Chris Kelly is back in the Ottawa Senators organization, although this time on a much lower level. The Belleville Senators have signed him to a PTO, after going months without a contract. The Edmonton Oilers previously offered him a PTO during training camp, although released him sans contract.
Kelly, who’s played 833 career games including a Stanley Cup win with the Boston Bruins, spent last season on the Ottawa Senators’ main roster. Originally drafted by Ottawa in 1999, Kelly rejoined on a one-year contract last season, playing all 82 regular season games. He fell out of favour come the playoffs, however, as the Sens had an immense amount of forward depth. His 0.15 points per game in 2016-17 was the lowest of his career, and he’ll get a chance to find his game again in the lower-tier AHL. Having turned 37 earlier this month, however, it looks to be an uphill battle for Kelly.
The PTO comes in light of the Tampa Bay Lightning claiming Chris DiDomenico off waivers earlier today. The Senators were hoping he’d clear and rejoin the Belleville Senators, although his departure leaves a slight hole at forward. Chris Kelly fills that hole, although whether he’ll be effective is separate question. Guy Boucher has expressed his desire for 35+ veterans in the past, so if Kelly plans to make an eventual return to the NHL, Ottawa may be his best bet.