Blues sign veteran Nichol to one-year deal

2011-07-05T11:31:00Z 2011-07-05T13:48:38Z Blues sign veteran Nichol to one-year dealBY JEREMY RUTHERFORD
July 05, 2011 11:31 am  • 

The Blues have signed veteran center Scott Nichol, 36, to a one-year contract.

The deal is worth $600,000 base salary, but because Nichol is older than 35, the NHL collective-bargaining agreement permits potential bonus salary. Nichol will have $100,000 in potential bonuses.

In 552 career NHL games, Nichol has totaled 52 goals and 66 assists. He spent the last two seasons in San Jose, playing in 56 games last season, posting four goals and three assists. He will be penciled in as the Blues' fourth-line center.

"I've played against the Blues a lot, and I think you can respect them because of how hard they play every single night," Nichol said. "They're young and they're big and they're fast. That seems the way the NHL is going, and they're a real hard to play against. We had tons of trouble with them last year. Looking up and down their lineup, I thought I could really help them out."

Nichol's other stops in the NHL include Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago and Nashville. He's been a Blues' killer throughout his career, posting 10 goals and six assists in 39 games. So nearly one-fifth of the goals he's scored in his career have come against the Blues.

"I know, that's what I was telling my wife," Nichol said. "I'm going to have to pick another team to score all my points against."

The Blues wanted to add a veteran center and they also were looking to improve their face-offs, and they appear to have done both with Nichol.

"He's a quality veteran leader that we believe can still play and give us important minutes on the penalty kill and he makes us deeper and stronger," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "He's another guy who's played in the (Western) Conference finals the last two years. He's earned his spot in the NHL every year. When you talk to people in San Jose, his character and his work ethic is off the charts, which is something that's important with our team."

Nichol was 288-197 on draws last season for the Sharks (59.4 percent). That would have been the best face-off percentage of any Blue with 450 draws last season. Jay McClement was 51.4 percent successful on 831 draws.

"He's a quality veteran that's going to help on the face-offs, help on the penalty kill," Armstrong said. "He's got the proper attitude." 

Armstrong said the signing of Nichol does not end the Blues' search for more help, specifically experienced forwards. Sources have said the club has been in talks with veteran Jamie Langenbrunner, 35, but the sides have not come to an agreement.

"We're still looking," Armstrong said. "This doesn't preclude us from doing other things if we want to improve our team. I think right now, I'm comfortable with our roster, but I'm always looking to improve it.

"We're deeper now than we have been in the past. If we can get deeper still, we will. It's not just in free agency. Other teams now are starting to take trade. If we can still improve it, we will. But getting another player in here with NHL experience (in Nichol), that has leadership, helps our forward group."


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