This offseason, I’ve been doing a series on former Boston Bruins players who have played obscure roles, with the latest one being Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, a touted prospect who never got it going at the NHL level. Today, I’m profiling forward Lee Stempniak.
Stempniak broke into the NHL in 2005-2006 with the St. Louis Blues, scoring 14 goals with 13 assists in his rookie season. He remained with the Blues until November of 2008, when he was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In a Toronto uniform, Stempniak turned in 25 goals and 36 assists, playing there until March of 2010 when he was dealt to the then-Phoenix Coyotes. Prior to the 2011-2012 season, he was dealt to the Calgary Flames for Daymond Langkow. After a 14 goal, 14 assist season, he re-signed with the Flames on a two-year contract.
The second season of that contract, 2013-2014, he was traded at the trade deadline to the Pittsburgh Penguins, with four goals and seven assists as a rental. He did not re-sign, instead heading to the New York Rangers on a one-year contract.
He had nine goals and nine assists in a Rangers uniform before being traded again, this time to the Winnipeg Jets. He had six goals and four assists as a rental once again. Before the 2015-2016 season, he signed with the Devils on a PTO, which turned into a one-year contract. He was very productive with the Devils, scoring 16 goals and dishing out 25 assists.
At this point, he was traded at the deadline once again, this time to the Bruins in exchange for a second and fourth round draft pick. He had three goals and seven assists in 19 games with the Bruins down the stretch, with the team failing to make the playoffs that season.
Following his stretch with the Bruins, Stempniak signed a two-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. He had 19 goals and 30 assists across both years with the Hurricanes, playing 82 games in 2016-2017 and 37 games in 2017-2018.
Before the 2018-2019 season, Stempniak signed with the Bruins again, this time on a PTO ahead of training camp. He didn’t make the team but continued to train with them sparingly during the season. In February of 2019, he signed a PTO with the Providence Bruins. That turned into an NHL promotion, with him playing just two games in his second stint with the team.
That turned out to be the last NHL games that Stempniak ever played. He had just the three goals and seven assists in a Bruins uniform. He scored the most points in a Blues uniform, with 57 goals and 73 assists in 233 games.
Currently, the 40-year-old Stempniak is serving as the director of player development for the Arizona Coyotes organization, being promoted to the position in August of 2022. He was previously a hockey data strategist for the Coyotes.