The Boston Bruins indicated in recent days that Oskar Steen had done enough to win a spot on Boston’s NHL roster, and they made a move on Sunday to prove it. The Bruins placed veteran winger Karson Kuhlman on waivers on Sunday afternoon presumably to free up a permanent spot for the 23-year-old Steen, who has one goal and five points along with a plus-4 in 11 games of energetic bottom-6 winger duty.
“What’s happened is [that] he’s come up and played well,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy earlier this month of Steen. “So, yeah, we’ve got a decision to make when it comes to him. You’ve got these depth [players] in our lineup, contract situations, roster issues, so [it] becomes a little bit of asset management as well. I mean, he doesn’t need waivers. It happens to certain guys in the league and throughout the league at times.
“Eventually you push your way through where you won’t get taken out and then you adjust your roster, right? So that happens to a lot of different teams.”
It also speaks to Trent Frederic (upper body) and/or Nick Foligno (lower body) potentially returning from injury when the Boston Bruins play their next game.
The dependable Kuhlman had one goal and two points in 19 games for the Boston Bruins this season but is a very known commodity as a depth player after bouncing between the NHL and AHL over the last four NHL seasons. Kuhlman has seven goals and 15 points in 75 NHL games along with a plus-15 rating in his career and enjoyed his best AHL season in 2018-19 when he scored 12 goals and 30 points in 58 games for the P-Bruins.
The chances are pretty good that the speedy, hard-working Kuhlman isn’t going to get claimed on waivers based on his 5-foot-10, 190-pound size and limited offensive numbers. Either way, Steen has earned a spot with the Black and Gold based on his offensive upside, his competitiveness each and every shift and the parallels between him and a young Brad Marchand in terms of style of play, size and a high ceiling based on the blend of skills.