It’s no secret that the Boston Bruins are experiencing some serious issues with offensive production from their middle-6 forward group. With that in mind, the Boston Bruins have called Oskar Steen up from Providence for Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center after an impressive stretch of AHL performances for the Providence Bruins.
The 25-year-old Steen has five goals and 10 points in seven games for the P-Bruins this season as their leading scorer and put up an assist in the only game he played at the NHL level with the Black and Gold this season. The 5-foot-9, 192-pound Steen clearly brings offense to the table as evidenced by the numbers he’s posted since coming over from Sweden, but he also brings a little sandpaper and grit that makes him a pretty good fit for a bottom-6 role as well.
It remains to be seen who Steen might replace in the lineup, but there are definitely a few candidates at this point. Erik Haula has one assist and a minus-4 rating in 11 games to start the season and has been an offensive disappointment after a promising start to his Boston Bruins career during the preseason.
Jake DeBrusk scored a couple goals early in the season but hasn’t done anything since while also posting a minus-4 this season and really proving to be a defensive weak link in Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
It could also be that Steen is insurance in case players like Craig Smith or Nick Foligno are still banged up from previous injuries they’ve returned from, but it seems much more likely that he’s being brought up to play and potentially bring a spark. Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy weighed the chances of calling somebody up from Providence after Friday’s practice, but clearly before they made the decision to call somebody up.
“I still think the guys here have had success in this league, like Craig Smith for example. He’s a guy that typically is going to put up his numbers. He’s been playing through some injuries, and he’s been off-net with some of his shots because I think he’s pressing…he wants to score a goal so bad that he’s been trying to squeeze it through rather than forcing the goalie to stop it,” said Cassidy. “There’s a little bit of that. Some of it is newness for certain guys, but we are in mid-November. So I can’t use that as a crutch all the time and neither should they.
“But it is a reality. It’s not like our top line, who have been together for years. So I certainly believe those guys will come around, but how they come around is our job now. That’s what we’re trying to do is encourage them to put it on net, go for 2-for-1’s and create a rebound situation for a goal when they’re not going in otherwise. As for Providence, we’ve had Jack [Studnicka] up here and he hasn’t proven that he can score on a regular level for a second or third line player. Maybe given the opportunity he could do that. Steen has scored a little bit down [in the AHL] but hasn’t done it here [at the NHL]. I think there’s guys down [in Providence] that potentially could be [up for it], but are they automatics? No. I think the guys that are here are, they just need to start getting it done.”
Clearly, the Bruins had more discussion about this following this morning’s practice and now it looks like Steen will get another crack to light a fire with second and third line forwards not doing much of anything lately.