In the wake of tonight’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders, Bryan Murray has dealt center Chris Kelly to the Boston Bruins for a second round pick. According to Bob McKenzie’s Twitter (@TSNBobMcKenzie), Boston dealt their own 2011 second round pick.
News of the trade is somewhat shocking to me. Mind you, I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. Far from it. I just never would have imagined a week ago that the Senators would move Chris Kelly or Mike Fisher, let alone both. I just never foresaw moves of this magnitude being made in the rebuilding effort.
The new cliche in Ottawa these days is that these moves are tough but necessary hockey decisions. In the greater scheme of things, Chris Kelly was a highly paid third line center on a bad team. At his age and with his value relatively high, it was a great time to capitalize on Kelly’s high market value. Considering alternatives on this summer’s free agent market and the glut of projected third and fourth line players that are currently in the system, he is replaceable.
Sure, some people may bitch and bellyache about how the lost leadership and hockey smarts of a guy like Kelly will hamper the growth and development of some of the younger players. But as Dustin Parkes once pointed out, you can’t quantify leadership and how no one has any idea how individual players will respond to any given personality. It’s not like the leadership within the dressing room has been a rallying point or has helped the Senators out-perform their regression in talent over the past three to four years.
From a financial standpoint, Kelly was in the second last year of a contract that paid him $2.125-million per year (real dollars matched the cap hit). When you add Fisher’s cap hit and remaining term to that, we’re talking savings of $6.325-million cap dollars and $9.125-million real dollars. Miraculously, Bryan Murray managed to accrue five of this year’s top 65-70 picks without taking back any salary.
Considering the amount of salary that will still come off of the books in the next few weeks and months, I’ll give credit where it’s due: Bryan Murray, good job.