Tony’s Take – The Chris Kelly Trade

(source: senators.nhl.com)

The rebuild continues as Ottawa has traded another member of their core. With long-time Senator Chris Kelly being moved to the Boston Bruins for their 2011 2nd round draft pick, Ottawa continues to stock pile draft picks and clear cap space.

Here’s my take on the trade.

Having traded yet another core player without getting a warm body back, this rebuild is fully signalling a complete tear down. Many thought all the UFA’s were good as gone, and a few bad contracts too if they could find a desperate team or two, but I think most fans thought players such as Chris Kelly and Chris Neil were safe as they bring what every team needs – heart.

Kelly is what he is, a solid third liner that is good for 15 goals and 30 points, a great penalty killer and a team guy. Even though he was a tad overpaid for his skills, Kelly earned his contract as he became part of the team’s core after their Stanley Cup run. Being a low-maintenance player, Kelly was always praised for his high hockey IQ. Even though he did not have the hands to match his hockey IQ, Kelly could always be counted on to bring it every night.

In trading Kelly, Ottawa is now very thin down the middle as these two trades have seen our number 2 and3 centres leave town. What this means for Ottawa going forward is that they will hope to find Kelly’s replacement from within their system. Look for guys such as Peter Regin, Jesse Winchester and Zach Smith to all get a chance to fill his spot next season. Regin is probably the best bet as his game is well-suited for the third line centre position.

Being able to get a 2nd rounder for Kelly was a big return for Ottawa. Even though it may be a late 2nd, being able to get another 2nd gives Ottawa many options going forward, whether it be in terms of drafting or making future trades. Along with the Mike Fisher trade to Nashville, Ottawa has stock piled two 1st round picks, two 2nd round picks, and potentially another 2nd round pick or another 3rd round pick to go with their own pick. Ottawa also clears Kelly’s last year of his contract off the books for next season which gives Ottawa over $22 million to play with. With many cheaper options within the system, this trade will help Ottawa correctly restructure their cap going forward.

What Boston gains is a hard working character player who will quickly become one of the coaches favourite. With the ability to line up at centre or wing, Kelly brings versatility to the Bruins line-up and could fill in on lines two to four. Kelly will help improve Boston’s 14th ranked penalty kill, and will chip in with a goal here and there. Kelly will walk on to the B’s line-up sixth in goals and ninth in points. And with Boston still having Toronto‘s 1st round draft pick this year, giving them two 1st’s, giving up a 2nd rounder for Kelly won’t hurt them going forward.

In the end, who won this trade? Just like the Fisher trade, I believe both teams win this one. The Sens get a 2nd round draft pick in a deep draft that can help in the rebuild, while Boston sures up their forwards with a solid pick-up in Kelly.

Good luck in Beantown Kelly!!!

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