With few Senators related blurbs hitting the wire of late, as you can see by this morning’s Justin Schultz piece, the monitoring of potential UFA targets has become commonplace ’round these parts.
Whether it’s been Bruce Garrioch or Don Brennan, the name of Chris Kelly has been bandied about as one free agent option who could return to the Ottawa Senators.
Fortunately for the Senators, Kelly’s unlikely to test the free agent waters.
CSSNE.com‘s Joe Haggerty has confirmed that the Bruins are closing in on a multi-year contract with Kelly.
But talks clearly heated up over the last week with the free agency deadlines nearing and Chiarelli back in Boston after completing his Team Canada commitment at the World Hockey Championships.
The Campbell and Kelly deals would ensure that the B’s forward group is going to look awfully similar to the one that ended last season with a first round loss to the Washington Capitals. Campbell’s signing means the Bruins will keep together the B’s fourth line with Shawn Thornton and Paille already in the fold. Kelly’s signing brings back a key two-way center and team leader that topped 20 goals for the first time in his career last year, and finished among the top-10 in the NHL the plus/minus category.
Campbell’s deal should land in the $1.5 million per season range given the market for quality fourth line centers, and it would be surprising if Kelly doesn’t make more than $3 million annually in his new contract as a 31-year-old coming off a career season.
North of $3 million for Chris Kelly?
Update: 6:30 p.m.
Chris Kelly has signed a four year contract extension with the Bruins worth an average annual value of $3.0 million per season. From a Senators standpoint, it’s encouraging to see a former player be rewarded for his efforts, especially when it is a Northeast Division rival that’s paying him that money. It’s not like that $3.0 million cap hit per season could be better spent addressing the long-term future of its top six forwards…