Boston Bruins: Analyzing and grading the 2019-20 season of Karson Kuhlman

CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 21: Karson Kuhlman #83 of the Boston Bruins in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on February 21, 2020 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 21: Karson Kuhlman #83 of the Boston Bruins in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on February 21, 2020 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /
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How did Karson Kuhlman’s 2019-20 season for the Boston Bruins go?

Forward Karson Kuhlman was originally signed by the Boston Bruins to an entry-level contract (ELC) on April 10, 2018 after he fourth and final year of playing college hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Kuhlman made his NHL debut in February of the 2018-19 season. He would play 11 games for the Bruins and look pretty good, scoring five points (three goals, two assists).

In 2019-20, Kuhlman started off the season in the NHL. However, just eight games in, on Oct. 19, 2019 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he fractured his tibia.

Kuhlman was playing alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci on the B’s second line at the time but was really making his way up and down the lineup and just wasn’t finding any success on any line, having gone scoreless in those eight games.

On Oct. 27, 2019, Kuhlman was placed on injured reserve (IR) and would miss over two months. He would finally be activated from IR on Dec. 30, 2019, but wouldn’t make his return to NHL game action until Jan. 16, 2020.

Kuhlman would finish the 2019-20 regular season suiting up for just 25 games and registering six points (one goal, five assists).

While Kuhlman struggled to produce offensively, he actually had good possession numbers. His Corsi-for percentage (CF%) was a 54.7 and his Fenwick-for percentage was a 55.9.

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In the playoffs, Kuhlman played just five games and didn’t record a point.

What grade should Karson Kuhlman get for his 2019-20 season with the Boston Bruins?

Kuhlman struggled to finish plays in 2019-20. He was able to control and drive play, but he just couldn’t find the back of the net.

While his goals per game and points per game significantly dropped from last season, his assists per game slightly increased and his possession numbers stayed around the same.

Because of his limited NHL experience, it’s still hard to get a grasp on what his true potential is. In 2018-19, Kuhlman looked like a middle-six forward. In 2019-20, he looked like a bottom-six foward because of his inability to finish.

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I want to give Kuhlman a grade, but I just can’t. 25 games is too small of a sample size for me. I think my cutoff is 40 games. Also, considering Kuhlman was coming off a serious leg injury, it’s really hard to know if his struggles were going to continue.

Grade: Incomplete