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How adding Chris Kelly could push a Bruins forward off their third line

Feb 16, 2011, 11:37 PM EST

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The Boston Bruins’ acquisition of Chris Kelly cost them their 2011 second round draft pick, but they bought themselves a versatile two-way player and the potentially useful boost that comes from inner-squad competition. After all, adding an NHL-ready player means that someone else will lose ice time and/or find himself in the press box.

Danny Picard of CSN New England writes that Kelly’s arrival might push someone off the Bruins’ third line. Despite the fact that Kelly is capable of playing as a wing, Boston coach Claude Julien said he would prefer to place the defensively adept forward in his natural center position.

Boston’s typical “third” line features Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler on the wings with Tyler Seguin at center, but Picard reports that Seguin might still remain on a new third line as a winger. Picard remarks that this logjam could even result in a trade for the odd man out.

Since Boston’s “third line” has, of late, consisted of Seguin centering Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, it would seem someone has to either be bumped to the fourth line, become a healthy scratch, or get traded.

The latter may eventually occur, but as of right now, coach Claude Julien has a decision to make with what his GM called the “third line.”

But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“A coach doesn’t mind having that extra player, because it just creates that competition and gets players out of their comfort zone,” said Julien after Wednesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “That’s never a bad thing.”

Then again, perhaps the Bruins will try to move an excess forward for an offensive defenseman? It will be interesting to see what kind of domino effect the Kelly trade will have in Boston. Of course, we’ll keep you up to date about any other transactions the Bruins make (and every other NHL team makes, for that matter) as the trade deadline frenzy approaches.

  1. homelanddefense - Feb 17, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    seems to me that they will be trading a forward. I think it will be Wheeler in a package for a offensive defenseman like Kaberle. Wheeler and a pick. The need to move salary to add players

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