WILMINGTON — If someone were to tell you the Bruins would be trading three forwards this offseason, it would be reasonable to figure Chris Kelly would be one of them.
He isn’t a bad player — contrary to what folks who listen to talk radio more than they listen to games will tell you, he’s a fine bottom-sixer who could once again perform well in a contract year — but if the Bruins wanted to cut costs, trading his $3 million cap hit would be a viable option.
Really, the Bruins could still trade Kelly if they want to sign another free agent (Cody Franson remains unsigned), but for now it appears Kelly will play out the final year of his four-year contract. That’s the way he wants it.
“I’m happy to be back, obviously,” Kelly said after Thursday’s informal skate at Ristuccia Arena. “Boston’s a great place. We’ve got a great team. We’re excited to start up. You hit that point where you just want camp to start and you want some games to come and then the season to start. I think we’re all anxious to get rolling again.”
Kelly submitted his list of eight teams to which he’d accept a deal this offseason. It is unknown whether Don Sweeney tried aggressively to move him this offseason, and Kelly said he tried not to think about the possibility.
“Wondering does you nothing,” he said. “Moves can happen to anyone at any time. I think management’s job is to make your team better, and they’re going to make the moves that they feel are going to make the team better. Me wondering at home isn’t going to serve anyone any good.”
Kelly, who turns 35 in November, would figure to center the fourth line this season. He scored just seven goals in 80 games last season, and though he did light the lamp 20 times in the last time he was in a contract year (2011-12), it’s unlikely he could return to that production given that he could end up playing with Zac Rinaldo.
Soderberg strikes one last time
Thanks to Kelly, we can add one last bit to the legend of Carl Soderberg’s three years in Boston.
Soderberg, a native of Sweden who’s fluent in English, is as nice a guy as you’ll meet, but he also has a really dry sense of humor. His quirks showed throughout his time as a Bruin.
He once ended a very short media session in the 2013 playoffs by announcing he had to take a shower. Another time he said he couldn’t talk because he was going to go buy a car, and, when asked the next day how he fared, was stone-faced in responding, ‘I don’t have a car.’ When Matt Bartkowski asked the sharp-dressed Soderberg after one practice if he was going to church, Soderberg had no reaction.
The Bruins traded Soderberg’s rights to the Avalanche prior to the draft, with Soderberg promptly cashing in with a five-year, $23.75 million deal.
“Good for Carl for getting rewarded for his play,” Kelly said Thursday. “He’s another guy who was a great teammate and a friend.”
When Kelly texted his linemate of two seasons to congratulate him on the new deal, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Soderberg did not respond for some reason.
“I think Carl changed his number quite quick because I sent him a note,” Kelly said with a grin. “Otherwise, he just forgot about all his old teammates, because I sent him a note to congratulate him and I don’t know.”
Soderberg and Kelly complemented one another well. When jokingly asked if he’d be able to carry on without Soderberg, Kelly responded, “Will Carl be able to carry on?”
The Avalanche are in town on Nov. 12.