The veteran forward came to Boston at the Trade Deadline in 2016 from the New Jersey Devils. Despite the Bruins missing the playoffs that spring, Stempniak managed to post three goals and seven assists for 10 points in 19 outings. Certainly, he didn’t disappoint during his short tenure with the Bruins.
During the summers, he kept practicing in Boston. That was the reason for him coming to the Bruins team as a PTO forward in 2018. He waited all season long until the Bruins signed him to a two-way contract. Stempniak even played two contests for the Bruins in the NHL. Otherwise, he skated in 24 games for the Providence Bruins in the AHL.
In the summer, the 36-year-old New York native hanged them up. Although he played only 21 of his 911 NHL games with Boston, he could officially retire as a Bruin.
“I went to Boston on a tryout. It was a great team. I thought they had a chance to win. It looked like they were capable of winning and it was also a team where I felt like I could fill a role. The fact that we live in Boston was really nice,” recalls Stempniak.
“It just felt like the right thing to give it a shot with Boston. I’d never won a Stanley Cup, and I never did win a Stanley Cup, and that was something I really dreamt of and really felt was missing from my career, and I felt Boston was a place to do that.” Unfortunately, he couldn’t get his name encrypted on the Stanley Cup.
“Bergeron and Chara are great leaders, great players. They’ve set the tone for the Boston Bruins. Everyone in Boston falls in line because of those guys. Bergy and I’ve become pretty good friends just from training in summer before I played with him and then playing with him. He’s probably the guy I respect the most in the NHL just because of how he plays. He’s so good defensively, still scores a ton of goals, he doesn’t cheat for it. He’s a great leader. He’s humble. He’s a really nice person. He’s genuine,” commented Stempniak.
“That’s how he is every single day whether to other veterans he’s played with forever or young guys in training camp. To see that side of it and just know there are guys like that is pretty cool. Last year when I was practicing with the Bruins and not playing. You’re sort of like an outside observer and you got to see the way if a guy was in and out of the lineup and struggling; no big show about it but he would engage that guy and talk a little bit. He’s a really good people person and knows what to say and how to act. It can go completely unnoticed, but he’s pretty genuine with that stuff,” Stempniak said about Bergeron and how does he care about his teammates.
During his 2016 tenure in Boston, the 36-year-old former Bruin played almost exclusively on the top line with Bergeron and Marchand. That’s what he had to say about Patrice Bergeron. And we can only agree with Stempniak.