Without debate, Krejci is the Boston Bruins' top playmaker. He controls the pace of the offense, is defensively reliable, and draws defensive attention to allow for his linemates to be just a little more open. When Krejci is firing on all cylinders, the entire team feels it.
Krejci went on an absolute TEAR in October, which was as promising a start to the first season after missing the playoffs as one would hope. Krejci had the fire - 15 points in 10 games! Were we going to see the 'offensive captain' take the team on his back to ensure their return to the playoffs?
Unfortunately, October was the high point (for... well, points) of the season for Krejci. He had 9 points in each of November and December, and was injured short-term (that is, until the season ended when he needed surgery). He managed to maintain a -1 in each of these two months; he and his linemates 'leaned forward' on their opponents, which can still set the tone for the rest of the team even when the goals aren't going in. Lulls happen. Repeated or prolonged lulls are called 'off seasons'.
Now, let's back up a second. It was an 'off season' for the Bruins as a whole, and in no way does the blame lay entirely at Krejci's feet. Defensive failures have been detailed ad nauseam. It's also hard to call a 63-point season a lull or an 'off season' for Krejci; he's cracked 70 points just once in his career - so his point production was actually on par with a full season, in 10 fewer games. Plus, there were these SUPER nice goals - indicating Krejci's focus was as sharp as ever.
There's this nifty cut inside on Jakub Kindl of Detroit:
Focus? What focus? Krejci bangs in this rebound from about 3 1/2 feet up vs. Buffalo in December:
We know that we'll get this finesse from Krejci, no matter if he puts up 40 or 70 points. Where Krejci loses a grade this season wasn't necessarily in his point production - rather, it was his point suppression. Krejci's +/- was just +4, a far cry from his more defensively-sound seasons in 2009 (+37), 2011 (+23) and 2014 (+39). This is a product of a shallow team; Coach Julien didn't so much choose as he was forced to play his top two lines a little more than usual and it cost the Bruins in wear-and-tear to their injury-prone center. Krejci averaged over 20 minutes for the first time in his career, and if that's while playing through a nagging hip/groin issue, you can bet your arse that he was less effective defensively because of it.
Julien tried to win games with his top two lines, a system he is not accustomed to at all. By rolling four lines deep, the Bruins of the past were able to wear down opponents; unfortunately, Krejci bore a heavy load this season and it showed in his overall effectiveness on defense, even if he was able to maintain a level of offense to which Bruins fans are accustomed. He may not be a Selke nominee, but his defensive responsibility as a center needed a little more focus, especially when your bottom-six doesn't possess the puck well. Wishing you a speedy recovery from surgery, Sir David, and looking forward to more magic in '16-'17.