Blues Sign Jonathan Cheechoo
photo © 2006 Elliot | more info (via: Wylio)
Despite stating the other day that they were finished adding pieces, it appears the Blues are still tinkering a bit with their roster as they have signed Jonathan Cheechoo to a one-year, two-way contract, as reported by Andy Strickland. Cheechoo’s claim to fame was a 56-goal season for San Jose in 2005-06, but has since seen his career spiral downhill to the point where he resided in the AHL for the entirety of the 2010-11 season. Jeremy Rutherford reports the deal is worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level, with a guarantee of $225,000.
To be blunt, Cheechoo has been a massive disappointment since his huge year in 2005-06. Chalk it up as a fluke as Cheechoo followed his 56 tally year with 37 in 2006-07, followed by 23 in 2007-08, 12 in 2008-09 and finally five in 2009-10.
San Jose thought they had a gem in their ranks following Cheechoo’s amazing 93-point year, but after failing to live up to the hype the next three seasons, San Jose dealt him to Ottawa in September of 2009 in a trade that brought Dany Heatley to the Sharks.
Given an opportunity to start his career on a fresh page with the Senators, Cheechoo bombed, scoring just 14 points in 61 NHL games. As a result, the Senators bought out the rest of his contract.
Following a brief tryout (22 days) with the Dallas Stars, San Jose brought Cheechoo back in the mix where he spent the entire year in the AHL.
Now he comes to St. Louis with a one-year, two-way contract and the hopes he can finally right the ever-sinking ship.
Given the recently added depth, it’s pretty tough to imagine a scenario where Cheechoo will make the NHL roster out of training camp, barring several injuries (knock on wood). Odds are he will be another option for Peoria and at the very least, is a cheap skater with a ton of upside. From the business angle (I talk all the time about return on investment – ROI), for a minor contract, Cheechoo could potentially pull his game together and again be a formidable scorer. No one is saying he is capable of notching 50+ again, but he did have a four-year stretch where he averaged 36 goals each season.
I consider this a “why not” signing. Someone was bound to take a chance that Cheechoo can somehow recapture the magic, so why not the St. Louis Blues? Worst case scenario is he provides some depth at the AHL level, while the best case scenario is he finds his scoring touch and fights his way into the professional roster. Either way, it’s tough to find an argument against his recent signing.