Blues GM Doug Armstrong announced today that the club has agreed to terms with unrestricted free-agent Scott Nichol.
The deal is reportedly a one-way, one-year deal worth $600,000 with an additional $100,000 available in bonuses. Nichol was a member of the San Jose Sharks for the last two seasons.
The 36-year old center will step into the club as the oldest member on the roster. His veteran presence and leadership qualities were likely the main factors as to why the Blues felt he deserved a contract. He has played in nine NHL-seasons, contributing 52 goals, 66 assists and 118 points. Nichol has also been known to throw the body around as well, posting 808 penalty minutes in just 552 career NHL games.
Nichol will help solidify the center-position for the Blues, as they now have that all-important checking-line center. He will probably see a lot of ice-time with forwards B.J. Crombeen and youngster Philip McRae.
Not only can Nichol knock some heads around, but he is also well-known for being a face-off specialist. For players that took over 20 face-offs last season, Nichol ranked first on his team in face-off percentage (won 288 face-offs out of 485 total; 59.4%). The Blues were not impressive in the face-off circle by any means last season. They ranked 28th in the league with a dreadful 47.3% (the league-leader, Vancouver, finished with a 54.9%). It is very likely Nichol will be used in many situations to get that percentage up.
Blues News and Notes: It was also announced today that the club has agreed to terms with goaltender Ben Bishop. The 24-year old signed a two-way, one-year contract worth $600,000 if he plays in the NHL and $105,000 if he plays in the AHL. No doubt that the Blues are hoping that the Brian Elliott-signing pushes Bishop to play more consistent so that he can back-up Halak… Brett Sterling will also be a new face this season, as he signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues over the weekend. Sterling had 27 goals, 26 assists and 53 points as a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL last season. He has played in 26 NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers and Pittsburgh Penguins, recording 5 goals, 4 assists and 9 points. Sterling is expected to start the season in Peoria but he will likely get many call-ups to the Blues throughout the season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.