The Edmonton Oilers signed winger Chris Kelly to a professional tryout Wednesday and will see what he can bring to the table at training camp.
Kelly has played under Peter Chiarelli’s reign back when he played with the Boston Bruins in 2010. He remained with the team for six straight seasons until most recently suiting up for the Ottawa Senators for the 2016-17 campaign.
In 82 games this past season, the 36-year-old posted just five goals and 12 points and was a minus-17. However, he also managed 71 hits and 48 blocks, and also had just 24 giveaways. IN addition, he won over 44 percent of his faceoffs.
Kelly is a smart, solid bottom-six forward who can play either the centre or the wing. Though his point totals have tapered off as he’s aged, he has shown offensive acumen throughout his career. He had a career-high 20 goals back in 2011-12, and also has five 30-plus point campaigns under his belt.
When it comes to Kelly, he is a versatile, utility forward who fits in well on the checking line. He is a physical player with a decent frame, and he plays a solid two-way game. However, to prove his worth at the NHL level, he must show that he still has scoring ability and the potential to make an impact and remain consistent as he ages.
Considering the Oilers’ depth heading into this season, it is interesting to see them bring a player like Kelly on board. Perhaps the injury to Anton Slepyshev will result in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins moving to the wing, which will then see a spot open down the middle. Though he is a left-winger, he can line up on either side, which should help provide depth and insurance on the Oilers forward lines.
In addition, Kelly will surely add to the competition among OIlers prospects and players vying for a spot on the opening night roster, which should lead to more effort and edge throughout camp.
Overall, the Oilers made a low-risk move, and there is a lot for Kelly to prove to the organization before the season starts.