Adding tough old guys may not make for exciting headlines, but blue bleeders have to love a General Manager that says he’ll do something and executes. Doug Armstrong continues to keep his promise to add experienced depth with the signing of free agent center Scott Nichol Tuesday.
The one year, one way deal will pay the Edmonton, Alberta native $600,000 for the 2011-12 season.
In 56 games with the San Jose Sharks the 36 year old registered four goals and seven points. He was one of the Sharks leading hitters as well. Averaging two a game. Putting him at a pace to be second highest behind Douglas Murray. He is also an accomplished face-off artist. Winning 59.4% of his draws last season and 60.6% two seasons ago. For his career Nichol has appeared in 552 games. Recording 52 goals and 118 points.
Armstrong had the following to say in the official release:
“Scott is an experienced, honest player and an excellent face off guy. He will provide a positive veteran presence to compliment our current group.”
The needs on the draw were a given and the Blues needed to address them. But the experience factor is the key. In a one to one ratio of replacement, Nichol supplants Adam Cracknell as the 4th center. A net increase of 528 NHL games. Not to mention Nichol’s appearance in 40 post season games. Including two 15 game runs with the Sharks.
This deal also clarifies roster spots. Vladimir Sobotka is all but confirmed as the third center now. A virtual lock for the position prior to the signing, save for the Blues acquiring Jason Arnott, Sobe earned a raise over his predecessor for a reason. He was not going to be shifted down the lineup card.
Hopefully the BJ Crombeen at Center experiment ends with this signing.
If you’ve come looking for whining and complaining that the Blues aren’t doing enough and that Dave Checketts is the Anti-Christ… You won’t find that in this post or any of mine for that matter. For those seeking such perspectives, I direct you to The Asylum and STL GameTime. Surely, one of those two sites will have what you are looking for.
It’s not Kool-Aid, it’s reality, patience and seeing the forest through the trees.
In other news…
Andy Strickland reports that Jamie Langenbrunner has narrowed down his list to three and St. Louis is on it. A move likely pushing TJ Oshie to left wing until David Perron returns. If Langebrunner goes elsewhere backup plans may include Antti Miettinen, Chris Clark, Mike Grier, Ethan Moreau, Jarkko Ruutu and Brian Sutherby.