Dealing Chris Kelly to the Boston Bruins brings up two gut reactions. The first is that Boston's second round pick is probably fair value for Chris Kelly, who is 30 years of age and on pace for 33 points (thanks to Chemmy for the pace). The second is that even though fair value was received, I still don't like the trade.
Chris Kelly has been a valuable member of the Ottawa Senators for the five and a half seasons he's been a part of the club (Ed's note: is that all? It seems he's been around much longer), and it's a shame to see him leave to another team in the division while still under contract. Even a rebuild needs some veterans on the team for guidance (just look at how poorly the Oilers and Islanders continue to play despite great young players). Kelly would have been ideal for a rebuild -- he's not over the hill, and he could teach young players the things you want them to know -- good two-way game, strong work ethic, smart decisions, and solid penalty killing. Not only could he teach that to the younger players, but he could also provide these skills with his trademark consistency on a team that has been anything but consistent this season.
Regardless of the reasons behind the trade or the fair value that Ottawa received, the Senators now are incredibly thin at centre ice after losing both Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly. After Jason Spezza (who isn't exactly a model of health), the Senators' pivots are Peter Regin and Zack Smith. Nick Foligno was a centre in junior, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him return to that position, but it's still arguably the worst centre depth in the league. A second-round pick has the potential to be as good or better than Kelly in a few years' time (then again, it could very easily be worse), but that player won't be able to step in next season barring exceptional circumstances.
It's been common knowledge that Eugene Melnyk wanted to shed salaries where possible for the rebuild-that-we-can't-call-a-rebuild. Seems to me that Kelly was a victim of his $2.125M salary, which, though not a bargain, is hardly excessive given everything he brings to the table.
It's a shame to see Kelly go, but Senators fans will get to see him again real soon -- the Bruins are in Ottawa on Friday.