2009-10: Dan Kelly’s final season with Kitchener brought improvements in all areas. He would tally 27 points and 99 PIM with the Rangers.
2010-11: Kelly provided consistent , hard-nosed defensive play for the AHL's Albany Devils in his first pro season. Kelly appeared in 61 games for the Devils, missing a two week stretch in late March due to illness, and scored 2 goals with 5 assists and 71 PMs. Dan Kelly's +7 plus/minus was tied with two others for team-best on an Albany team that finished last in the East Division.
2011-12: Kelly returned to the AHL's Albany Devils for his second pro season — once again providing toughness and hard-scrabble defensive play. Shuffling in and out of the lineup early in the year with several veterans in the lineup, he appeared in 54 games and was second on Albany with 93 penalty minutes. Kelly had the top plus-minus amongst Albany regulars (plus-six) and scored 2 goals with 4 assists. Albany finished last in the Northeast Division; missing the AHL playoffs for the second straight year.
2012-13: Kelly spent his third pro season with Devils affiliate Albany. Due to the NHL lockout, he was a healthy scratch at times in the first half. Kelly had the top plus/minus (+10) amongst Albany defensemen and scored 2 goals with 6 assists and 62 penalty minutes in 47 games. Albany missed the AHL playoffs after finishing fourth in the Northeast Division. Kelly signed an AHL contract with Albany in August, 2013.
A meat-and-potatoes, defensive-minded defenseman, Kelly’s game isn’t flashy, but it works for him. He plays a safe and simple game, and oozes leadership qualities and intangibles. Kelly is a heart-and-soul type that isn’t afraid to do the dirty work to help his team win games.
Kelly has worked very hard to get to where he has thus far in his career. He’s going to have to continue to work his tail off as the organization is flush full of defenseman and his upside is quite limited compared to other prospects. If he keeps plugging away, he might eventually make it as a depth defenseman.