Boston Bruins: Chris Kelly Signs with HC Red Ice in Swiss Second Division

Chris BlanchardContributor IIIOctober 31, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 31: Chris Kelly #23 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 31, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Bruins center Chris Kelly has signed a contract with Switzerland's HC Red Ice, according to James Murphy of ESPN Boston.

HC Red Ice is a member of Switzerland's National League B, one division below Switzerland's top league. Kelly is the third Bruin to sign in Switzerland.

Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin have thrived in Switzerland's National League A, which is currently occupied by a number of NHL stars including Henrik Zetterberg, Logan Couture and Patrick Kane.

Kelly's decision to join a second-tier league comes as somewhat of a surprise due to the low level of competition. Clearly, he is in search of little more than culture and conditioning. 

Kelly has signed a one-month contract with the club. He will have an option to renew the contract monthly, and he will be afforded the opportunity to return to the NHL if the lockout is resolved.

Kelly is now the 10th Bruin to seek work in Europe. Four players, including Tuukka Rask, Andrew Ference, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara, are playing in the Czech Republic. Anton Khudobin, Rich Peverley and Dennis Seidenberg round out the group playing in Russia, Finland and Germany, respectively. 

Kelly is coming off the best season of his career. The Bruins third-line center scored 20 goals and finished tied with Chara for third in the league in plus-minus, earning a plus-33 rating. He ought to become his new league's best player from the get-go.

The Bruins will hope that Kelly can stay healthy, as they have seen both Rask and Bergeron miss games with minor injuries in recent weeks.