April 19, 2012;Washington, DC, USA; Boston Bruins center Chris Kelly (23) fights for the puck with Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich (21) in game four of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
Chris Kelly didn't do much in his first 24 games as a Bruin in the 2010-2011 regular season, only putting up 5 points. But in the playoffs, he stepped it up with 13 points in 25 games.
Kelly surprised many this year by extending his playoff performance to the 2011-2012 season. He kept up nearly the same pace, posting 20 goals and 19 assists for 39 points. Those stats set new career highs for goals and points, not to mention the +33 he posted for the season. In the playoffs he posted a goal and two assists.
Kelly shared the second assistant captainship this year with Andrew Ference. For a player that spent less than 50 games in a Bruins uniform before this season, that shows just how much his teammates value him on and off the ice.
There's a lot of positive things to say about Kelly's performance this season. He was always responsible on the defensive end, as he has been his whole career. But this year he took his offensive game to another level, scoring six game-winning goals and putting up career highs in offensive and defensive point shares, for the stat-inclined.
Kelly centered Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston when Rolston was acquired, and for a good stretch they were the Bruins' best line. It's not a stretch in fact to say that the Bruins' third line was the best in the NHL this year. Kelly's playoff performance wasn't at the level of his 2011 run, but then again no Bruin's really was. For what it's worth, Kelly's line was probably the most effective against Washington.
On top of all that, Kelly only made $2 million last year with a $2.125 million cap hit. He signed a four-year deal worth $12 million, giving him a $3 million cap hit each year.
In just a short time in Boston, Kelly has established himself as an important part of the Bruins. His 2011-2012 season hopefully is a sign of things to come.
What grade do you give Chris Kelly?
A+ (15 votes)
A (26 votes)
A- (8 votes)
B+ (4 votes)
B (1 vote)
B- (0 votes)
I'm crazy and give him less than a B- (1 vote)
55 total votes