Marco Sturm is apparently getting close to a return, and when that happens, a roster move will occur. Barring any trades, the choices are:
- Return Andrei Loktionov to Manchester. This is the most obvious choice, since Loktionov is playing first line minutes and that is presumably where Sturm will end up. Emphasis on "presumably." It may be the most obvious choice, and it's probably what will happen, but I would rather Loktionov stick around.
- Return Alex Martinez to Manchester. Martinez (like Jonathan Bernier, Kyle Clifford and Loktionov) are waiver-exempt. However, Martinez is playing big minutes. It makes no sense to downgrade the defense in order to scratch more forwards.
- Return Kyle Clifford to juniors. Yeah, right. Next...
- Waive someone named Davis, Peter or Kevin. Drewiske and Harrold are cheap and useful, and I assume either would be picked up by someone. Westgarth, though, hasn't really risen to the occasion this season. I never understood why he was essentially handed a roster spot in training camp, despite all of nine games of NHL experience. In my opinion, he has not shown that he can handle a regular shift. So, yeah, that's what I would do: send Westgarth to Manchester, and if he gets claimed, he gets claimed. Keep Loktionov on the first line. Put Sturm on the fourth line until he gets his legs under him. Then play it by ear.
The issue of what to do with the forwards when Sturm and Parse return has led to debate in the blogosphere of the abilities of several players, including Loktionov (who either "isn't ready" or "rocks") and Alexei Ponikarovsky (who may be "worse than Sturm" who, in turn, might just "suck"). In light of that, here are the Kings' win percentages broken down by player. One might argue about whether Loktionov has played enough games for his record to be meaningful, but it's harder to say that about Ponikarovsky's numbers.