BRIGHTON — Don Sweeney’s sales pitch to Jimmy Vesey was built around being David Krejci’s left wing. Vesey passed, but it doesn’t seem Krejci’s losing sleep over it.
“I’m not really disappointed with that guy,” Krejci said Monday of the Rangers rookie. “Obviously I heard he’s a good player, but he has to prove himself on the NHL level. I was more disappointed we weren’t able to keep Loui.”
Loui is, of course, Loui Eriksson, and Krejci had thoughts on that, too. The Bruins declined to give the 31-year-old Eriksson the $6 million cap hit over six years he got from the Canucks, but they signed 32-year-old David Backes to a five-year deal worth the same annually.
Though the Bruins prefer Backes’ character and toughness, Eriksson is the better player at this point and figures to age better. Furthermore, saying goodbye to Eriksson meant once again taking away one of Krejci’s trusted wings in what’s become an annual occurrence; Krejci has also seen the departures of linemates Nathan Horton (2013), Jerome Iginla (2014) and Milan Lucic (2015) in recent seasons.
“I felt like we had some good chemistry going, so that was kind of a tough time to see [Eriksson] go, but I’ve gotten kind of used to seeing my favorite guys going away — Milan, Nathan, Iggy,” Krejci said. “I’m going to have to just play my game and try to find chemistry with whoever’s going to be on my line.”
Regardless of how Krejci’s dealing with Vesey’s decision, the truth is that the former Harvard captain would have been a good get for both the Bruins and Krejci, something Krejci himself admitted. With Brad Marchand a good bet to stay in Boston long-term, Vesey could have held down Boston’s second-line left wing job for years alongside Krejci if the two were to click. With David Pastrnak still emerging, the Bruins would have had the makings of a very strong line going forward.
Asked for clarification on his words about Vesey, Krejci said that he understood the hullabaloo that surrounded the player, especially considering the timing of his sweepstakes.
“Mostly in the summer there isn’t much that people talk about; this was kind of on top of the list for people to talk about,” Krejci said. “Obviously there was a little pressure on him, but he brought it on himself, I guess.”