October 6th, 2010, 8:57 am
Life’s a big circle, right? Our old pal Cheech is back, but only sorta. He’s in Worchester on a pro tryout. This is a bit confusing, so I’ll try to explain. Feel free to stop reading if you know this already. Every NHL team has a contract limit of 50 (not counting junior players). That’s every single player the Sharks have the rights to- SJ Sharks, Worchester Sharks, Stockton Thunder, European leagues, etc. As a practical matter, that means everyone on the Worchester Sharks, even though that is the AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, isn’t necessarily SJ Sharks property. Roy Sommer and the crew over there can sign a limited number of free agents to fill out the roster. That’s what Cheech might be, and that’s what Claude Lemieux was once upon a time. He’s not even signed to an AHL deal yet, he’s just on a tryout. Even if he does make the team, any NHL team at any time could sign him to an NHL SPC (that’s “standard player contract”). San Jose would have the benefit of a little inside information, being it’s their affiliate, but they would have no priority in signing Cheech to an NHL deal if he happens to regain some of his past glory.
Personally, I’m really pleased about this. I like the idea of having Cheech back in the Sharks “family”. And I’m also a little relieved that the big club isn’t on the hook for anything. But don’t worry, Cheech will be ok- he is getting over a million bucks this year in buyout money from Ottawa.