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The Undeniable Importance of David Krejci

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The injury to the Czech center could spell despair for an already reeling Bruins team

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Don't worry, I feel the same way that you do too. When I heard the news, I smashed my laptop on my rickety kitchen table so hard that I nearly broke through the wood. The Boston Bruins, mired in the thick of the race for the Atlantic division, will be without one of their best players (if not THE best), for the foreseeable future. Contending for the crown in the Atlantic? Drubbing the dreaded Canadiens in Gillette? For a second, all hope was lost.

In case you didn't already know, David Krejci is arguably the most important player on the Bruins. He leads all forwards in time on ice, amassing over 20 minutes per contest. Krejci is a passing maestro, seamlessly picking apart opposing defenses with crafty quickness and tape to tape passes that could make any jaw drop open. He is tied with another Bruins stalwart, Patrice Bergeron, for the team lead in points.

Krejci's 0.94 points per game (PPG) is his highest of his career, a far cry from his 0.75 career average and towers over his marks from last season, where he posted 0.65 PPG. He ranks tied for sixteenth in the league in assists per 60 minutes in all situations with 1.86 and fifteenth in the league in primary assists (13). Krejci's passing ability is far and away the best on the Bruins, as evidenced in this chart below created by Sean Tierney of Hockey Graphs and Today's Slapshot:

Krejci doubles the second best passer on the team, in terms of primary passing per 60 minutes. From the graphic, it is clear that the Bruins are not a 'pass first' type of team. However, it is also evident that Krejci is the key that unlocks the Bruins offense. Simply put: as America runs on Dunkin, the Bruins run on Krejci.

Krejci was out for a significant chunk of time last season, and Joe Maraccino of The Hockey Writers details how the B's faired without the Czech center:

If last season was any indication, the Bruins offense may suffer a bit in Krejci’s absence. In the 35 games he missed last year, Boston was 16-13-6 averaging 2.40 goals-per-game while allowing 2.63.

The Black and Gold were noticeably better with Krejci in their lineup, going 25-14-8 and averaging 2.75 goals a game in the 47 games he played.

In case you wanted more numbers thrown at you to prove how effective Krejci is, he has been featured in one of every three Bruins goals. His individual point percentage is a juicy 68.8 percent, meaning that he either scores or assists on nearly 70 percent of the goals when he is out on the ice.

Krejci's loss will certainly sting, and the Bruins will need to rely on Ryan Spooner and secondary scoring to continue to be competitive and win games as the calendar flips into the new year. Easier said than done? Certainly. Unattainable? Certainly not.