By Danny Picard
WILMINGTON -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made sure to mention Chris Kelly's versatility during Tuesday night's press conference. He also made it a point to acknowledge he wants Kelly centering the team's third line, and looks to move rookie Tyler Seguin back to the wing.
Since Boston's "third line" has, of late, consisted of Seguin centering Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, it would seem someone has to either be bumped to the fourth line, become a healthy scratch, or get traded.
The latter may eventually occur, but as of right now, coach Claude Julien has a decision to make with what his GM called the "third line."
But that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"A coach doesn't mind having that extra player, because it just creates that competition and gets players out of their comfort zone," said Julien after Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "That's never a bad thing."
Kelly -- a Canadian-born player coming from the Ottawa Senators -- was expected to have some minor visa issues, and was not present at Bruins practice on Wednesday, so the team's third line remained the same.
Afterwards, Wheeler said he had "no idea" when asked if he was preparing to play on a line with Kelly in the middle. His thinking was that that decision would be made on Thursday, prior to the Bruins' game in New York against the Islanders.
Knowing Kelly's versatility, Wheeler had no idea the decision to put the newly-acquired centerman in the middle of his line was already talked about.
"I know he's a really solid two-way player," said Wheeler. "Playing against him, he's a guy that, when he's on the ice, you know he's not going to be easy to get scoring chances against. He's very responsible defensively. At the same time, he's capable of producing offensively as well. So I think he's a guy that fits into what we try to do here extremely well, a guy that I think can be really valuable for us down the stretch."
Julien said he was unsure if Kelly's visa issues would prevent him from missing Thursday's game in New York, but did say that when he does arrive with the club, they'll keep him at his normal position, at center.
"The number one place you'd want to put him, would be at center," said Julien. "He's played there most of his career. And the versatility certainly helps. Right now, with Savard being out, and maybe looking for a little bit more experience down the middle, I think that's probably the area we're going to be looking at."
"It's a great addition," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who played with Kelly in Ottawa. "He's a hard-working player. He's a smart player. He always plays his role well, and for sure, he's going to give us more depth in the middle with the experience he has."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.