Boston- Boston Bruins veteran and assistant captain Chris Kelly had his season cut short this year when he went down with a broken femur in November, an injury that kept him out of game action for the final five months of the regular season.
Kelly had an initial time line of 6-8 months for recovery but after just five months Kelly was skating on the ice and participating in full team practices in the final week of the season. Kelly was ready to return in the last two games but the coaching staff felt the team was better off to sit Kelly until he had more time to get re-acclimated to practicing with his teammates.
If the Bruins made the playoffs Kelly would have been fully available to play, but since the Bruins missed the playoffs for the second straight season Kelly was robbed of the opportunity to come back and help his team to try and win Lord Stanley's Cup. With that news it might mean that the 35 year old defensive forward may have played his last game in a Bruins uniform last November when he broke his femur.
Even though Kelly wasn't a center piece top line player in his six seasons with the Black and Gold, he was a true Bruin, he had toughness, intelligence, effort and selflessness while serving as a key veteran leader on the Bruins roster.
Chris Kelly's high priced contract extension comes to a close on July 1st, and Kelly knows that he will not make anywhere close to the $3 million he made per year on his last deal. Kelly isn't sure if he will be sticking around to play again with the B's, but he has certainly enjoyed his time being a member of the Black and Gold.
With team no longer playing Kelly will have to finish his rehab this spring on his own, and hope that some team if not the Bruins will offer him a contract despite his advance age of 35 and the fact that he is coming off of a major injury. The Bruins may be interested in having Kelly return as a bottom 6 forward/locker room leader, his high level of play on the penalty kill and face off abilities are also a premium the Bruins can use if he is willing to accept a deal worth less than $1 million and only one year.
It is unclear if Kelly would be willing to accept a deal that low, but the question is will other teams really be interested in him with all of his question marks. The Bruins push to play their youth may keep them from offering Kelly anything, but Kelly is a good player to have on the roster even if that means he sits most nights on the 9th floor at the Garden.