 goals and 37 points in 87 games played for the program last season, and was excellent at both ends for Team USA during the World Junior Under-18 tournament played during the year.

Lindgren isn’t flashy, doesn’t come into the next stage of his hockey development as an elite puck-mover and he wasn’t somebody that popped with amazing workouts during the NHL scouting combine. Instead he’s simply been a solid D-man with good leadership qualities, who is good at everything while also showing an eager willingness to block shots and sacrifice his body for wins at a very young age where grit doesn’t always come naturally.

“Lindgren blocks shots. He’s not the most skilled guy like [Charlie] McAvoy or anything like that, but he brings an element that we really liked as an organization,” said Bruins head scout Keith Gretzky of the University of Minnesota-bound Lindgren. “We believe that he’s a leader, and you win with those kinds of guys.”

The Minnesota-born Lindgren also captained both the USNDTP team and the Under-18 World Junior squad for Team USA where hard work is clearly part of his overall skill set.

“I’m a hard-working defenseman,” said Lindgren last weekend in Buffalo while sporting black eyes from a ball hockey league he plays in with older brother, and Montreal Canadiens goalie, Charlie Lindgren. “I think I’m a leader on and off the ice. I think I bring a big compete level, and I bring it every day. I’m more of a defensive defenseman, but I think I’ve got some offensive ability as well. I’m going to be physical and bring it every game. I’m going to block shots and do whatever it is to help the team win. That’s what I expect to bring every game.”

Now the Bruins can sit back and watch Lindgren’s development with the Gophers where he’ll undoubtedly become a gritty, tough leader and top D-man like he’s been at every level of his hockey career prior to being the 49th overall selection.

Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs