Looking at the Ottawa Senators roster, it probably should have been pretty obvious that a player like Chris Kelly was going to be dealt sooner rather than later. On a team full of negative stories, Kelly was a rare positive, complementing his strong defence with consistent offence as he headed towards a respectable offensive season. And that's exactly what made him attractive to the Boston Bruins, who--with an injury to Marc Savard exposing the rawness of Tyler Seguin's game--were suddenly in the market for a depth centreman.
Looking at the value realistically, it was fair, and may in fact have been a better than fair return for the Senators. Kelly is a role player and third-line centreman, admittedly a good one, but still limited in his potential. He'll serve the Bruins well through the playoffs, and through next season too.
Still, despite the fair value for Kelly, this trade sets the Senators up for a pretty rough year next season. Following closely after Mike Fisher in leaving Ottawa, the Sens have dealt away their two best penalty killers, their two best defensive centremen, and two of their best leaders in the dressing room. It hardly matters for this season, but it could be an issue depending on what kind of leaders return next year, and who the Sens might sign in the off-season.
When Fisher was traded, Mark mentioned it meant the Sens' first round pick would most likely be one of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Sean Couturier. With this deal, it's that much more probable that Ottawa will use their first-rounder to take a centreman, and they'll have plenty of room on the roster for that kid to step in to the NHL right away, if they decide he's ready.
Obviously, the trade gives more ammunition to what will obviously now be a massive Senate Reform: The Sens will have at least five picks in the top 70 of the draft (their own first-, second-, and third-rounders, plus Nashville's first and Boston's second). And there remain a good number of players who could bring back high picks: Alex Kovalev, Chris Phillips, and Chris Neil (who is now being mentioned in rumours). That's a heck of a lot of young, highly ranked players all joining an organization at one time, and they could very well form a solid core of players growing together, if the Sens can make the most of the picks. Tough to see a couple of solid character players like Fisher and Kelly go, but this year's draft is setting up as a huge one for the history of the Ottawa Senators franchise.
Above all, we know one thing: When blowing up a team, Bryan Murray doesn't mess around.