Tag: placed on waivers

Minnesota Wild v St. Louis Blues

Former Rocket Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo put on waivers

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After a two week stint showing his skills to the St. Louis coaching staff, Jonathan Cheechoo was waived by the Blues for the purpose of sending him to the AHL affiliate in Peoria. The news doesn’t come as a huge surprise for fans or those around the organization, yet it’s still shocking to be reminded of the fall from grace for the former San Jose Sharks’ sniper. Only five short years ago he was setting the Sharks’ franchise record with 56 goals in a single season.

Now, the Blues are the fourth organization in fourteen months that have chosen to leave Cheechoo off of their active NHL roster. Jeremy Rutherford from the St. Louis Post Dispatch explains how it went down for Cheechoo and what the move means for the Blues:

“Cheechoo, 31, who led the NHL in goals with 56 in 2005-06 with San Jose, had a quick start to training camp. But he didn’t score in the exhibition games and he appeared a step slow on the scoring opportunities that he did have. Still, Cheechoo is expected to give the Rivermen some veteran skill and provide the Blues with some much-needed offensive depth this season.”

The move to an AHL leadership may be the role Cheechoo is made for at this point in his career. His career has been in a downward spiral since the magical 2005-06 season. He still managed 60 goals in 145 games over the next two seasons, but that was as good as it was going to get. Since being traded to the Senators as part of the Dany Heatley deal, he’s been waived by the Sens, subsequently bought-out at the end of the season, released by the Stars after a short professional tryout, returned to the Sharks organization for an AHL season, and finally signed a two-way contract with the Blues this offseason.

How the mighty have fallen.

You have to give it up to Cheechoo for accepting this new role at this point in his career. After signing a $15 million contract in 2006, props to a man who’s willing to take the buses and play for an AHL salary. In the grand scheme of things, it’s great to pull in six-figures to play a game for a living—but there’s no question that it must be a different world for the former all-star.

The Blues expect Cheechoo to go down to the AHL and help provide veteran leadership for the prospects to hope to make the NHL one day. The invaluable experience he brings to the team, can only help the younger players who are looking to fulfill their potential with the Blues organization. If he can build on the 47 points he scored for the AHL’s Worcester Sharks in 55 games last season, he may even find himself as a midseason call-up this season.

Regardless, he brings much more to the table than your average AHLer. He may not have the 56-goal-scoring hands anymore, but he has more “experiences” to share than just about anyone in the league.

Thursday Wire Watch: Panthers waive Steve Bernier, Lightning call Mike Smith up

Mike Smith

During pre-trade deadline week, waiver wire moves can take on extra meaning at times. Not always, mind you, but sometimes they are a hint at a future move, evidence of the ripple effect of roster moves or just the typical sign of a player who has fallen out of favor with his franchise.

Two Southeast Division teams had players potentially go different ways on Thursday, as the Florida Panthers put winger Steve Bernier on waivers while the Tampa Bay Lightning called goalie Mike Smith back up on re-entry waivers.

Bernier connected to Keith Ballard trade: It’s hard to ignore the fact that the Panthers waived the two roster players Florida received in the Ballard trade: (current Calder Trophy dark horse) Michael Grabner and Bernier. Then again, as George Richards writes, many look at the move as a “salary dump.” By that logic, the Panthers still got what they really wanted: money and the 25th pick, which ended up being Quinton Howden.

Smith on re-entry waivers: While Bernier will be associated with the Ballard trade, Smith’s fate with the Lightning can be traced to two trades now. First, there’s that epic Brad Richards trade that brought Smith to Tampa Bay (speaking of salary dumps). Now there’s the Lightning moving Dan Ellis to Anaheim in exchange for Curtis McElhinney. We’ll see if anyone wants to take on half of what’s left of his $2.4 million salary to give Smith a shot, but my guess is that he’ll serve as a backup for Dwayne Roloson while McElhinney goes to the minors.

Anyway, those are today’s two notable waiver wire moves. We’ll keep you abreast as the league transactions heat up as Monday’s deadline approaches.