|Andreas Nodl of the Flyers draws a crowd along the boards, including Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)|
Sturm deal complete
Forward finally sent to the Kings
When the Bruins finally traded Marco Sturm to the Kings yesterday, nine days after the original deal fell through, the club earned the cap relief it was seeking. In return, the Bruins received future considerations, a polite euphemism for absolute zero.
“As far as what we got in return, it’s classified as ‘future considerations,’ ’’ said general manager Peter Chiarelli. “But really, it’s nothing. Part of that speaks to trading him now vs. trading him later on in the year, which we could have done also. But in fairness to Marco, it allowed him to begin his journey, so to speak, in a place that’s a good landing spot for him.’’
And so a player once included in a trade for future league MVP Joe Thornton found himself headed back to the West Coast for nothing, reflecting what little value he had in today’s cap-constrained world.
In 302 games for the Bruins, Sturm collected 106 goals and 87 assists as a top-six forward, playing in all situations — even strength, power play, penalty kill. Sturm, known as “German’’ in the dressing room, was a favorite among his teammates for his perpetual smile and good nature.
Sturm scored the winning goal in overtime in last year’s Winter Classic. In the first round of the 2007-08 playoffs, Sturm scored the go-ahead goal in Game 6 against Montreal to set up Game 7 at the Bell Centre.
“He gave us speed, he gave us timely goals,’’ Chiarelli said. “I think what he’ll be remembered most for was that goal against Montreal. You could see that emotion when he scored. That’s what he brought to the team.’’
But this is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and Sturm had some serious red flags on his résumé. Zero games in 2010-11, courtesy of a shredded right knee suffered on the opening shift of last year’s second round against Philadelphia. On Dec. 18, 2008, Sturm blew out his left knee against Toronto, an injury that required season-ending surgery.
Besides two creaky wheels, however, the biggest strike against Sturm was his contract: a four-year, $14 million deal with a no-trade clause.
The left wing is in the final season of that deal, which pays him $3.5 million annually. It’s a steep price for a player with two knee surgeries in his recent history, and still a touch expensive considering how streaky Sturm has been even when healthy.
So considering his alternatives — assigning Sturm to Providence or moving salary elsewhere to accommodate his activation from long-term injured reserve — Chiarelli decided that dealing him to the Kings was the best option. Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi held the same position in San Jose, where he drafted Sturm in the first round in 1996.
“It was about timing,’’ said Chiarelli when asked why trading Sturm was his best move. “Here’s a team where there was a prior relationship with Marco. They got him for cheap. And they wanted to do it now. So there were a lot of positive factors in the circumstances that we felt we had to act on.’’
First, Chiarelli had to convince Sturm to waive his no-trade clause. Neither Chiarelli nor Sturm would comment on the particulars. But it’s likely that Chiarelli raised the possibility of assigning Sturm to Providence, something that even a player with a no-trade clause can’t counter. Under that scenario, Sturm would have collected the rest of his $3.5 million salary, but the Bruins would be freed of his cap number. Sturm, who is playing for his next contract, needs to show NHL bosses that he is deserving of another deal.
So when Chiarelli informed Sturm of LA’s interest, the left wing waived his no-trade, expecting to be traded to the Kings Dec. 2.
But that trade was scuttled when the Kings balked at taking on Sturm so early. Sturm, Chiarelli estimated, is 5-7 days away from being game-ready.
Yesterday, the sides completed the deal. Sturm was scheduled to undergo a physical, which Chiarelli didn’t think would lead to any concerns.
The Bruins are now cap compliant, having moved Sturm and Matt Hunwick late last month.
“It’s another player that has given us great service over the years,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “It’s unfortunate that he’s run into so many serious injuries that knocked him out of the game for long periods of time. I think we could have used a player like him had it not been for the salary cap. You’ve got to make those kinds of moves, and you move on. He was a real good team player.’’
Seguin scratched Tyler Seguin missed his first game of the season, because of flu-like symptoms. Seguin was one of the few players to skate yesterday morning.
Daniel Paille replaced Seguin on the third line alongside Marc Savard and Michael Ryder. Paille, who had been a healthy scratch for the last five games, skated 12 shifts for 10:32 of ice time.
A little downtime The Bruins don’t practice today or tomorrow. They will resume preparations Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena for back-to-back road games against Buffalo (Wednesday) and Montreal (Thursday) . . . Steven Kampfer blocked a game-high five shots in 15:00 of ice time in his second NHL game. “He’s been solid,’’ Julien said. “He’s been moving the puck well. He’s been carrying it up the ice well. I think he’s making good decisions when he does support the attack and goes up the ice. I thought tonight, he was even better than the first night.’’ . . . Andrew Ference played a season-high 25:45.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.