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Meet new Bruins forward Chris Kelly

Posted By DJ Bean On February 16, 2011 @ 12:30 am In General | 6 Comments

When the Bruins gave word late Tuesday night that they had an announcement coming, the logical place for one’s mind to wander to was the blue line. Instead, the team made a move to send its second-round pick for Senators center Chris Kelly. Here’s a brief introduction.

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Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli thought highly of Chris Kelly based on their days in Ottawa. (AP)

THE SKINNY

Age: 30

Draft: Third round, 94th overall in the 1999 draft by the Senators.

Contractual status: Has one year remaining on his current deal after this season, commands a $2.125 cap hit.

2010-11 stats: 57 games played, 11 goals, 12 assists, 33 points, minus-12.

WHAT HE BRINGS

– The Bruins are basically looking at another guy in that third line mix, with Peter Chiarelli even specifically mentioning the line. He averages 15:38 of ice time each night, which is around the likes of Blake Wheeler (15:13) and Michael Ryder (14:49). He is capable of playing both center and the wing, though Chiarelli called Kelly a “natural centerman.” Given how well he takes faceoffs, such a title makes sense. His 50.01 faceoff percentage puts him 51st in the league and second on the Bruins (Patrice Bergeron: 56.3).

Kelly doesn’t put an overwhelming number of shots on goal, as he has registered more than one shot on net in just one his last nine games. He also kills penalties.

WHY THEY MADE THE DEAL

Chiarelli liked the idea of getting a “known commodity” that wasn’t a rental player without having to move a roster player. A second-round pick — which was their own and not that from the Wild — wasn’t a major commodity to lose given that it should be toward the end of the round.

He also admitted that the move had to do with the uncertainty of Marc Savard going forward. The center’s future is in question after his fourth concussion caused the team to shut down the center for the season. While nobody will ever get Chris Kelly confused with Marc Savard, having another center under contract going into next season may make the predicament a little better.

This also has to do with Tyler Seguin. With Kelly in tow and expected to center the third line, Seguin should now move back to the wing, and his days at center could be done for the season. Chiarelli left open the possibility of the team still trying Seguin in the middle at times, noting that Kelly’s versatility allows for that should the situation arise.

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HE SAID

“They’re a great team. I’m excited to be joining them. They’re a hard-working team that has a great goalie and great forwards. Hopefully I can find a spot there and help them whenever I can.

“When you get an opportunity to play for an Original Six [team], it’s something special. To be playing for the Boston Bruins, it’s a great opportunity and something I’m excited to be part of.”

CHIARELLI SAID

“Well he’s smart. He knows where to go. He’s a good skater. He fills lanes, like that speaks to his hockey sense. He’s always been one of the first PK guys. And one of the things I’ve known, too, at least when I was in Ottawa, all the top lines always wanted him as a linemate. So he’s a dependable guy in a line and he can make plays. So there’s always kind of an inner argument as to moving him up in times when things aren’t going right because guys want him. When other guys want him on their line it usually means that there’s a precursor to chemistry on that line. It usually happened that there was chemistry. … We acquired him for that third line, but there’s versatility there also.”

FUN FACT

While Kelly spent his entire NHL career with the Senators, he has been traded once before. That trade came in OHL in 2001, when he was sent from the London Knights to the Sudbury Wolves in a deal that landed London one Dennis Wideman.

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