By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins and restricted free agent forward Karson Kuhlman agreed to a two-year deal worth $725,000 per season at the NHL level, the team confirmed Tuesday.
Kuhlman’s new deal with the B’s comes after a 25-game run with Boston in 2019-20, with one goal and six points during the regular season, and the Minnesota-born wing has totaled four goals and 11 points in 36 NHL games over two seasons.
It’s been a mixed bag for Kuhlman at the NHL level, too. He’s at times appeared to be a fit with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci on Boston’s second line (he got the call with them in the final two games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final), but the lack of finishing has at times been noticeable, and there’s also the foot injury that completely derailed Kuhlman’s top-six chances in 2019-20.
“Obviously that was a tough start, getting hurt right off the bat like that,” Kuhlman, who sustained a broken bone in his leg in Oct, acknowledged. “Kind of the first time in my career that I’d missed substantial time.”
But hardly a natural scorer (not at the NHL level anyway), even with the injuries factored in, the 25-year-old Kuhlman’s true value to the Bruins may have came to light late in Boston’s in-bubble postseason, which saw the 5-foot-11 wing use his speed and forechecking ability to create trouble for the opposition, with 11 shots on goal and 18 hits in just five postseason tilts.
The Bruins may be in the market for such talents, too, with fourth-line winger Joakim Nordstrom off to Calgary on a league-minimum deal, and with the Bruins seemingly always looking to play with a more up-tempo style.
“My expectations from myself are to go into camp kind of like I did last year: Go in there and play my game and be able to help the team right off the bat,” said Kuhlman. “Now obviously it’s a great roster, like you said, we’re deep. Yeah, my expectations of myself are to be there and to continue to get better and to help the team out as much as possible.”
With Kuhlman signed, Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn are the B’s final two restricted free agents in need of new deals.