Bruins Rookie Spotlight: Oskar Steen

The Boston Bruins have been hit early by the injury bug, particularly at the forward position. So far, Nick Foligno, Craig Smith, Curtis Lazar, and Trent Frederic have all missed games due to a variety of injuries. This has opened up opportunities for guys further down on the depth chart, such as Anton Blidh, who is the team’s extra forward, and Jack Studnicka, the team’s top prospect, to get in some games at the NHL level. 

Related: Bruins Have Reasons for Optimism Despite Slow Start

Another player who has been called up to help the depleted forward group is Oskar Steen. He was first called up at the end of October, then sent back down to the American Hockey League (AHL), and was called up again last week on Nov. 13.

On Monday, he was sent back down to Providence, but given how much movement he’s gotten early in the season, it warrants a deeper dive into who he is and what he brings to the Bruins.

Journey to the 2016 NHL Entry Level Draft

Steen was born on March 9, 1998, in Karlstad, Sweden. He spent the entirety of his Juniors career in Sweden. In 2012-13, he played eight games with the U16 team for Farjestad BK. One of his teammates on that team was Joel Eriksson Ek, who plays for the Minnesota Wild and signed an eight-year contract over the summer. The following season, he played for a variety of U16 and U18 teams for Farjestad.

Leading up to his draft, Steen made his debut in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) in the 2015-16 season with Farjestad BK. He played 17 games and registered six assists. In addition, he played five playoff games with the team. 

Internationally, Steen played for Sweden’s U16, U17, and U18 teams. His best season internationally came in 2015-16, when he played 21 games with team Sweden and registered six goals and 11 total points. That season, he and team Sweden won the silver medal at the Hlinka Memorial Tournament. 

Going into the 2016 NHL Entry Level Draft, The Hockey Writers profiled Steen, noting the strength of his work ethic, his compete level, and his skating speed. What he needed to improve on was his scoring. He was considered undersized at only 5’9, 187 pounds. Still, he was predicted to go somewhere between 73 and 100.

Steen ended up falling down the draft boards until he was selected by the Boston Bruins at pick number 165 in the sixth round. The Bruins are, of course, no stranger to undersized forwards with players such as Brad Marchand leading the team in scoring.

From Sweden to North America

The season after the 2016 NHL Entry Level Draft, played 47 games for Farjestad BK up in the SHL and in the J20 SuperElit league. In 47 games in the SHL, he only had three points, but in the SuperElit league, he had 11 points in eight games. 

Internationally, Steen played for Sweden at World Juniors in both 2017 and 2018. In 2018, he and Team Sweden won the silver medal and Steen contributed four points in seven games. He was also a plus-5. 

Oskar Steen, Providence Bruins
Oskar Steen, Providence Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

After some struggles adjusting to the SHL, Steen finally broke through in the 2018-19 season. For his whole career, he struggled with scoring, but that season, he had a career-high 17 goals and 37 points in 46 games. 

Steen made his North American debut in the 2019-20 season. In 60 games, he registered seven goals and 23 points. He was also a plus-6. While he may not be the top goal-scorer on the team, he was a solid contributor and didn’t take long to adjust to playing hockey in North America. 

Steen’s NHL Arrival – Sort Of

Steen’s NHL debut came in the 2020-21 season on March 16, 2021. He ended up playing three total NHL games that season and 23 games down in Providence where he registered 11 points.

This season, Steen has been called up for two NHL games so far and registered an assist in both games. His two points in two games is the same as Erik Haula (13 games), Karson Kuhlman (11 games), and Curtis Lazar (eight games). 

Boston Bruins Oskar Steen Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews
Boston Bruins Oskar Steen defends against Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

In addition to his NHL games, Steen has 10 points, including five goals, in seven games for Providence. He’s off to a great start to the season and if he continues to produce at the AHL level, it will only be a matter of time before he is called up again, especially if the Bruins continue to struggle to find a spark on offense. 

What the Bruins Need

As mentioned above, despite playing only two games, Steen has the same amount of points as some much bigger names on the Bruins’ roster. The team has had its struggles on both ends of the ice so far this season, but as the trend of recent years goes, they’ve been struggling to produce outside of the top line. Even as some players have a bounce-back year from last season, others are struggling. 

Related: Bruins Should Recall Oskar Steen & John Moore from Providence

Steen may not have the history of being a top scorer, but so far in this young season, he’s been a consistent presence on the score sheet. With few other options and the team in need of help, they may need to give him a longer look up in Boston.

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