|St. Louis Blues|
San Jose Sharks
|Born||July 15, 1980,|
Moose Factory, ON, CAN
|NHL Draft||29th overall, 1998|
San Jose Sharks
|Pro Career||2002 – present|
Jonathan Earl Cheechoo (Cree: ᔔᓇᕦᓐ ᒋᒍ pronounced /ˈtʃiːtʃuː/; born July 15, 1980) is a Canadian professional ice hockey right winger currently playing for the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League. During the 2005–06 National Hockey League season, he led the NHL with 56 goals and won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy. He was the first San Jose Sharks player and the only First Nations person to win the "Rocket" Richard Trophy, awarded to the NHL player with the most goals in a season. After the 2005-06 season, his production numbers began to fall, and he has since struggled to earn spots on NHL teams.
Playing career[edit | edit source]
Drafted by the Belleville Bulls of the OHL in the 1997 OHL priority selection, Cheechoo had a reasonably strong rookie year in 1997–1998 with 76 points (31 goals + 45 assists) in 64 games, good for third place on his team. In the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, San Jose sent the 2nd overall pick (David Legwand) to Nashville for the third overall pick (Brad Stuart) and the 29th overall pick, which they used to draft Cheechoo. Most had predicted that Cheechoo would be a later-round pick, and San Jose was criticized for picking a lackluster forward who "skated slower forwards than most players skated backwards" instead of the highly-touted Legwand.
Cheechoo joined the Bulls for the 1998–1999 season and finished with 82 points (35 + 47) in 63 games. Taking off in the playoffs, Cheechoo scored 30 points (15 + 15) in 21 games. Five of those goals were scored during Game 7 of the OHL Final against the London Knights, a game the Bulls would win 9–2 to secure their first OHL Championship. Although he was now eligible for AHL assignment, San Jose chose to leave him unsigned. San Jose was patient with Cheechoo, knowing he still had room to improve in the OHL. In the following season, Cheechoo had his best year, tallying a team-high 91 points (45 + 46) in 66 games. Cheechoo added 17 points (5 + 12) in sixteen games during the playoffs. His high goal total hinted at his sniping capabilities, and his statistical improvement mirrored his development. Notably, Cheechoo never played a full season while in juniors because of minor injuries he gained from his crash-and-bang style of play. For development, Cheechoo joined San Jose's AHL affiliate, the Kentucky Thoroughblades, in the 2000–2001 season before deciding to give the NHL another go and obtained hockey agent Thayne Campbell.
San Jose Sharks[edit | edit source]
Cheechoo had a strong rookie season with Kentucky in the AHL scoring 66 points in 75 games. After going scoreless in the playoffs (in which he was a healthy scratch for two games), Cheechoo rebounded with 46 points (21 + 25) in 53 games (he missed games due to a leg injury).
In 2002–03, after scoring seven points (3 + 4) in nine games with the Cleveland Barons (the relocated Kentucky Thoroughblades franchise), Cheechoo was recalled to San Jose to help revitalize the struggling team. Playing mostly on the third and fourth lines, Cheechoo had a modest 16 points (9 goals and 7 assists) in 66 games. During the 2003 offseason, Cheechoo put himself on a power-skating regime and reduced his body fat to single digits, doing everything from weight work to sprinting exercises to increase his skating strength.
His hard work paid off, as Cheechoo had 47 points in 81 games in 2003–2004. Playing alongside Mike Ricci and Scott Thornton, Cheechoo had two mentors who taught Cheechoo how to be defensively responsible. Also, Cheechoo became one of San Jose's best grinders; his new upper-body strength allowed him to win many battles along the boards. In the 2004 playoffs, Cheechoo had 10 points in 17 games. San Jose was eliminated by Calgary. During the NHL lockout, Cheechoo played with HV71 of the Swedish Elitserien and had 5 goals in 20 games.
In the 2005–06 season, Cheechoo offensive statistics took off, netting a franchise record 56 goals and 93 points. Much of Cheechoo's success was augmented by the Sharks acquisition of superstar Joe Thornton in late November. Before the trade, Cheechoo had 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) in 24 games. In the 57 games after the trade, Cheechoo had 78 points (49 goals, 29 assists). Thornton knew how to get the puck to Cheechoo - who had the skill to score the goals.
