This is one of those signings that doesn't look like much on the surface, but could actually work well for the Blues. Brett Sterling was signed today to a one year, $500,000 contract. Sterling has had cups of coffee with both the Atlanta Thrashers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, most recently scoring three goals and two assists in seven games with Pittsburgh.
Sterling's an interesting commodity. While with the AHL Chicago Wolves, he proved himself to be one of their top scorers, scoring 55 goals and 42 assists in 2005-2006 as a career high point. He's going to be an excellent offensive punch for the Peoria Rivermen, who were in need of a consistent top-line scorer. Sterling's real upside, though, will be in an emergency call-up status. The forwards that the team called up from Peoria needed the experience, but didn't add much. Sterling's a small and speedy scorer that, if utilized correctly, will be good for some goals if he needs to stay up here a few games.
Sterling's issue comes in that while he's a scorer with good hands and speed, he's one at the AHL level. He doesn't fit in on an NHL club's top lines unless it's an emergency basis, and that's what has held him back - because he certainly doesn't belong on a third or fourth line. St. Louis' third line, though, still can play an offensive style, and if need be he could add something. At the very least he will be a stronger addition to the NHL team whenever he's up than current AHLers Philip McRae and Chris Porter.
If the Blues don't add a bunch of extra players before the season starts, Sterling wouldn't shock me by initially sneaking onto the NHL roster on the 3rd line.