The Bruins have added to their depth along the wing and perhaps hedged their bets in case they fall short of their top-6 winger targets at tomorrow’s NHL trade deadline.
The Bruins have signed 36-year-old veteran winger Lee Stempniak to a contract for the rest of the 2018-19 season after the former Bruins forward spent portions of this season skating with the NHL club on a tryout basis.
The one-year deal is worth the veteran minimum of $650,000.
Stempniak has tallied two goals and two assists for four points in four AHL games with the club, and was waived by the Bruins after the signing for the purposes of an assignment with the P-Bruins to keep sharpening his game after not really playing all season.
Stempniak played just 37 games for the Carolina Hurricanes through an injury-plagued season where he finished with three goals and nine points along with a minus-8 rating and didn’t get any bona fide NHL offers from any teams headed into this season. Stempniak joined the Bruins for training camp and has been a consistent presence at practice working out with his former B’s teammates, and clearly hoping he would be signed at some point to an NHL deal.
Clearly the signing of Stempniak is a depth move and he’s only a couple of years removed from posting 16 goals and 40 points while playing in all 82 games for the Carolina Hurricanes. What it doesn’t mean is that the Bruins are done trying to make a push for a bigger top-6 name like Mark Stone or Artemi Panarin, or hooking on to players like Wayne Simmonds, Ryan Dzingel, Kevin Hayes, Gustav Nyquist or Thomas Vanek.
Stempniak had three goals and 10 points in 16 games for the Bruins, and mostly played right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, during the 2015-16 NHL season when he was a trade deadline acquisition for the Black and Gold in a season where Boston ultimately fell short of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
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