In the 2006–07 season, Cheechoo got off to a slow start as he, Joe Thornton, and newly acquired power forward Mark Bell, failed to click. However, after a struggling Bell was demoted to the press box in favor of young speedster Milan Michalek, Cheechoo picked it up somewhat, finishing the season with an impressive 37 goals and 69 points in 76 games. In the playoffs, it was revealed that Cheechoo played with a broken thumb. In 2006, Cheechoo signed a 5-year contract extension worth US$15 million. The deal will pay him US$2.5 million the first two years, US$3 million the third year, and US$3.5 million the last two years. Cheechoo's production dropped to 23 goals the following season, which then fell to just 12 goals in the 2008-09 NHL Season.
Ottawa Senators[edit | edit source]
On September 12, 2009, he was traded by the Sharks, along with Milan Michalek and a second round pick, to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Dany Heatley and a fifth round pick. On February 12, 2010, Cheechoo was placed on waivers by the Senators after they acquired Matt Cullen from the Carolina Hurricanes. On February 13, 2010, he cleared waivers and was re-assigned to the Binghamton Senators, Ottawa's AHL affiliate. He was recalled in the post season and he played one game against the Penguins. On June 28, 2010, he was again placed on waivers by the Senators. Cheechoo, who was heading into the final year of a five-year contract signed with San Jose in 2006, was reportedly owed $3.5 million for the 2010–11 NHL season. On June 29, 2010 the Senators bought out the final year of his contract making him a free agent.
Dallas Stars[edit | edit source]
Following his buy out, Cheechoo was invited to the Dallas Stars training camp on September 4, 2010. He was released from the tryout 22 days later, on September 26, following his appearance in two pre-season games where he failed to register a point and posted a -2 rating. Stars head coach Marc Crawford stated that Cheechoo played well and that the Stars could have very easily kept the former 50 goal scorer. However, Dallas felt that Cheechoo needed to out perform their current players and therefore released him so that he would have the opportunity to join another team.
Return to the Sharks organization[edit | edit source]
On October 5, 2010, Cheechoo returned to the Sharks organization, signing a professional try-out contract with AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks, to re-unite with his first pro coach Roy Sommer who previously coached him with the Kentucky Thoroughblades.
St. Louis Blues[edit | edit source]
On July 12 2011, Cheechoo signed with the St. Louis Blues to a 1 year 2 way contract
Records[edit | edit source]
- San Jose Sharks' franchise record for goals in a season (56) - 2005–06
- San Jose Sharks' franchise record for power play goals in a season (24) - 2005–06
- San Jose Sharks' franchise record for hat tricks in a season (5) - 2005–06
Awards and honors[edit | edit source]
- 1997–98 OHL — First All-Rookie Team
- 2000–01 AHL — All-Rookie Team
- 2003–04 Played in the NHL YoungStars Game
- 2005–06 NHL — Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy
- 2006–07 Played in NHL All-Star Game
- 2010–11 AHL — All-Star Team (Did not participate.)
Career statistics[edit | edit source]
|2002–03||San Jose Sharks||NHL||66||9||7||16||39||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||San Jose Sharks||NHL||81||28||19||47||33||17||4||6||10||10|
|2005–06||San Jose Sharks||NHL||82||56||37||93||58||11||4||5||9||8|
|2006–07||San Jose Sharks||NHL||76||37||32||69||69||11||3||3||6||6|
|2007–08||San Jose Sharks||NHL||69||23||14||37||46||13||4||4||8||4|
|2008–09||San Jose Sharks||NHL||66||12||17||29||59||6||1||1||2||4|
References[edit | edit source]
- Cheechoo travels long path from Moose Factory. Chron.com (Retrieved April, 20 2006).
- "Heatley shipped to the Sharks", Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2009-09-12. Retrieved on 2009-09-12.
- CHEECHOO, KOTALIK AMONG NHL PLAYERS ON WAIVERS. TSN.ca. Retrieved on 2010-06-28.
- Report: Cheechoo, Kotalik waived - 2010 Offseason News. Nhl.com (2010-06-28). Retrieved on 2010-07-03.
- Senators buy out final year of cheechoo's contract. TSN.ca. Retrieved on 2010-06-29.
- Cheechoo To Attend Stars Training Camp. NHL.com (2010-09-04). Retrieved on 2010-09-04.
- Stepneski, Mark (2010-09-26). espn.com. Stars release Jonathan Cheechoo. ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-26.
- Cheechoo to join Worcester Sharks. telegram.com (2010-10-05). Retrieved on 2010-10-06.
- Jonathan Cheechoo player profile. Sports Net.ca (Retrieved September, 28 2009).
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|Winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy
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