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Bruins star David Krejci leaving NHL to play in Czech Republic

Boston Bruins center David Krejci Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins star David Krejci is leaving the NHL to play in his native Czech Republic, he announced Friday.

The 35-year-old said it was a difficult decision but that he wanted to return to the Czech Republic to play in front of his family "who sacrificed so much" to help him achieve his NHL dreams. In addition, Krejci said he wants his children to grow up in his native country to spend time with his family "who love them and create lifelong memories."

A report earlier this week stated Krejci and the Bruins were finalizing an agreement, but clearly that is no longer the case.

The former second-round pick spent his entire 15-year career with the Bruins, tallying 730 points (215 goals, 515 assists) in 962 regular-season games and 124 points (42 goals, 82 assists) in 156 playoff appearances.

In 51 games this past season, he tallied eight goals and 36 assists and added two goals and seven assists in 11 playoff games.

While his announcement came as somewhat of a surprise, Krejci said after the Bruins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the New York Islanders that he had plans to play in the Czech Republic at some point during his career.

"I would, at one point, like to finish my career in Czech, but for different reasons. My kids don't speak my language, so I would like them to learn the language," Krejci said, according to CBS Boston. "But again, when that is going to happen or if that is going to happen, we'll see."

Krejci ranks seventh in Bruins history in games played and assists while ranking eighth in franchise history in points. He led the NHL in playoff scoring in 2011 when the B's won the Stanley Cup and in 2013 when Boston fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.

The 2020-21 season was the final year of Krejci's six-year, $43.5 million deal with the Bruins.

Boston signed several players this summer in an attempt to fill the hole left by Krejci, including Nick Foligno, Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek. However, the team will still likely need a second-line center as Charlie Coyle is seen as a better fit on the third line.

With several months remaining before the 2021-22 season begins, the Bruins could be very active in the trade market and free agency as they look to fill the void.

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