Only signing a one year deal with the Senators (which brings him to UFA status next year), Chris Kelly will play out the season and depart in the summer. Why? Because at $1.25 million, Kelly is a tad expensive for a fourth liner, especially when the Sens have Nick Foligno and Josh Hennessy coming up the ranks as well as already having Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher in the lineup. In fact, if either of Foligno or Hennessy show they can play this season, Kelly immediately becomes trade bait. There is no doubt that Kelly is a good player, in fact a heart and soul player, but Ottawa has bigger fish to fry next season when they attempt to keep Fisher and Dany Heatley from bolting to free agency and Jason Spezza needing a new contract as well.
Those are three huge contracts to deal with, not to mention that Wade Redden will also become a UFA at the same time. Many think Redden will leave anyways but Bryan Murray will need all the room he can get to keep the core of the team intact. Unfortunately, players like Kelly are dispensable in the long view but he will find a good home and be an impact player for someone else two seasons from now.