Nico Sturm could be said to be somewhat of a diamond in the rough, well that’s at least what the Minnesota Wild and Paul Fenton felt when they signed the college free agent to a one-year ELC.
Nico Sturm made his NHL debut wit the Wild during their final two games of the 2018-2019 season just for good measure. Without much of an impact after two games, Sturm was assigned to the Iowa Wild for the 2019-2020 season where things started to take off and his development sky rocketed.
Besides being called up for six regular season games, Sturm was reeking havoc in Iowa posting 12 goals and 20 assists in just 55 games before the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down the AHL for the season. When the NHL started back up, teams were able carry extra players into the ‘bubble’ and that’s when the Minnesota Wild called up the young German forward.
Sturm got to appear in two games in the Edmonton bubble and most notably, scored his first ever NHL goal against Vancouver in the playoff qualifiers.
Coming into the 2020-2021 season, Sturm wasn’t as talked about as much as fellow rookie Kirill Kaprizov but he sure didn’t go unnoticed. Sturm would go onto play 50 regular season games for Minnesota, scoring 11 goals and six assists during that time.
It’s not so much his reduced goal scoring abilities that makes him valuable, it’s his ability to be a reliable two-way center that can be trusted to fill the role he is tasked with, and as we seen throughout the season, Sturm was rewarded for that very greatly.
It is however impressive that as much of an impact that Sturm had on the Wild this season, most non-Wild fans could potentially find it odd to think that he had that impact playing on the bottom six and most on the fourth line. Playing on the fourth line had it’s perks though as ageless wonder Zach Parise was placed on the Fourth line quite frequently in order to fill a role.
Coming into the 2021-2022 season, Sturm will continue to develop into a strong two-way center to help fill the void left on the Wild that doesn’t have a number one center. As for Nico Sturm, I think there’s a good chance we’ll see more of Sturm Warning in the near future.