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Rent-A-Stempniak: How another pending free agent helped the Bruins

Lee Stempniak joined the Bruins at the trade deadline.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

There are so many ways to appreciate an NHL career. Stars that are committed to spending their entire career with one team are a treat; some stick it out, and others agree to help their beloved team by leaving to join a contender in exchange for picks. The opposite end of the spectrum are players like Max Talbot, who has played bit roles on several teams and will now be extending his professional career abroad.

Lee Stempniak's career lies somewhere in the middle. He's a career journeyman, having played for nine teams in eleven years. His position on a depth chart, however, isn't a top-line star or a bottom-line grinder; Stempniak has made a career out of rounding out established pairs of forwards with his poise, statistical consistency and ability to play in all situations. Stempniak is a poor-man's version of Patrice Bergeron - not as productive, and may make errors here and there, but otherwise a reliable force. His time with the Bruins this spring displayed all of these attributes - and, unfortunately, highlighted some of his drawbacks a little more prominently than Sweeney & Co. would have hoped.

Stempniak's first week with the Bruins was the best representation of his potential - he had points against the Blackhawks and Capitals, and a three-point game against Florida. Following that, he went six straight games without a point against several playoff teams. He did, however, maintain an even +/-; that is, until the next round of tough games came along. This is where the rented experience is supposed to come in handy - and the main reason that Sweeney was pressed into making a move in the first place. Claude cut his ice time after that, and while he picked up a couple points down the stretch, it just wasn't enough addition to scoring depth to push the Bruins into the playoffs.

Grade: B-

Stempniak was a strong acquisition; unfortunately, he seemed as if he was another veteran that wasn't quite ready to grind at the end of the season. Playing for the bottom-feeding Devils doesn't help you prepare for a playoff push at the deadline, and as professional as he is, Stempniak is not a rental player that can spark a team at the deadline. Perhaps over the course of a full season, he might be more engrained with the team - but I don't foresee him being retained in favor of the Youth Movement.