Chris Kelly returns to Ottawa again.
The Senators named Kelly as their newest player-development coach on Tuesday. The reunion marks Kelly’s third stint with Ottawa during his career.
Kelly, 37, joins former NHLer and Senator teammate Shean Donovan in sharing the responsibilities of player development. Kelly’s role will be similar to Donovan’s, one centered on “overseeing the progress of prospects throughout the Senators organizational system,” according to the team’s website.
Kelly returns to the team that drafted him in 1999. He is familiar with the Ottawa Way. First, as a former player, he understands the elements and stages of player development. Second, Kelly is intimately familiar with the team’s management, history, and player development system. Third, sharing the role with Donovan will help Kelly have a smooth transition from NHL player to player-development coach. Finally, Ottawa players benefit from coaching by a Stanley Cup champion.
The Senators drafted Kelly 94th overall in the third-round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play parts of seven seasons with the Sens between 2003 and 2011. A gritty, two-way center, Kelly helped the Senators reach the Stanley Cup finals in the spring of 2007. In his first seven years with Ottawa, Kelly amassed 176 points in 463 games. Acquired by the Boston Bruins for a 2011 second-round pick (Shane Prince), Kelly won the Stanley Cup that year. He played in Boston until the end of the 2015-16 season.
In the summer of 2016, Kelly returned to the Senators as an unrestricted free agent. Kelly played an important role that season, helping the Sens reach the playoffs: They lost in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals to the eventual Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins. Kelly remained with Ottawa the next season, but played only 16 games for Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators. He finished the season and his playing career with the Anaheim Ducks.
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Kelly collected 291 points in 845 games in his career. He is a Stanley Cup champion, a gold medalist with Team Canada at the 2017 Spengler Cup. He won a bronze medal, serving as captain of the 2018 Canadian Olympic Men’s hockey team.
About Billy Morrison: Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the NHL’s Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage.
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