Congratulations are certainly in order for winger Marco Sturm. He was the leading scorer on the league’s worst-scoring team this season. That’s kind of like finishing in last place in an ugly contest.
And the way Sturm ran his total of goals up to 22 this season was as ugly as could be. His two two-goal games meant that he only scored in 20 of his 76 games played in the regular season. He seven of his goals in December, and then just four in March and April. His playoff performance was worthy of an award for best impersonation of a ghost, with no points in the six-game win over Buffalo.
The Bruins might’ve been a bit unfair in expecting Sturm to return from his serious knee surgery and exceed past statistical levels to help offset the loss of Phil Kessel. But they were certainly allowed to expect a lot more bang for $3.5 million cap hit. Instead, Sturm took a step back production-wise, and then suffered a second severe injury in Game 1 vs. Philadelphia.
Stats: 76 GP, 22-15-37, 30 PIM, plus-14
Season highlight: If the season started and ended on New Year’s Day, Sturm would’ve been an All-Star in 2009-10. His heroics going to the net to beat Michael Leighton after a great feed by Patrice Bergeron in overtime of the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park wrote the storybook ending that gave the Bruins one of their rare reasons to be proud during a tumultuous regular season.
Season low-light: Readers of this blog know I put very little value in anything that occurred April 11 in Washington, when the Bruins beat the Capitals in a game that held absolutely zero importance to both clubs. Sturm scored in that game. If you take the contest out of the mix, he didn’t score a goal over the final 22 games he played in the regular season and playoffs. That’s just plain ugly.
Final grade: D
Sturm’s Winter Classic heroics and solid PK work do little to make up for the fact that he was terribly streaky, and spent most of the season streaking in the wrong direction.
The crystal ball says … Sturm will be of great value next season — as an injured player that will allow general manager Peter Chiarelli to use $3.5 million of cap space while Sturm tries to return from a second serious knee surgery in as many years.