By Lindsay Kramer
Either way, Jean-Guy Trudel will be covered this season.
He will either play in the NHL, or be consoled by living and working in his adopted hometown of Peoria.
“If it doesn’t work out up there (in St. Louis), I’m coming home,’’ Trudel reasoned. “So it isn’t a bad deal.’’
The win-win situation was assured when St. Louis, the Rivermen’s parent club, signed the left wing to a two-way deal. Trudel, 31, has played the last four seasons with Ambri Piotta in Switzerland, registering 50 or more points each season. Last season, he led the club with 27 goals and 53 points.
But the overseas detour didn’t make him forget his hockey roots. Peoria is his off-season home, and Trudel’s wife, Amy, is a Peoria native. Trudel owns 20 percent of Peoria’s Junior B hockey team, the Mustangs.
Trudel played for the Rivermen during the 1996-97 and 97-98 seasons, Peoria’s first two in the ECHL. In 99 games with the team, he scored 167 points. When St. Louis offered him a deal for 2007-08, he opted out of a three-year deal he had in Switzerland.
“It’s a lot of money to let go,” Trudel said. “But I wanted my shot (at the NHL). I wouldn’t have signed with anyone else. People from the Midwest are really nice people. They’ve always treated me nicely here. As long as I have my golf course, my gym, and a hockey rink, I’m a happy man.’’