The Boston Bruins made a tough decision to place Karson Kuhlman on waivers after Oskar Steen earned a spot on the NHL roster, and they paid the price for it on Monday. The 26-year-old Kuhlman was claimed on waivers on Monday afternoon by the Kraken after posting a goal and two points in 19 games along with an even plus/minus rating this season and finished with seven goals and 15 points in 75 games for the Boston Bruins over parts of the last four seasons.
There’s little doubt that Seattle Kraken assistant coach Jay Leach had some involvement in the decision after coaching the speedy, hard-working Kuhlman in Providence, just as he undoubtedly had input on them taking Jeremy Lauzon in the expansion draft as well.
While it’s a loss for the organizational depth at forward given that Kuhlman was well-liked enough to play in the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, the simple truth was that Steen, with a goal and five points in 11 games while energizing the bottom-6 forward group over the last few weeks, has passed him on the depth charts at the NHL level.
They both play right wing as true right shots, so do the math.
“I think we started with 14 (forwards), now you add (Oskar Steen) into the mix and I think he’s done well enough to stay in the lineup. He plays the same position as [Kuhlman], so, yeah, that has a lot to do with it,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on Monday. “I credit Steen for coming in and pushing guys and doing a good job. [Kuhlman], on the other hand, he played well. He played to his strength, tried to be a little more physical at times when he could. Steen is just a little ahead of him right now.”
It’s perhaps a little surprising that Kuhlman would get claimed on waivers based on his modest offensive numbers, but he’ll absolutely get a better chance at NHL playing time on a Seattle expansion team still getting their bearings.