Tag: Chris Kelly

Nashville Predators v Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche’s biggest question: How much will they miss Ryan O’Reilly?


If the contract Ryan O’Reilly signed with the Buffalo Sabres is any indication, the Colorado Avalanche traded away a pretty good player this offseason.

O’Reilly’s stats are a pretty good indication, too. Still just 24 years old, he was the Avalanche’s third-leading scorer last season with 55 points in 82 games. On top of that, he killed penalties and won 53.4 percent of his faceoffs.

No wonder the Avs didn’t want to make this trade. They repeatedly stated their intention was to re-sign O’Reilly. Ultimately, however, his contract request included “numbers that we just didn’t go to,” according to GM Joe Sakic.

In return for O’Reilly, the Sabres sent the Avs defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forwards Mikhail Grigorenko and J.T. Compher, plus a draft pick. All three of those players are young, and it would be unreasonable to expect any of them to make a significant impact next season.

That’s why the Avs acquired Carl Soderberg from Boston and promptly signed him to a five-year pact worth almost $24 million. The plan is for the 29-year-old Soderberg to center Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, just like O’Reilly did.

But whether Soderberg can play to O’Reilly’s level remains to be seen. Last year with the B’s, he had 44 points in 82 games, skating mostly with Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly. With all due respect to those two veterans, MacKinnon and Landeskog represent an upgrade in linemates. Hence, Soderberg’s excitement at signing up for the opportunity.

It’s all the other stuff O’Reilly did, beyond putting up points, that Soderberg may not be able to replace.

Said Sabres GM Tim Murray upon giving O’Reilly that big contract extension: “It’s not easy to find a player who, at his age, is already established in the league as someone who plays a complete game and makes his teammates better. When we acquired him, we viewed him as someone who could immediately improve our roster, but was still young enough to make an impact for several years to come.”

Related: Mikhail Grigorenko is looking to make the leap

Report: Bruins trying to keep McQuaid

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning

The Boston Bruins are apparently exploring ways to keep defenseman Adam McQuaid, a pending unrestricted free agent.

GM Don Sweeney hinted at it this morning, saying on a conference call that he’s had talks with teams that may allow the Bruins to re-sign one of their UFAs.

Now, according to Joe Haggerty, “multiple league sources have indicated to CSNNE.com that Adam McQuaid is the player Boston would like to re-sign.”

McQuaid would very much like to be back. The physical 28-year-old is coming off a challenging season, one in which the departure of Johnny Boychuk forced him into a bigger role with the B’s. But he’s also the kind of player that would seem to match Sweeney’s plans for the franchise to get back to its aggressive ways.

What’s uncertain is how Sweeney plans to make room for McQuaid. Loui Eriksson and Milan Lucic have both had their names floated in trade rumors. Chris Kelly’s $3 million cap hit stands out, but he’d be tough to move.

Related: ‘Highly unlikely’ Soderberg back in Boston

Bruins don’t want to ‘rely on the last game’ to make the playoffs

Boston Bruins Vs. Toronto Maple Leafs At TD Garden

And so it comes down to the last three games — all on the road — for the Boston Bruins to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

Chances are, they’ll get the job done. Two wins would do it. Even just one could be good enough. They already deserve some credit, heading into tonight’s contest in D.C. having won five in a row.

That being said, there are easier ways to try and clinch than with three away games in four days: tonight at Washington, tomorrow at Florida, and Saturday at Tampa Bay. Two of those teams are headed to the playoffs. The other was close, and will be rested.

“We don’t have an easy schedule,” coach Claude Julien conceded, per CSN New England. “We have a game against Washington and we know what that represents, but it’s also a late game with a late arrival in Florida the next day.

“So we really need to take care of business early on, and try and take as many of those points as we can to not have to rely on the last game.”

It’s been quite the year for this Boston team. Even without Jarome Iginla and Johnny Boychuk, it wasn’t supposed to be this hard. The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy last season; they finished with a 27-point cushion. Their cushion now, over the Ottawa Senators, is zero points and one game in hand.

“This is why you play hockey,” said forward Chris Kelly, choosing to focus on the positives. “You don’t play to play in meaningless hockey games. You play to have purpose, and there’s nothing better than playing 82 games that have purpose. Every year is a different situation.”