Chris Kelly had an off year as did the entire 3rd line. After a career year in 2011-2012 scoring 20 goals, he had an off-year scoring a career low 3 goals this past season Peverley was not effective at all and in the end was traded away. Chris Bourque did not live up to his hype and the line never seemed to gel in the lock-out shortened season with any of the combinations tried resulting in the poorest plus/minus as a line.
At the end of this past season the Bruins finally convinced Soderberg to come to Boston to play. As a natural centre it is likely he will get the nod to start the season as the 3rd line centre. So where does that leave Kelly?
Despite trade rumours Kelly will most likely be back. Kelly's contract runs for 3 more years at $3 million per year and he has a no trade clause. It is unlikely the Bruins will buy-out his contract this year unless his performance is again terrible. Kelly is a nice 5th centre to have around in case of injury. He could centre any of the four lines on a temporary basis. He has also been a vocal leader in the dressing room wearing the A which he shared with the now departed Ference. So chances are Kelly will get the chance to play wing on the 3rd line hoping to bounce back with a full training camp and new line mates in the coming year. And besides the Bruins are having enough trouble determining one additional legitimate 3rd line player without needing two.
Kelly is one of those good guys you want to see succeed so we wish him all the best. If he can contribute his career average of 15 goals while again bringing leadership and effective penalty killing, he, and the Bruins, will have had a successful season.