Even before Kelly suffered the injury during a second-period collision with the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Neil on Monday night in Ottawa, Chiarelli already had started his due diligence in the trade market.
He has the resources ($7.6 million in cap space) to make a deal for a top-tier player, and now with Kelly sidelined, Chiarelli could pull the trigger sooner than later.
A name that quickly comes to mind is the Calgary Flames’ Jarome Iginla. When the Bruins announced Kelly’s injury Wednesday afternoon, the Flames were in last place in the Western Conference with 22 points, but only six points out of a playoff spot. The highly talented forward becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season, so he could be a quick fix and could be lured to Boston with the chance of winning a Stanley Cup.
Here’s the problem: With the condensed schedule, more teams are still in playoff contention, so teams might not be as willing to part with talent. Plus, Chiarelli needs to add to the team without subtracting from the current roster and core chemistry.
If other GMs are not willing to deal with the Bruins, Chiarelli will have to focus internally on a solution. He recently recalled forward Jordan Caron from Providence of the AHL, and in the three games he’s played for the big club, Chiarelli has been impressed with the 22-year-old forward.
In Kelly's absence during Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, veteran Jay Pandolfo was inserted onto the line with Caron and Rich Peverley. Pandolfo, 38, has played only five games for the Bruins this season, but coach Claude Julien understands what the veteran can add on and off the ice.
Also, forward Lane MacDermid has been a healthy scratch for the majority of the season. He has played only three games but could be called upon.
As of Wednesday night, the Bruins had not recalled a player from Providence, even though Chiarelli believes there are P-Bruins players ready to contribute if needed.
Chiarelli’s job is to improve the team, and he’ll attempt to do that before the trade deadline. He hasn’t been shy in the past, and he won’t be now.