The Los Angeles Kings acquired Marco Sturm in December with the hope that he would be able to provide the offensive spark that seemed to be missing from the Kings lineup. Unfortunately, after the Kings only managed to score more than 2 goals in 1 of their last 5 games, Sturm has clearly not lived up to that expectation. The sole silver lining appears to be that he was acquired for basically nothing in an attempt by the Boston Bruins to free some cap space. Of course it would be unfair to lay the blame for a lack of Kings scoring entirely at the feet of Sturm, but he has failed to provide the necessary spark the Kings were looking for.
In 15 games, he has netted only four goals and four assists. That averages out to just under 22 goals, 22 assists and 44 points if he played a full 82 game season at that rate. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be the case. Not only was Sturm recovering from injuries sustained while in Boston (which delayed his eventual trade to the Kings), but he was just placed on IR with knee tendinitis. It’s a troubling diagnosis, since it can be indicative of a recurring issue, though it was fortunately not on the same knee that was recently surgically repaired. Of course his placement on the IR means that they have made a recall to fill his roster spot.
To replace Marco Sturm and his offensive ability (allegedly), the Kings have recalled Andrei Loktionov who is expected to play tonight when the Kings take on the Phoenix Coyotes. Loktionov has appeared in six games this season with the Kings, putting up only one goal and one assist. Obviously that’s not terribly impressive, though his AHL prowess has been on display since his demotion, putting up 31 points in 31 games. The Kings will be hoping he can bring some of his playmaking abilities to the big squad and hopefully spark something that Sturm has been unable to do thus far.
Loktionov is a mere 20 years old, so he has plenty to learn about the NHL and its pace. Many people who have watched his development expect him to mature into a real offensive force, and the Kings could definitely use some glimpses of that potential in the short term.
How will this play out for the Kings? Well Sturm wasn’t exactly and offensive force, so it shouldn’t hurt them on that front. If Loktionov gets hot at the right time it could even be a useful spark for the squad to snap them out of their recent slump. If not… well, we could be in for a long rest of the month… what do you think?