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Sunday, December 12, 2010
Kings: Sturm deal was a steal

By Dan Arritt

This wasn’t a trade, this was a stimulus package.

The Kings, saddled with injuries and a lack of scoring up front, acquired Boston left winger Marco Sturm on Saturday, ending some on-again, off-again negotiations with the Boston Bruins over the past nine days.

Yes, the 32-year-old veteran is coming back from his second major knee surgery in just over a year. And of course they’ll inherit what’s remaining on his $3.5-million salary for this season, a credit that will fit well under their salary cap. But it’s what the Kings traded away–or shall we say, didn’t trade away–that makes this such a win-win deal for the organization.

"Future considerations," reads the official term on the news release. Not even a conditional draft pick. That’s like a kid trading his cole slaw for a brownie. Maybe even better.

Sturm has averaged just under 20 goals a season for his 12-year career. The Kings aren’t looking for an All-Star right now, just a top six forward who wasn’t playing in the AHL last week. He fits the bill.

If he can pass his physical here in L.A., Sturm will essentially replace Scott Parse, who the Kings had penciled in on the first line with center Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, but was then sidelined during the preseason with a hip injury that ultimately needed to be surgically repaired last month. He's expected to be out until at least mid-February.

The Bruins put themselves in a salary-cap conundrum and were getting desperate to make a move, knowing Sturm was inching closer to coming off long-term injury reserve. Talks between the Kings and Boston were initiated last week, but Kings' management had time on their side. Why strike a deal when Sturm was still a couple weeks from getting in game shape?

The process may have been sped up when Kings forward Brad Richardson went down with an upper-body injury after getting struck on the chin by an opponent’s elbow Thursday night against the Calgary Flames. He did not play Saturday night against the Wild and his prognosis was day-to-day as of Friday.

The Kings lack of scoring was apparent against a struggling Minnesota team, which won, 3-2, in overtime.

Sturm might not be the solution to their scoring and depth  issues, but he's certainly worth a try.