The Boston Bruins had their second big retirement of the offseason when center David Krejci announced Monday that he was leaving the NHL after 16 seasons.
He played his entire career with the Bruins and ranks ninth in team history with 786 points in 1,032 games. He’s tied for second with 128 playoff points.
Krejci, 37, had left the Bruins in 2021-22 to play in his native Czech Republic. He returned last season on a one-year deal and helped Boston get a record 65 wins and 135 points, contributing 56 points in 70 games.
“When I was drafted in 2004, I had no idea that I would be working with such incredible and driven people who would lead us to 3 Stanley Cup Finals, and winning the ultimate goal in 2011,” he said.
The Bruins reached the championship round in 2011, 2013 and 2019. Krejci led the playoffs with 12 goals and 23 points in 2011 and with 17 assists and 26 points in 2013.
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“I have been very lucky to be on so many good teams and play with so many great players,” he said. “You always start as coworkers but end as friends, and I’m so proud to have met some of my closest friends over the years. That’s the best part about our sport.”
His retirement leaves the Bruins with another big hole down the middle after the retirement of Patrice Bergeron (record six Selke trophies as top defensive forward) earlier in the summer.
Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle will be the top centers this season and the Bruins also added Morgan Geekie through free agency. Boston could always try to make a trade to strengthen its center depth. Taylor Hall, Dmitry Orlov, Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway also are gone from last season’s team, which was upset in the first round by the Florida Panthers.
With Krejci’s retirement, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic (who rejoined the Bruins as a free agent this summer) are the lone players still with Boston from that 2011 championship team.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Boston Bruins’ David Krejci retires after 16 NHL seaons