PITTSBURGH — Bruins forward David Krejci, slated to be a restricted free agent this offseason, won’t be going anywhere. Krejci has signed a three-year extension with an annual cap hit of $3.75 million. Krejci will earn $3.5 million in 2009-10, $3.75 million in 2010-11, and $4 million in 2011-12.
“A lot of people thought he had a coming-out party,” said Peter Chiarelli, in town for the GM meetings. “But we’ve seen him progress. You’ve seen him progress. You’ve seen him get stronger. The non-offensive part of his game has improved greatly. We had a few key guys to sign, so we’re happy to get it done.”
Krejci established a career high in games, goals, assists, and points this season with 22-51–73 totals in 82 games. His 51 assists ranked second on the team behind Marc Savard, and he led the NHL with a plus/minus rating of plus-36.
In 2009, Krejci also received the Bruins Seventh Player Award, given to the player who performs above and beyond expectations.
The native of Sternberk, Czech Republic, was selected by the Bruins in the second round (63d overall) in the 2004 draft.
In his three-year NHL career, Krejci has 28-72–100 totals in 144 regular season games.
Krejci, who is slated to have hip surgery on Thursday, has told Chiarelli he wants to be ready for the 2009-10 season opener. Krejci appeared in 11 playoff games despite the injury, compiling two goals and six assists.
“I think he’s going to be, at very least, a No. 2 center,” said Chiarelli. “His game has really grown. He’s a very proud guy who has really, consciously made an effort to get better without the puck. I just love the fact that he gets mad when he gets beaten in battles. He’s only going to improve.”
By signing for three years, Krejci could set himself up for a big-time payday on his third contract. By then, the economy could improve and the cap could go up.
The Bruins will now work on re-signing Phil Kessel, Matt Hunwick, and Byron Bitz, their remaining RFAs.