|Sturm rejoices after scoring to win the 2010 Winter Classic.|
Sturm, 32, is currently playing in his 13th NHL season, during which he has played for three other teams: Boston, San Jose, and Los Angeles. He was drafted in the first round, 21st overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Sharks, and played the first seven and half years of his career before being traded to the Bruins in December of 2005. He then played the next four and a half campaigns with the Bruins before being traded to the Kings earlier this season. His best year came in 2007-2008 in Boston, where he scored 27 goals and had 56 points in 80 games played. This year, he has accumulated 4 goals and 9 points for the Kings in 17 games; he missed the first three plus months of the season with a knee injury. This is the final year of his contract.
About those knees - they fragile. Sturm has not, unfortunately, been a poster child for health throughout his NHL career. The German has only played a full 82 game season once, and has missed significant time with various injuries during his time on the senior circuit. The most notable of these injuries are two separate ACL/MCL tears, one in each knee, during the 2008-2009 regular season and one a year later in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Bruins.
Despite this, Sturm has proven to be a reliable offensive force when he has been able to stay on the ice, which is likely why George McPhee pounced when LA put him on waivers. He profiles as an intense, hard-working power forward, and his best asset is his skating - he has great acceleration off his stride and his strong legs allow him to drive to the net well. He can also take up residence in front of the net on the power play, and though not overly skilled, he can make things happen in open ice when he really needs to.
I really, really like this move by the Capitals. With a salary cap hit of just under $873,000 for the rest of the season, and the fact that Washington got him for nothing, this does not affect George McPhee's flexibility as the trade deadline approaches. In addition to his on-ice ability, though, Sturm is a veteran presence in the locker room who has seen a lot in his NHL career. He is a very hard worker who is willing to go to the dirty areas on the ice to get things done, and although he will not set the world on fire for the Capitals, he could be a player who provides a spark for them offensively. And George McPhee likely isn't done, with the trade deadline looming at 3 PM tomorrow. As Mike Vogel put it Sunday: "Expect the unexpected. And don't think you know what the 'expected' is."
I will be on Twitter (@HarryHawkings) providing up-to-the-minute news on potential Caps moves today. Also be sure to check back after the trading deadline passes for reactions to the moves that do (or don't) go down.
For information on yesterday in the world of Capitals hockey, click here.
For information on today's (Feb. 28) practice, click here.