Numbers Game: Sturm Deal Helps Kings, Bruins

Scott Cullen
12/2/2010 10:51:19 PM
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The Boston Bruins continued to make room under the salary cap by dealing an injured winger to the Kings, who addressed a glaring need.

Numbers Game looks at the Marco Sturm deal.

The Kings Get: LW Marco Sturm.

Sturm, 32, has been the same player for a while now, scoring between 20 and 30 goals in seven straight seasons (excluding the 2008-2009 season in which he scored seven in 19 games). 

He's also consistently been a consistent plus player, with his minus-24 in 2006-2007 the only time in his career he had a plus-minus worse than his rookie season's minus-2.

The Kings know what they're getting and going to Los Angeles provides a good opportunity for Sturm because he addresses an area that has been a glaring need for Los Angeles.  Wayne Simmonds is the fourth-highest scoring winger no the Kings roster and is on pace for 25 points. 

Since moving Ryan Smyth onto the second line with Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams -- a line that has since been very effective -- the Kings have resorted to shuffling spare parts through the left side of the top line.

That has resulted in the likes of Andrei Loktionov, Brad Richardson, Scott Parse and Dwight King getting a chance with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, with right winger Simmonds (and now Williams, according to ESPN Los Angeles) the latest to get a chance there as Brown has recently shifted over to the left side.

By bringing in Sturm, who has been skating in practice as he recovers from a torn ACL and MCL suffered in last season's playoffs, the Kings have a proven option to play in their top six, whenever he's actually ready to step into the lineup. 

Whether that means Smyth returning to the number one line or Sturm getting a chance there, he's going to be in a position to score at his typical rate. 

Sturm, a $3.5-million salary cap hit this season, is an unrestricted free agent at season's end, so he'll certainly be motivated to perform.

That he's comfortable enough to waive his no-trade clause in order to go to another situation with Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who drafted Sturm for the San Jose Sharks in 1996, can't hurt either; on the face of it, the deal does seem like a good fit.

He may not tally 20 goals, given the number of games he's missed, but if Sturm gets back into the lineup in the next couple of weeks and plays, say, 50 games, then something along the lines of 13 goals and 27 points would be a fair expectation, with a little upward movement in expectations if he's with Kopitar and Brown and a little downward if he ends up with Stoll and Williams.

The Bruins Get: A conditional draft pick.

Boston has been jammed up against the salary cap this season, so the Sturm deal, coupled with the Matt Hunwick trade to Colorado, is effectively addition by subtraction; not so much that the players involved aren't capable, just that the Bruins are better off creating the cap room so that they at least have room to activate C Marc Savard, who has been sidelined with post-concussion woes, but is now back in the lineup. 

By creating the cap room to include Savard in the lineup, the Bruins may also have some flexibility when it comes to rookie C Tyler Seguin as Seguin has been able to slide over to the wing to get ice time since David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron are already capable offensive pivots on the roster.

Whatever the result, the Bruins should have more offensive firepower, which helps all Boston forwards to some degree.  Where Savard fits in the lineup will determine which players are helped most.

The return for Sturm is expected to be a conditional draft pick, a reflection that the Kings and Bruins both recognize that Los Angeles is effectively doing Boston a financial favour.

Though not related specifically to this deal, Sturm was the last piece of the Joe Thornton trade remaining in Boston, but it's not as simple as saying that Andrew Ference (acquired in an ensuing Brad Stuart-Wayne Primeau deal) is the only piece to show for it.

Chuck Kobasew, who was also acquired in the Stuart-Primeau trade, netted a second-round pick from Minnesota in 2011 in addition to prospect Alexander Fallstrom, who plays at Harvard.

Craig Weller, who was also part of the Kobasew deal, was subsequently dealt to Florida in a deal that sent Byron Bitz and a second-round pick to the Panthers bringing defencemen Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski to the Bruins.

Finally, on top of all the players somehow tied to the Thornton trade tree, it also needs to be considered that the Bruins probably wouldn't have been in the market to pay big free agent money to Zdeno Chara or Marc Savard in the summer of 2006. 

It doesn't mean the Bruins were necessarily right in dealing Thornton, only that there is more to the evaluation that needs to be considered and, for savvy managers, cap room is part of that evaluation.

Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at  For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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