In high school, I had a copy of Clerks on VHS. I loved that fucking movie. I watched it pretty much every night before I fell asleep. Subconsciously, I think it might be why I love Patrice Bergeron so much.
The point is, as technology kept advancing, I was still clutching onto this outdated format, going so far as to buying a new VCR just so I could keep watching a movie that in fact, was available on DVD. That’s the same game that Peter Chiarelli’s been playing with Chris Kelly for the past few years.
Throw out the fact that he sent away a second round pick for Kelly, Chiarelli’s draft history is harder to read than a erotic novel about the cast of the Golden Girls, so losing a high pick isn’t the worst thing in the world. The problem rolled around when it came down to retention. As he is fond of doing, when it came time to negotiate Kelly’s contract, Chairelli threw logic and empirical evidence out the window and overpaid one of “his guys.” Instead of signing a younger free agent center or even bringing up one of the kids from Providence, he gave 4 years at $3 Million per to a 31 year old, the age when NHL forward production starts to take a steep decline.
Is Chris Kelly a serviceable third line skater? Sure.
Good guy to have in the locker room? Absolutely.
$3 Million dollars a year? GTFO
Look at the comparable cap hits to Chris Kelly around the league:
Some of the standouts on that list include: Michael Grabner, Derek Stepan, Nazem Kadri, and Kyle Okposo. In almost every possible way you could measure these players, Chris Kelly is a Pontiac Aztek among Lexuses. (Lexii? Lexicon?)
Goals? Number 5 of 5.
Relative Corsi? Dead last at -4.1%. Essentially meaning the Bruins were a markedly worse team with him on the ice.
And most importantly, after Kelly, the oldest player on that list is Grabner, who turns 27 this year, a month before Kelly turns 34.
What does Chris Kelly still bring to the table? Is there anything tangible that you can point to and justify his spot on this team? He’s not your number 3 center anymore, there’s a big hulking one-eyed Swede occupying that slot now. He can still eat up a bunch of minutes on the PK, when he’s healthy. He hasn’t played a full season since signing his extension. Nobody’s disputing his character or leadership, but are those traits really worth a $3 Million cap hit?
The compliance buyout period is over, so the only option to free up that cap space is via trade. Unfortunately, most other GMs around the league aren’t looking to take on that contract for that level of talent. Luckily the Bruins have an overabundance of NHL caliber defensemen, and Chiarelli has all but come out and said that at least one of them is getting dealt.
One year ago, the Dallas front office was too busy ahem, enjoying each others’ company in a circular fashion, over landing a franchise center in Tyler Seguin that they didn’t even realize they also acquired a guy with a bum ticker. Seriously, the Stars didn’t even know Rich Peverley was centering their third line until two weeks into the season.
Can PC pull a little magic again and sneak a bottom six forward on the wrong side of 30 making $3M in the back door of a trade? A young team in need of defense like Edmonton could almost certainly benefit from the veteran voice Kelly would bring to the room. More importantly, would Chia even be able to to send his security blanket away? Hey, at least he wasn’t crazy enough to give Kelly a No….Trade…..Clause. ARE YOU SHITTING ME?
Does Chiarelli spend his free time walking around parking lots slipping vouchers for No Trade Clauses under every windshield wiper he sees? I’d write a list of all the Bruins with NTCs, but Bloguin has a word limit. No one on this team making over $1.6 Million can be moved without first waiving their clause. “Hey guys, show of hands, anyone feel like moving to Edmonton? Calgary? Winnipeg? Nobody? OK, cool.”
At the time of writing, the Bruins have 10 forwards and 7 defensemen holding roster spots – none of them named Reilly Smith or Torey Krug, and they’re already 200K over the cap. As has been pointed out time after time, the relief from the Savard contract doesn’t take effect until after the season starts. Between the debacle that is the Iginla bonus money and Chiarelli being the Oprah of No Trade Clauses, the Bruins have about as much flexibility as Chris Kelly’s leg after a weekend at Pascal Dupuis’ house. The B’s have really painted themselves into a corner this offseason and the longer it goes, the worse it looks.
But hey, Chiarelli’s really gotta take that fishing vacation, he and Chris need their time to get away from it all.