In the Crosshairs: Marco Sturm

Benjamin AltsherContributor IOctober 11, 2009

BUFFALO - OCTOBER 21:  Marco Sturm #16 of the Boston Bruins skates during the game against the Buffalo Sabres on October 21, 2008 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The one player the Bruins will miss the most this season is clearly Phil Kessel.  After all, you don't just replace 36 goals overnight.  The player with the most to prove is the one taking Kessel's place, Marco Sturm.

When Boston fans look back at last year's first place team, they likely forget that Sturm, a top-six talent on most teams, was injured for almost the entire season.  Add him into the mix and one can only imagine how potent the Bruins offense could have been. 

Sturm's essentially the reason that Boston management decided Kessel was expendable, so it's up to him to prove them right.  In his last full season, Sturm scored 27 goals and 56 points total, numbers just below Kessel's 36 and 60 of a year ago.

If Sturm can return to that type of production playing alongside Marc Savard and Milan Lucic, the Bruins offense should be on pace to match last season's offensive output.  If he can't find his form or goes back on the shelf for a significant period of time, Boston may regret not breaking the bank for Kessel.