The Boston Bruins appear to be headed towards sweet salary cap freedom today. The Bruins have agreed to trade injured left wing Marco Sturm to Los Angeles for a conditional draft pick. Sturm’s salary cap hit is a solid $3.5 million this season. It’s the final year of Sturm’s contract so he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. There have been rumblings about what the Bruins will do with Sturm when he got healthy and ready to play again. Given his salary, the Bruins were set to have quite a mess on their hands when it came to the salary cap.
Of course, when trying to deal a player whose coming off of a knee injury and who hasn’t participated in training camp nor any part of the regular season as of yet, things can get a bit sticky. Such is the case here as Sturm will need to pass a physical in order for the deal to be approved. With a guy coming off of major knee surgery, it’s curious to see if he will pass the exam.
If Sturm is fine, he’s a great pick up for the Kings. He can still score and he’ll thrive in a system with the likes of Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll, and Dustin Brown. Sturm figures to be a top six left wing and giving the team another guy that can just score goals. Sturm has been capable of scoring 20+ goals before in the past and he’s a guy that GM Dean Lombardi is familiar with from his years with the Sharks. Keeping him healthy will be the main issue. Thankfully, the Kings don’t have much in the way of salary cap worries this year.
Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.
Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.
“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.
The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.
Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.
There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.
The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.
That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.
In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.
Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.