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Sturm Headed to LA

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
In search of a winger, and some scoring depth, the Kings have turned to Marco Sturm.

The Kings acquired Sturm from the Boston Bruins on Saturday for future considerations, contingent upon Sturm passing a physical. Sturm is in the late stages of recovering from May knee surgery and had been on track to return to the Bruins’ roster within the next couple weeks.

Sturm will travel to Los Angeles and undergo significant testing on both of his knees -- Sturm has had two ACL surgeries during his career -- starting Monday morning.

``It's still very much contingent on the physical,'' Lombardi said during the first intermission of Saturday's game at STAPLES Center. Usually when you say it's a physical, it's a formality, but this is real. That's why it's an extended period on this one. There's still a significant hurdle here.''

The Kings have been in search of a top-six winger since the summer. Sturm, 32, is a 12-year NHL veteran and a seven-time 20-goal scorer. Sturm is in the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Bruins.

Sturm is familiar to Kings management. He was drafted (No. 21) in 1996 by San Jose, by current Kings general manager Dean Lombardi. Sturm was traded to Boston in 2006. Mike O’Connell, then the Bruins’ GM, now works in player development for the Kings.

``He's a solid guy,'' Lombardi said. ``He can play with good players. Assuming the knees are good, he brings a lot of speed, and he plays hard. So I think he can do a lot of things for us. He's a very strong option for us. The other thing it does is, it keeps our flexibility.

``This contract doesn't take us out of pursuing other things at the trade deadline, as well as keeping all our options open, even next year, depending on how all this works out. So it works from a player standpoint, the character standpoint and the contract standpoint.''

Unknown is the exact role Sturm will fill with the Kings. He’s a speedy, natural left winger, and that’s almost certainly the position he will play with the Kings. It’s possible that Sturm might start out in a first-line role alongside center Anze Kopitar.

When healthy, Sturm is a scoring threat -- he had 22 goals in 76 games for Boston last year -- but the native of Germany has been slowed by knee problems in recent years.

Sturm’s 2008-09 season ended on Dec. 18, 2008, after 19 games, when he injured his knee and required season-ending surgery. Sturm played a full 2009-10 regular season, but in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring, on May 1 against Philadelphia, Sturm torn the ACL and MCL in his right knee.

After a summer of rehabilitation, Sturm returned to the ice on Oct. 26 and, of late, had been participating in full-team practices with the Bruins in preparation for a return. Lombardi couldn't commit to whether Sturm might be able to play during the upcoming road trip.

 ``It's conceivable, if everything were to line up,'' Lombardi said, ``but I think it's probably safe to say closer to Christmas. It's conceivable, but until our doctors see him, I don't know if it makes much sense to guess. With what we've seen, up to this point, it's a reasonable assumption that if what we've seen matches what we find out on Monday and Tuesday, that he could play before Christmas, yes.''
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