Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday for a conditional draft pick, according to various NHL sources.
The move appears to be a simple salary dump by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. It comes just days after Chiarelli traded Matt Hunwick to the Colorado Avalanche.
Sturm also waived his no-trade clause, so there may have been something planned for a couple of weeks. Perhaps the Bruins sat down and talked with Sturm about the possibility of him playing in Providence. That is usually when loyal players end up waiving their no-trade clause.
Sturm, a player that scored 106 goals and 193 points in his four years with the Boston Bruins, was the last remaining player on the Bruins from the famous Joe Thornton trade. He was in the midst of recovering from a knee injury that occurred in last year's playoffs.
Chiarelli was forced to make a decision that would make the Bruins cap compliant with Marc Savard's return on the horizon, and it appears that Sturm was the player to be shown the door. It was speculated that Michael Ryder could be that player, but he has performed up to part this year, and there were too many questions surrounding Sturm's overall health.
Sturm's cap hit for 2010-2011 was $3.5 million, and he was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2011.
With Sturm out of the picture, the Bruins now have a lot more cap flexibility for the rest of the season, and will have no problem fitting All-Star center Marc Savard back into the lineup at a cap hit of $4 million.
They also won't have to deal with the possibility of there being an odd man out when Sturm is ready to return. Having to trade or waive a player that has been productive all season, such as Michael Ryder or Blake Wheeler, may backfire on them, especially if Sturm isn't as healthy as planned.
With the return of Marc Savard nearing, and Marco Sturm gone, the Bruins are going to have to make some changes to their lines. They are going to need to find the speed to replace Sturm, and they are going to be looking for young players such as Tyler Seguin, Jordan Caron and Brad Marchand to have bigger roles moving forward.
The great thing is that Sturm has been out the whole season and nobody will necessarily have to replace what he brings on the ice. That was what happened during training camp, preseason, and the first twenty-three regular season games without him.
However, knowing that Marco Sturm won't be back presents Claude Julien with a bit of a problem. Sturm was a crucial three zone player for the team, and was a player that could be depended on when it came to special teams as well. He was one of the team's best options on the powerplay, and one of the best penalty killers.
It's going to take a little bit more from everybody, looking at the long-term. Tyler Seguin is going to need to be effective on the PP. Jordan Caron is going to need to be effective on the PK. Nathan Horton has to be the sniper that the team has lacked since Phil Kessel was traded to Toronto.
People forget that Sturm has led the B's in goals scored most of his time here. It's going to really hurt their offense to not have him out there for the long haul. Players such as Savard, Seguin, Horton, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder, and Milan Lucic are going to have to up the ante on offense.