Remember last season when Chris Kelly scored 20 goals and was talked about as a great steal if Ottawa could bring him back, maybe even as a second line centre? Remember when Kelly and Rich Peverley were part of the best third line in hockey? Remember when Kelly signed a 4 year, $12M, and Peverley a 3 year, $9.75M contract to stay with the Bruins?
It wasn’t that long ago, but for the duo who both had great seasons in 2011-12, it must seem like forever ago.
The Bruins are the class team in the East, arguably, but it won’t be because of the play of Kelly and Peverley.
Last year, despite Peverley being held to just 57 games, the pair combined for 31 goals, 81 points and a +53. This season however, through 22 games they have just 5 goals and 13 points between them, and they are a combined -14. All this while averaging about the same amount of ice time (Kelly is a little bit higher this season while Peverley is slightly lower).
There are a number of factors that could be affecting their production, such as the emergence of Brad Marchand as a top level player, and the return to full health of Nathan Horton. They could be playing less quality minutes and more focused on the defensive end, allowing the top two lines to worry about scoring.
Either way, I am sure the Bruins expected more from them when the team committed in excess of $6M of cap space per year to the third liners who could conceivably fill in on the second line if need be, or so they thought.
I argued at the time that bringing Kelly back would have been a mistake for the Senators, but as it turns out Ottawa didn’t get the opportunity. Even as starved for offense the team is right now, its probably a lucky thing that they didn’t.
The Bruins haven’t had much to complain about in the first half of the season, (which, I think, for them ends sometime in May) but the production they have received from Kelly and Peverley has to be one of them.