The recent struggles of the Bruins have raised concerns to say the least. After going 5-7-1 in the month of February and 4-6-0 thus far in the month of March, many are already looking ahead towards next season.
But even though that is not a fair thing to do – since they are still in second place in the Eastern Conference with 85 points – the organization should always look towards next season and beyond.
With all of the recent extensions being distributed among the Bruins’ roster, they are still one major signing short. Veteran center Chris Kelly, who came over to Boston from Ottawa in exchange for a draft pick before last year’s trade deadline, should not have to wait too much longer to reach a new deal.
Kelly is already on pace to having a career year. He currently has 17 goals and 14 assists with a plus-24 rating. He is a great two-way player who can play in all three zones. He also sees time on the penalty kill as he is one of the team’s best penalty killing forwards.
His play has been so consistent that he is in the running for the Boston Bruins’ annual “Seventh Player Award” as the player who had exceeded all expectations throughout the season.
Rich Peverley, David Krejci, and Johnny Boychuk have all recently signed multi-year extensions to remain with the Bruins. Shawn Thornton just signed a two-year extension with the Bruins over the weekend. Who knows if that will be a sign of things to come for Kelly.
If Kelly does not re-sign with the Bruins, they would need to fill a void left at the center position. This could possibly open the door for Tyler Seguin to slide into that role and play his natural center position.
The Bruins would like to keep both players on the roster and have a friendly competition for the position instead of reluctantly handing it over to another player, even though that player may very well be ready to assume that responsibility. That is not what the organization is all about.
There have been small talks with Kelly about a new contract but no new details have been disclosed or discussed at this point in time. An extension would lock him up before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.