It was a different kind of off season for the Oklahoma City Barons this summer. Where they normally would have explored the unrestricted free agent market for a solid scorer, instead they prepared for the lockout and the players that that would bring. Ryan Keller, and Alex Giroux before him, served as “built in” scorers who’d give OKC a scoring threat out of the gate. This team had that in NHL guys this season, but there was always a concern that if the lockout ended, a lot of the scoring responsibility would fall to young players. It did, it has, and the Barons needed a dynamic, veteran offensive player.
The Oklahoma City Barons have signed well known UFA, Jonathan Cheechoo to a contract. Official announcement to be made soon by the team.
Cheechoo, a former San Jose Sharks player, won the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2006 where he had 56 goals, 37 assists and 93 points. But since that time his point production has bottomed out. He’d be traded by the organization that made him a star, and the Ottawa Senators would use him both in AHL and NHL situations during the 2009-2010 season.
Most recently he’s played two seasons in the AHL with great numbers. As a Worcester Shark he had 18 goals, 29 assists, and 47 points. Last season as a member of the Peoria Rivermen he earned 25 goals, 31 assists for 56 points.
I watched a ton of Sharks hockey when Cheechoo scored over 50 goals. He was an NHL player with a dynamic knack for scoring, and was a creative firepower. That was a fun San Jose team to watch soar.
The then 25 year old Cheechoo, benefited from another dynamic Shark that season named Joe Thornton.
Cheechoo’s inability to get an NHL contract still boggles me. Some claim that his 05-06 season was a mirage. Others believe he digressed quickly due to the pressure. But in reality, this is a guy that can score goals. And his offense will be strongly admired in the next couple of months in an Oklahoma City Barons sweater.
He’ll be in Oklahoma City tonight. Whether he is ready by game time is yet to be determined.