Re: The Kelly effect
posted at 1/16/2014 9:04 AM EST
Oh I don't think there's any doubt that it comes down to Campbell v. Kelly. If they're keeping Spooner, it's only to be the third line C. Nothing else. There's no place to move Kelly to wing unless it's to bump Soderberg, but I don't think you'd do that unless you were doing it at the end of the game to hold a lead - like a defensive replacement in baseball.*** So, assuming that the situation among the forwards remains unchanged, then yeah, I think one of PC's tasks over the summer will be to figure out which of his two defense-first centres he's going to keep.
Campbell's cheaper ($1.6M v. $3M), and next year is his contract year. If you're a team thinking you'd like to get a little bit of offense out of either of these guys, you might actually look at the stretch where Campbell played with Jagr last year and compare it to Kelly's 20 goal year. It was a short term, but he had 5 of his 13 points in those three games. In his best year with the Panthers, they had him with Peltonen and Dvorak and he had 32 points. Not terrible. Campbell's the more physical player by a good stretch, but Kelly's the guy who does everything right (except score). Consummate professional. In Ottawa, they still say things like "what this team needs now is a Chris Kelly...".
If it is Campbell who goes (and yeah, $3M is a bit of a horsepill for Kelly if his offense is gone), I don't really care if Kelly likes being relegated to the 4th line. He'll play slightly less than he does now, but still take draws, play the PK, and he'd be the obvious choice to step up if Spooner's defensive play gets him doghoused.
***And hey, why not take a page from the baseball playbook. If it comes to pass that they keep both Campbell and Kelly when Kelly's back, I love the idea of Kelly-Campbell-Paille and Soderberg-Spooner-Smith/Eriksson as the bottom two lines with Spooner's line playing more when the team needs offense - and only slightly more at the beginning of games, Campbell's when they need to hold a lead or turn momentum. I also love that Soderberg-Spooner-Smith would be a cheaper line than Kelly alone.