Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara (centre right) is congratulated by Milan Lucic (right) after scoring his team's third goal against Toronto Maple Leafs as David Krejci (centre left) and Nathan Horton look on during period second NHL hockey action in Toronto on Wednesday November 30, 2011.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
BOSTON - The Boston Bruins had a November to remember, and then got December off to a rousing start by signing top-line centre David Krejci to a three-year contract extension.
The deal was reached on Wednesday when the Bruins were in Toronto and announced Thursday by general manager Peter Chiarelli, one day after the Bruins finished November 12-0-1 with a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.
Krejci, a six-year veteran, scored a goal and added two assists Wednesday night for the Bruins, who had a month without a regulation loss for the first time since January 1969.
That comes in the wake of last season's Stanley Cup championship in which Krejci played a key role. He led the NHL with 23 post-season points, including 11 goals.
Krejci's new deal carries an annual salary-cap hit of US$5.25 million, Chiarelli said. The centre could have become a restricted free agent next summer.
"David's biggest asset is his head. He sees the ice so well, he makes plays, he uses the players around him. He's very competitive," Chiarelli said. "He's got a very well-rounded game."
Krejci, 25, was drafted by the Bruins in the second round in 2004 and played his first six games with Boston in the 2006-07 season. He has 62 goals and 165 assists in 318 games.
"He's got a lot of real good offensive skills and instincts, but I think the two-way game (is underrated)," Chiarelli said. "I don't want to harp on that, but it's important if you want to win championships. And I think he takes pride in that. When he first started, his eyes were opened wide to what he had to do to get that element to his game. And he's worked at it."
Krejci broke a nine-game goal drought on Wednesday and he has four goals and nine assists in 20 games. He tied for the team lead last season with 62 points (13 goals and 49 assists).
"I'm still young and my game can grow in every situation," he said. "I can get better, get stronger, faster, get a better shot."