The Stars announced early this morning that Jonathan Cheechoo has accepted an invite to attend the Dallas Stars training camp when it opens September 17 in Prince Edward Island (less than 13 days away people!).
From the Stars official press release:
"We're pleased that Jonathan has accepted our invitation to come to our training camp," (Stars GM, Joe) Nieuwendyk said. "He has shown the ability to be an effective scorer in this league. He's a competitor and we're going to give him an opportunity."
File this under the "Well, it can't hurt.." category for the Stars.
Cheechoo should of course be familiar with most Stars fans as he came up through the San Jose Sharks system and was an offensive dynamo scoring 121 goals in his first three seasons with the Sharks. A run that included a 56 goal effort in the 2005-06 season en route to winning the Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophy for the NHL's top goal scorer.
Since then he's had a bit of a fall from grace as his numbers sharply declined and pressure was on him to perform under a long term contract extension he had signed during his prime offensive seasons. He seemingly hit rock bottom as he was traded to the Ottawa Senators last summer in the Dany Heatley trade and then proceeded to have the worst season of his career as a change of scenery which was maybe thought would help Cheechoo instead only made things worse. Jon never really fit in with the Sens at any point and ended up with only 5 goals and 9 assists in 61 games before being optioned down to the Sharks AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
Cheechoo is a right handed shot - a bit of a need the Stars do have. He has been known mostly in his career as someone who needs to be on a line with a playmaker in order to have any success. He is only two seasons removed from being at least a 20 goal scorer, so if the Stars can get that back out of him, then this is a briliant move by Joe Nieuwendyk.
And if they can't... Well again, it doesn't hurt to have invited him to camp to compete for a roster spot right?