Big news in the hockey world this week. On Monday, the Bruins locked up two keys to their recent success, forwards Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell with multi year deals. Oh, and a few guys from L.A. hoisted some 35 pound piece of metal for a few hours. Kidding aside, the B’s quietly secured two of the biggest pieces to their offseason puzzle.
Kelly received a deal for a reasonable 12 million dollars over four years, working out to a cap hit of only 3 million. While the versatile 3rd line center’s 20 goal season provided nice spark last year, don’t expect to see it again. He’ll provide some decent pop from the bottom six, but it’s really his defensive instincts, quality face-off work, and valuable leadership that makes this such a clutch signing. A strong performance that uplifts the third line, coupled with a strong penalty kill, helps take some of the heat off the team’s top two lines. He’s also dependable enough to slide into the number two hole when needed.
Campbell, meanwhile, was had for a respectable three year, 4.8 million dollar deal. With a cap hit of about 1.6 million, the plucky center pairs with Shawn Thornton as the heart and soul of the B’s energy line. Throw in the recently re-signed Danielle Paille and the trio forms what is hands down the best number four line in the NHL. While all three forwards play their role, it’s Campbell that gives the unit instant credibility. He provides the team with a spark, decent face-off numbers, and a much needed penalty killer to help spell Kelly and Patrice Bergeron. Don’t forget his willingness to drop the gloves with just about anyone.
It’s these carefully picked, and now well rewarded, players who help make the B’s a success. With these signings, the Bruins core remains intact for next year and looking strong for the year after. The only true question marks remaining are Tukkaa Rask (Restricted Free Agent), and the health of Nathan Horton. Without flash, Boston has to rely on it’s depth to get the job done, night in and night out. This proves Peter Chiarelli’s faith that nobody get’s the job done better than these two guys.