The Columbus Blue Jackets have assigned forwards Dan Fritsche
Â and Alexandre Picard
, defensemen Andy Delmore
, Aaron Johnson
, and Jamie Pushor
, and goaltender Pascal Leclaire
, to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, club President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced on Wednesday. All six players will join the Crunch for the start of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Leclaire, 23, posted an 11-15-3 record with a 3.23 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 33 games with the Blue Jackets as an NHL rookie in 2005-06. He also appeared in seven games with the Crunch earlier this season, going 3-3-0 with a 2.82 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and one shutout. Fritsche tallied 6-7-13 and 22 penalty minutes in 59 games with Columbus and added 5-4-9 and 12 penalty minutes in 19 games with the Crunch.
Johnson, Picard, Delmore and Pushor all spent the majority of the season with Crunch. Johnson racked up 5-24-29 and 122 penalty minutes in 49 AHL games, while adding 2-6-8, 23 penalty minutes and a +9 plus/minus rating in 26 games with Columbus. Picard registered 15-15-30 and 52 penalty minutes in 45 games with Syracuse and also appeared in 17 games with the Blue Jackets during his rookie pro season. Delmore won the AHL's Eddie Shore Award as the league's Top Defenseman this year after leading all AHL blueliners in scoring with 17-55-72 in 66 games. He also appeared in seven games with Columbus after being claimed by the club off waivers from Detroit in October. Pushor notched 5-17-22 and 132 penalty minutes in 72 games with the Crunch and chipped in 1-2-3 in four games with the Blue Jackets.
Syracuse finished the regular season with a 47-25-5-3 record, which was good for second place in the North Division. The Crunch, who set a franchise record for points in a season with 102, begins its best-of-seven first round playoff series against the Manitoba Moose at home on Friday.