Last week we almost saw the Kings make a swap with the Bruins for Marco Sturm. The deal was nixed for vague reasons, but the assumption is that Sturm would not be ready nearly as soon as the Kings expected. Exactly what the sticking point was will likely remain a mystery. Since the trade didn’t go through, the Kings are afforded an unlikely look at the situation which could influence how they approach the potential reboot of this trade or another future deal.
What was the deal? Allegedly it would be Marco Sturm to the Kings and a conditional 5th round pick headed to Boston. Based on Marco’s performance, the pick would go up. Was it a good deal for the Kings? Yes and no. Yes, in that the Kings wouldn’t give up any roster players or prospects and could potentially be giving up a low pick for a valuable player. No, in that the Kings would pay for what they get in Marco. If Sturm played well, the Kings would give up a higher pick. If Sturm was a bust, the Kings give up a low pick, but they would be paying $3.5 million (prorated) for a bust.
So, what do the Kings need to look at when reflecting on this aborted deal? They need to decide if this gamble would really have been worth it. Would Sturm have been ready to step in and pot 20 goals coming off a blown out knee? It’s reasonable to expect he wouldn’t. Then what would Sturm be? He’d be the guy the Kings would be giving $3.5 million (prorated) to not be a 1st liner, and that’s the real issue. The Kings need a 1st line left-wing. They’ve already tried their 2nd liner, 3rd liner, AHLers, a partridge and a pear tree. Why waste money and not get what you want? I would rather the Kings get what they need and give up something of value in return than get a gamble that might not pay off.
Per LA Kings Insider, Alexei Ponikarovsky could be back as soon as Thursday’s game against Calgary. Poni’s return will certainly be welcome as his absence left the Kings without their 3rd line shut down left-winger as well as their 1st line scoring left-winger. As Quisp at Jewel’s from the Crown pointed out today, the Kings were 10-3-0 with Poni in the line-up. Ponikarovsky suffered a broken finger in a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators. The Kings will be hoping Ponikarovsky’s relatively minor injury will result in a shortened readjustment time.
Although Willie Mitchell will not be ready by Thursday, he shouldn’t be too far behind Ponikarovsky. Mitchell was injured with a broken wrist in the same game as Ponikarovsky. Kings fans can look for Mitchell to return in approximately one week.
The Kings finally snapped their 4 game losing streak (and losers of 7 of 8 games) with a pair of 3-2 victories. First against Southeast Division basement dweller Florida, then against Western Conference front-runner Detroit. The Kings victory over Detroit was indeed a big one and should bolster confidence that had taken a big hit over the losing streak. Anze Kopitar has 10 goals and 24 points on the season. He has 4 goals in the last 6 games.
The Kings are right back in the thick of the (early) playoff hunt, moving to 6th place in the West. To make things closer, they’re a mere 2 points behind 5th place Chicago who has played 4 more games than the Kings. Second through last place is separated by just 9 points in the West. 15th in the West, Calgary, and 15th in the East, the Islanders, are also separated by 9 points.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney