Jan 31, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; St. Louis Blues center Scott Nichol (12) and Columbus Blue Jackets center Derek MacKenzie (24) fight during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Free Agency: Blues sign Keith Aucoin

Apr. 6, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Keith Aucoin (10) looks to pass the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Islanders won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not the flashiest of moves, and one certainly that many “fans” will bemoan because the team is in desperate need of a top-tier center, but the St. Louis Blues have signed a 1-year deal with center Keith Aucoin, formerly of the New York Islanders.

While Aucoin has spent time in both the NHL and AHL over the last couple of seasons, he scored a career-high 6 goals last season and could be filling a Scotty Nichol-type of spot for the Blues in 2013-14.  It remains to be seen whether the deal is a one-way ticket or if Aucoin might be on the St. Louis-Chicago express.

For you Blues fans scratching your head about the newest ‘Note, my pal Rich Diaz over at Eyes On Isles agreed to share some of his thoughts on the centerman, as he reported in his “Summer Report Card” on the 34 year old forward. I’ve quoted some of the report here, but be sure and click through to the Isles’ site to read the entire article.

Keith Aucoin offers his team yeoman services when called upon to do so. His arduous journey in and out of the NHL has everything to do with his physical stature (5’ 9”), in my estimation, as bigger, faster opponents often trump his grit and determination rather well. So the fruits of Aucoin’s labor are somewhat sparse according to stat sheets.

And suffice to say that as easily as Aucoin can make his presence know on a given squad, his uncanny ability to fade into the fold makes him somewhat of a marked man for trades, or pulling AHL duties for significant amounts of time.

But whatever the case may be, Garth Snow believed in this man, and Aucoin did all he could to thank the Isles and his GM for taking him off the wavier wire.

In only the second game of this past season, Keith Aucoin would tally his first point as an Islander, an assist and 5 SOG, in a winning effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

His best game of the season, however, came two matches later in his hometown of Boston against the Stanley Cup runners-up.

Aucoin would account for all the scoring (2 G) that evening in a losing effort, but showed neither fear nor qualms nor lag playing center stage at one of the more revered venues for hockey.

Keith Aucoin (143 games) hasn’t had the NHL career that Scott Nichol (662) had,  but he’s about the same size and plays a similar game. Keith also has 5 points in 20 playoff games, two more than Nichol recorded in three times as many post-season appearances. Nothing against Nichol, I’m just trying to show that new fans need to give Aucoin a chance to prove himself.

He’ll need to do so in Coach Hitchcock’s and Doug Armstrong’s eyes come September when camp starts and while he’s probably not going to solve any of the scoring issues from this past season, Aucoin could be a valuable role player. Time will tell.


Tags: Doug Armstrong Free Agency Garth Snow Keith Aucoin Ken Hitchcock New York Islanders Scott Nichol St. Louis Blues

comments powered by Disqus