As the 2011 trade deadline approached, the Bruins looked like a legitimate Cup contender. There was no real powerhouse Cup favorite in the league that year, and the first-in-the-Northeast Bruins appeared to have as good of a shot as anyone.
As a result, the Bruins were involved in acquiring everyone available at the deadline: Tomas Kaberle. Chris Philips. Bobby Orr. Wayne Gretzky.
Rumors were flying as to who was coming to Boston, and as the calendar flipped closer to the actual deadline, the rampant speculation only intensified.
SCOC editor Cornelius remembers hearing that the media had been told to stick around after the Bruins lost to Toronto, with the assumption being that prized acquisition Kaberle was going to take a stroll down the hallway and join his new team.
Nope. Instead, it was GM Peter Chiarelli acquiring a guy he was pretty familiar with: Chris Kelly, billed as a gritty, two-way forward who was a smart player and great on the penalty kill. A depth guy.
Geez, so much for a big splash!
Kelly was acquired for a second-round pick in that June's draft, one the Senators would eventually use to draft Shane Prince.
In a way, the trade was kind of a microcosm of Kelly's time with the Bruins. He did a lot of things well, and generally flew under the radar as a quiet, reliable player, save for a few moments of brilliance here and there.
Kelly would make his Bruins debut two games later, on February 18th in a game...in Ottawa. Awkward.
Kelly played 24 games with the Bruins to finish out the regular season, putting up 2G-3A-5PTS totals in that time frame. Truthfully, he wasn't looking like a jackpot addition when the playoffs rolled around.
However, Kelly turned it up a notch in the playoffs, more than doubling his point total in a similar number of games (5G-8A-13PTS, 25 GP).
His most memorable moments came in the first-round series against Montreal. In Game 3, Kelly was checked face-first into the crossbar by Scott Gomez; while he didn't have any broken bones, he wore a face-mask to prevent further injury, and CageFace Kelly was born.
Kelly didn't miss a game, and played the game of his life in Game 4. Wearing his new cage, Kelly assisted on the Bruins' first goal, tied the game with just under 7 minutes to go in the third, and assisted on Michael Ryder's OT winner to lift the Bruins to a 5-4 win in Montreal and tie the ECQF series at two games apiece.
Kelly would go on to be a solid player for the Bruins, putting up 100 points in 282 games prior to this season.
Of course, his Bruin career appears to have ended on a pretty sour note after his gruesome leg injury earlier this season. However, Kelly will be remembered by most as an important role player on that 2011 championship team, and as a solid NHL player.
Not bad for a guy acquired in the "other" trade that season.