Perhaps the worst thing that could have happened to Chris Kelly was scoring 20 goals in his first full season with the Boston Bruins.

It wasn’t that bad a deal for Kelly, of course. He can put 20-goal scorer down on his NHL resume for the rest of his career and it added a few dollars to his asking price when he hit unrestricted free agency last summer before inking a four-year, $12 million contract with the Bruins.

But it also raised the expectations for the third line center, and he’s been a slow starter this time around. Kelly doesn’t have a goal after 11 games this season, and has managed only three assists along with a minus-3 rating.

Claude Julien said there are some of his players that “aren’t where they should be right now”, and it’s difficult to imagine that Kelly isn’t one of the players his head coach is referring to.

“He had a great start last year. He scored some goals and had some decent points,” said Julien. “Now all of a sudden the expectations get higher, and certainly he would be the first guy to tell you that he’s not at the top of his game quite yet.

“But at the same time he’s a veteran and he knows what to do.”

It’s been part of a slow building process for the third line as Chris Bourque and Rich Peverley only have a single goal each through the first quarter of the season, and the offensive production has been down for the entire line.

“The goals have been a little slow to come by so far this season, but our line is playing good defense and we’re winning games,” said Kelly. “It might be a different story if the team was struggling right now, but it’s giving players time to find their games.”