The Boston Bruins have announced that they have signed veteran forward Lee Stempniak to a contract for the remainder of the season. Stempniak has been placed on waivers and will remain with AHL Providence, where he has been on a PTO, assuming he clears. Stempniak has been practicing with the Bruins since training camp and his signing has long been expected. Fox Sports’ Andy Strickland adds that it is a minimum $650K contract, but notably a one-way deal.
Stempniak, 36, is now ready to begin his second career stint in Boston. The Bruins acquired Stempniak from the New Jersey Devils at the 2016 trade deadline from the New Jersey Devils. While Stempniak performed well, recording ten points in 19 games, it wasn’t enough to push the Bruins into the postseason. With the playoffs nearly guaranteed for Boston this year, Stempniak’s second time around will at least be lengthier. His production however is more of a question mark. Although the veteran forward has four points in four games with the AHL’s Providence Bruins over the past two weeks and was one of Boston’s top scorers in the preseason while on a tryout deal, he has not played a meaningful NHL game for more than a year. How he will be utilized by the Bruins down the stretch will be interesting to see.
At the very least, Stempniak is an affordable add that brings plenty of experience and locker room presence. A veteran of more than 900 NHL games, Stempniak brings a smart, well-rounded game up front. The Bruins made a similar addition last season in Brian Gionta, who was used sparingly in the regular season and postseason, but given Stempniak’s familiarity with the team, he may see more action. Boston also has a need at right wing, something that many expected they would fill before the trade deadline. If the Bruins can’t find the right trade to make, that could also increase Stempniak’s role over the remainder of the year.