Sturm is placed on waivers.

The Kings placed forward Marco Sturm on waivers this morning. The veteran would only be gone in the unlikely event that a team is willing to pick up his $3.5 million contract for the remainder of the season. There aren’t too many contending teams that are willing or able to absorb that money.

But it could happen. The NHL trade deadline is looming at noon Monday. At a time of the season when teams tend to sacrifice prospects or picks for veterans, Sturm and his 238 career goals are available at the cost of zero prospects or picks.

That’s essentially what the Kings gave up in December to acquire Sturm from the Boston Bruins. He’s scored four goals and nine points in 17 games since, including no goals and an assist in two games since being activated off IR Wednesday. Asked to evaluate Sturm’s performance after the Kings’ 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild last night, head coach Terry Murray said “It’s coming. … I’d like to see more from him and I will see more from him.”

Maybe that was being a tad optimistic. There isn’t much time between now and noon Monday for the Kings to decide whether Sturm is the bona fide No. 1 left wing Anze Kopitar has needed since …well … for quite some time. Placing Sturm on waivers signals that the Kings are probably focusing their attention outside the organization, rather than inside, for that help.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.