Finnish center Joonas Kemppainen is one-and-done as a member of the Bruins. His agent, J.P. Barry, confirmed to CSNNE.com that his client has signed a one-year deal with KHL team Sibiu Novosibirsk for the upcoming season.
Kemppainen, 28, signed a one-year deal with the Bruins last summer as Don Sweeney’s first official move after taking over as general manager, and made the team out of training camp based on his large 6-foot-3, 223-pound frame, along with a reputation as a good face-off/defensive center.
Kemppainen was adequate enough in both areas while posting two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 44 games for the Black and Gold, but was a slow-skating offensive liability when given minutes as a third- and fourth-line center. In the end, the strengths simply didn’t outweigh the weaknesses for Kemppainen, who rotated in among Ryan Spooner, Chris Kelly and Max Talbot for the first few months of the NHL season while the Bruins gave him a chance to show his stuff.
Kemppainen was sent down to Providence right after the NHL trade deadline, and wasn’t seen back in Boston again for the rest of the season while finishing up his first North American season in the AHL. Kemppainen had one goal and five points in 11 games for the P-Bruins.
With Spooner locked in as the third-line center, Kelly still a possibility to return as a veteran defensive forward and Noel Acciari impressive with his hard-nosed, physical play late in the season, there was clearly no spot for a Kemppainen return to Boston next season. Add Austin Czarnik to that mix as a possible third- or fourth-line center candidate next season, and it should be a competitive group of bottom-six center candidates that can make an significant impact at both ends of the ice.
The Kemppainen signing in the KHL was first reported by Igor Eronko of Sport-Express.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Bruins are going into troll mode.
*Here is the aforementioned “troll mode” for the Bruins now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth. They came out with a marketing campaign where they’re dragging FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Felger for his early season take that the Bruins season is over. He also ripped the young players at the beginning of the year as well, so they used the sound from “Felger and Mazz” with video clips of David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy dominating for the Black and Gold, and shots of the young players mean mugging at the camera. It definitely shows that the Bruins perhaps care a little too much about what the media thinks about them, but it’s also a fair bit of clap-back toward a take that was a little too harsh on the B’s early in the season.
*What a great piece on the Stoneman Douglas hockey team as they embark on a national hockey tournament after winning at the state level in the weeks after the Parkland shooting.
*Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says the Hawks aren’t shaken even as they’ll be missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. What a disappointing season.
*Despite a great season, Taylor Hall may end up missing the playoffs with the New Jersey Devils amidst his Hart Trophy-type season.
*Good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs as Auston Matthews is returning from injury ahead of the playoffs.
*For something completely different: This new, updated version of the Karate Kid web series looks awesome with Billy Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.
Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.
MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues
The Bruins currently sit six points behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.
If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.