Skip Tracer - Tracking J. Cash

The official caption for this said 'Jason Bacashihua looks dejected,' so we will go with that, Dejected J. Cash. - Martin Rose

Former first round draft pick Jason Bacashihua was called "the real deal" by some but never could quite cut it in the NHL. Whatever happened to J. Cash?

Skip Tracer's goal is to hunt down former Blues whom have since fallen off the grid. The soon-to-be-breakout stars that never came to pass. The young prospects who got our hopes up with flashes of brilliance only to fizzle out before having an impact. They let us down and disappeared. Now it is time to search the dark alleys of could-have-beens, burnouts and one-hit-wonders and check in on our old disappointments. These are the great liars and deceivers in Blues history. Like 'Read my lips - no new taxes,' 'I did not have sex with that woman,' and 'If you like your healthcare plan you can keep it,' these guys got is excited only to let us down. Now it's time to bring them to justice.

This is the part of a semi-regular feature.

Target: Jason Bacashihua

Crimes: Wasting a first round pick, Consistently under-performing, Being from Dearborn Michigan.

Evidence:

As I've already addressed, 2005-06 was not a good year for St. Louis Blues goal-tending. Patrick Lalime was a dud. Curtis Sanford was broken. Reinhard Divis was a disaster. Enter Jason Bacashihua.

Drafted 26th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2001, bigger things were expected for Cash. While playing in the AHL for Dallas and St. Louis Affiliates his stats were always 'meh.' Maybe if he would have had more time to develop he would have improved. For better or for worse he made his NHL debut in 2006, appearing in 19 games for a terrible Blues team but winning only 4. With a 3.23 GAA and a sub-.900 save percentage, he didn't have much success. He did, however, have a could brief flashes of brilliance. Just enough for a desperate Blues fan base to start seeing him as the 2nd coming.

In 2006-07 Cash again made 19 appearances this time only winning 3 games. His AHL numbers were far from dominant and his once bright future appeared to be in question.

After a crappy training camp in 2007, Cash was traded to Colorado for 'a bag of pucks' as Brad Lee put it.

Witness Statements:

Game Time caught up with Blues' goaltending coach Rick Wamsley at a recent Peoria Rivermen game, and Wamsley indicated that Bacashihua is at an interesting age. He needs to take that next step for us and show us that he can be an everyday goalie.

Peoria head coach Dave Baseggio has a similar assessment of Bacashihua. The first-year Rivermen bench boss notes that Bacashihua has loads of talent, but needs to establish himself as a dominant AHL goaltender, and a legitimate option for an NHL starting job.

I'd hate to see Cash go, because I think he's the real deal.

Bacashihua made it simple for the team by having a crappy pre-season. The Cash Man had a 4.90 goals-against average and no wins or loses in 49 minutes while Toivonen was 1-1 with a 3.16 in 56 minutes of action.

Three and a half years ago, goaltender Jason Bacashihua was worth a young defenseman recently picked in the first round. Today, he's apparently worth a bag of pucks and some athletic tape.

Last seen:

Cash played some unimpressive AHL hockey for Colorado, Washington and Philadelphia affiliates. The closest he came to greatness was while playing for the Hershey Bears, a Washington Capitals affiliate at the time. He won 17 of 22 games and sported a .911 save percentage but he lost out. He was signed directly with Hershey and was demoted behind Capitals prospects. Hershey won the Calder Cup that year and Cash didn't see any playoff action.

Found:

Former Blues Goaltender was found in the Deutschland playing for the Straubing Tigers of the DEL. Straubing has a barely 5,000 seat arena and a tiny budget, and routinely finished in the basement. Cash had 25 wins, 27 losses and a .915 save percentage last year for the Tigers in a year that saw only their second playoff run in their history, so...WAY less than one would expect from a first round NHL draftee. He is the lead player on their snazzy team site, so that should count for something.

Debrief:

While Deutsche Eishockey Liga touts the most North American hockey players outside of North America and saw action from a couple dozen NHLers during the lockout, playing for a marginal DEL team is probably less than Cash was destined for. Did the premature call up and the piss-poor team stunt his development.

I guess we will never know.

Sidenote* Make sure not to click on the Mann Ziege Liebee link if you browse the German site.

Trust me.

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