The 26-year-old forward was claimed by the Seattle Kraken on Monday after the Bruins placed him on waivers Sunday.
It marks the end of a career in Boston that spanned across four seasons for Kuhlman. He finishes his Bruins career with 75 games played scoring seven goals and eight assists.
While the former University of Minnesota-Duluth captain did everything he was asked to do in Boston, there were other players like Anton Blidh and Oskar Steen that have played their way into the roles Kuhlman had. As a result, the Bruins were willing to roll the dice with Kuhlman by placing him on waivers.
Kuhlman will have a better opportunity in Seattle than in Boston
Like I said, Kuhlman did not necessarily do anything wrong in Boston. He was never going to be a scorer or produce much on the offensive side. His strength is in the defensive zone.
The Bruins needed someone to go with Nick Foligno appearing to be ready to come back form injury. Kuhlman/Steen/Blidh had been able to stay up in Boston for a while with the injuries/COVID protocols causing players to be out, however, someone needed to go.
With the development of Blidh and Steen this season, it made Kuhlman expendable. While Steen had previously been the easy choice to get sent back down to the AHL since he’s waivers-exempt, the Swedish forward has five points in 11 games. He’s been effective enough that Bruce Cassidy wanted to keep him around and not send him back to the AHL.
As a result, the Boston brass was willing to take the risk of the speedy forward getting claimed. Ultimately, he was claimed, which sucks to lose a player for nothing, but the Bruins are able to save $351,625 in cap space.
The Esko, Minnesota native will get a bigger role in Seattle with a Kraken team struggling in its inaugural season. I doubt we will see him take on anything more than a bottom-six role, maybe some more PK time than he received in Boston. But he’s a good player to have with his speed and defensive ability. There were just too many cooks in the kitchen in Boston and Kuhlman never really took the next step forward to stand out.
Best of luck to Kuhlman with Seattle.