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BLOG: Chris Kelly looks for opportunity

by Marc Ciampa /

After playing 82 games last season with the Ottawa Senators and 833 NHL games in his career, the 36-year-old forward comes into this season's Oilers training camp without a contract. 

"My mindset is ultimately I'd love to make this hockey club and play as many games (as possible) but at the same time, I understand the circumstance, where I am in my career and the group that's here," Kelly said following Sunday's skate at camp. 

Kelly would love to join an Oilers team that he foresees as being one ready to take another step forward after a very successful 2016-17 campaign. 

"It's the makings of a good team as everyone buys in and helps wherever they can. I think I've done that in the past and I'm willing to do that with this group."

Oilers head coach Todd McLellan made sure to point out that Kelly isn't here to just fill a space as some teams will do with PTOs. In fact, Kelly is the only PTO the Oilers have at camp this year. 

"We didn't bring him here just to put him in a tryout situation. We brought him here because we believe he can still play in the League and contribute," McLellan remarked. "We want individuals here that have an opportunity. I believe Chris can be that. It's going to be an important exhibition season for him. We see him being a penalty killer, a third or fourth line role player with a ton of experience who's very fit and skates well."

Kelly has history with Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli, having won a Stanley Cup with him in Boston in 2011 and has high praise for the executive. 

"I think Peter's an excellent GM and his track record proves that. His ability to find good people that fit in certain situations and the way he's able to mould a team. He did it in Boston and I'm seeing that here. The dynamic of the group and how he's surrounded certain people with other people. There's a reason this team had success last year and will continue to have success. They're a great team."



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