For the first time since he played in a May 1st playoff game for the Boston Bruins, Marco Sturm looks like he’ll skate in an NHL game tonight. Rich Hammond reports that the speedy German winger will make his Los Angeles Kings debut tonight against the Colorado Avalanche in a “fourth line role.”
Who knows how far along the oft-injured forward really is on his road to recovery from a nagging knee injury, but Hammond writes that Kings coach Terry Murray is “itching” to get him into the lineup. Murray reportedly wants to eventually play Sturm on the first line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown.
The general mood is that tonight’s assignment is meant to allow Sturm to get his legs under him in a game situation. On some level, you wonder if the Kings are rushing him back. Yet from the other point of view, if Sturm truly wants to continue his NHL career, he needs to get back to playing again.
Here is what Murray said about Sturm’s return.
MURRAY: “I just want to get him started. Get him onto a line where he’s going to play against, hopefully, their third or fourth line, and not put a lot of big responsibility on his shoulders in that first game. Get his feet under himself, get skating, get the feel of the game again and just start to get, physically and mentally, back into it.”
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.