David Krejci has 12 points in the first 10 games of the season. Can he keep it up?
BOSTON — A David Krejci season can usually be best diagrammed with a line graph — it goes about two-thirds up, down to the bottom in the middle of the regular season, and then explodes off the chart in the playoffs.
Take the last full regular season in 2011-12:
- October: 1-0—1 in 7 games
- November-January: 10-28—38 in 38 games
- February: 2-0—2 in 13 games
- March-April: 10-11—21 in 21 games
That’s a funky way to get to 62 points, and not the way Claude Julien would prefer. Krejci’s intensity slipped for long stretches that season, and more importantly than missing points on the stat sheet was a lack of defensive presence. Krejci was stripped of his center position during that February slump, forced to the wing for a couple games. It was a bruise to Krejci’s ego, just eight months after he was the leading scorer in the playoffs.
There’s hope that the stage of Krejci’s career where he’s a point-per-game player one night and an underachiever the next is over.
“I think so because I think Dave, (he was) given an ‘A’ this year and that shows the confidence that we have with him at being a leader,” Julien said Saturday. “I think he wants to prove us right that he is ready for that role and he wants to be a leader and a leader has to come in every game and show up and play hard and lead by example.
“So far he’s done that.”
In his first season as an alternate captain, the 27-year-old Krejci is off to a terrific start. Through 10 games, he's at 2-10—12 with a plus-8 rating. He's winning 55.2 percent of his faceoffs, an area Julien cited earlier this season that he was looking for Krejci to be consistent in. His line with Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla might be the best in the league once again; they have a combined 31 points, including six goals in the last three games.
Krejci has been held without a point just once and will take a seven-game point streak into Wednesday's game at Pittsburgh.
Krejci says that’s not good enough yet.
“One thing that’s important, I know the points are there, but I feel I’m not at the level I want to be,” he said. “I’m working on my game and trying to get to where I want it to be.”
What’s to improve?
“I just honestly, I want to be better,” he said. “The points are there, but (playing with) the puck, with decisions, I could be a little better. There’s more things. I like the way I’m playing, but I’m not satisfied. I know I can be better. I want to be.”
That’s the kind of attitude the Bruins were hoping for when they named Krejci an alternate captain, over other more vocal candidates like Dennis Seidenberg and Milan Lucic. In the traditional ‘speak-up-and-motivate’ model, Krejci makes little sense as an alternate captain.
But Krejci has the most offensive upside of anyone on the team. Making him an alternate captain could be the kick in the pants he needs to reach his potential. If he brings a consistent attitude for six months, 80 points is possible, a figure only nine players reached in the last 82-game season.
At the very least, Krejci’s line graph wouldn’t look like a heart monitor anymore.