The Boston Bruins have their eyes on this season and the Stanley Cup playoff run ahead of them, but they also very clearly have their sights set on the future as well. The Boston Bruins showed it on Sunday with the news that they’ve signed Swedish winger Oskar Steen to a two-year, one-way contract at a cap hit of $800,000 for both seasons.
With the one-way contract, it’s a safe assumption that the 24-year-old Steen is being penciled in for a bottom-6 winger role at the NHL level next season. Steen has 15 goals and 31 points in 41 games for the Providence Bruins and two goals and six points in 19 games along with a minus-1 rating for the Boston Bruins this season as well.
It seemed as though Oskar Steen had won himself an NHL roster spot earlier this season after a strong stretch, but that hasn’t been the case while he’s been in Providence over the last few months.
With veterans Curtis Lazar and Anton Blidh both approaching unrestricted free agency at the end of this season, it’s clear there will be an opening on the NHL roster that Steen is expected to fill in based on the contract. Lazar (eight goals, 16 points in 60 games) has the identical $800,000 cap hit to Steen in the next couple of seasons, so it might be as simple as that based on the salary cap dynamics.
The timing of it all is a bit curious, however, with less than a month to go in the NHL regular season and the entire Boston Bruins organization focused on the postseason while jostling with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division for possible home ice advantage in the first round.
The Karlstad, Sweden native was drafted by the Bruins in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry draft and is considered a solid prospect for the third or fourth line with some offensive upside to potentially play a little higher in the lineup.