Throughout the offseason, Bruins Daily will be posting daily report cards on each individual of the 2011-12, Boston Bruins.
In order of jersey number, each player will be highlighted. In today’s edition, we have number 23, Bruins forward Chris Kelly.
Name: Chris Kelly
Weight: 198 lbs.
Contract: Unrestricted free agent for 2012-13 season
2011-12 NHL Season stats:
Regular season: 82 GP, 20-19-39, plus-33, 41 PIM, 121 SOG
Playoffs: 7 GP, 1-2-3, plus-1, 4 PIM, 12 SOG
The man who got snubbed by Tyler Seguin for the Seventh Player award also had one of his best seasons in his career for the black and gold in 2012. Chris Kelly netted 20 goals and added 19 assists in 82 games for the Bruins this season gelling nicely with his line mates Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston. Fans may remember his memorable game-winning goal in game one versus the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, but this man was third in the league in plus/minus with a plus 33. His career high in goals before this season was 15 and Kelly broke out with a career high in points with 39. Kelly also added three points in the playoffs (1 G, 2 A) including one game-winner. He is a hard working forward who deserves to be paid. The Bruins have a choice to make a contract offer to him. If Peter Chiarelli was wise, his first order of business should be taking care of this forward who is only getting better in a Bruins uniform. On a side note, fellow writer Anthony Travalgia may hunt down Chiarelli and demand a contract extension himself. Chris Kelly needs to remain a Bruin because the team needs offense and Kelly is showing that he can be an offensive force.
Final Grade: A-
For someone who was supposed to be a “throw-in” at the trade deadline last year, Chris Kelly has surprised many since donning the spoked B last February. After an impressive postseason in 2011 where he tallied 13 points (5 G, 8 A) in 25 games, the former Ottawa Senator tallied his first 20-goal season in 2011-12 while also compiling career highs in points (39) and plus/minus (+33) in all 82 games. After making a little over $2.1 million this past year, its safe to say that Kelly will get a nice raise as he hits the free agent market July 1. It’s also safe to say that GM Peter Chiarelli has made Kelly his top priority in the list of UFA’s — that also includes Daniel Paille, Brian Rolston and Gregory Campbell — to re-sign during the offseason.
I’m donating my 200-300 words to Anthony.
Final Grade: A-
Yeah Mark I got this. When the B’s pulled the trigger on a deal two seasons ago at the NHL’s trading deadline, no one knew what to expect from the former Senator, but one man knew exactly what he was getting, and that guy is the silent genius Peter Chiarelli. For those of you who read the footnotes in the amazing Full 60+ To History book know that Chiarelli worked on the Kelly deal for months but at first was uncomfortable dealing a second round pick for the veteran forward. Finally Chiarelli gave in and acquired Kelly who instantly became a pleasant surprise for the Bruins.
Kelly followed up a tremendous playoff run with a career year where he set a new career high in Goals with 20. Kelly is one of those guys that don’t come around too often. Kelly can be a force in the offensive zone, gets back on D playing a great defensive game, kills penalties and is pretty solid in the faceoff circle with a 51.8 win percentage.
Kelly is an unrestricted free agent once July 1 hits and there will without a doubt be many teams knocking on his door. As painful as it is to say, I just don’t see Kelly being back in Black and Gold next season. It’s expected that Kelly will get a “Ville Leino” type deal—6 years, $27 million—something that the Bruins can’t match, and honestly I can’t blame them.
Chiarelli if you’re somehow reading this I’ll help pay Kelly’s deal. The guy is a hard working class act and no doubt a true hockey player.
Here’s to hoping there’s more Chris Kelly Bruins report cards to come in the future.
Anthony’s Grade: A
Here’s one of my favorite Kelly moments from the past year.
More report cards: