BLUE JACKETS' D ROSTISLAV KLESLA, G PASCAL LECLAIRE, RW TIM JACKMAN ACCEPT CLUB QUALIFYING OFFERS; RE-SIGN RW BRANDON SUGDEN
/ Columbus Blue Jackets
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced today that defenseman Rostislav Klesla, goaltender Pascal Leclaire and right wing Tim Jackman have each accepted the club's qualifying offers. The organization also announced it has re-signed right wing Brandon Sugden to a one-year contract. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Klesla, 23, was the club's first-ever draft pick, selected fourth overall in the 2000 Entry Draft. He has appeared in 202 career games with the Blue Jackets, registering 14-33-47 and 178 penalty minutes. He was an NHL All-Rookie Team selection in 2001-02 after tallying 8-8-16 and 74 penalty minutes in 75 games. He was also selected to play in the NHL YoungStars Game during All-Star Weekend, but missed the contest due to injury. The following season, he registered 2-14-16 and 71 penalty minutes in 72 games and played in the YoungStars Game.
In 2003-04, Klesla nearly matched the point total of his first two seasons with 2-11-13 despite injuries limiting him to just 47 games played. Klesla spent most of the 2004-05 season playing in the Czech Elite League, where he registered 7-17-24 and 136 penalty minutes in 41 games with HC Vestin. He added 1-2-3 and 12 penalty minutes in nine games with Hameenlinna in the Finnish Elite League. Despite splitting the season, Klesla ranked second in the Czech Elite League in penalty minutes, tied for sixth in goals by a defenseman and tied for eighth in points by a defenseman.
Leclaire, 22, was off to the best start of his three-year pro career with the American Hockey League's Syracuse Crunch in 2004-05 before an abdominal injury sidelined him for 66 games. He posted a 5-6-3 record, 2.34 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and two shutouts in just 14 games. Columbus' first pick, eighth overall, in the 2001 Entry Draft, split the 2003-04 season between the Blue Jackets and Crunch, posting a 21-16-3 record, 3.06 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 44 AHL games. Leclaire made his NHL debut at Phoenix on Feb. 20, 2004 and made 28 saves in a 3-2 loss. Three nights later, he made 34 saves in a 4-2 loss at San Jose.
Jackman, 23, was the club's second pick in 2001, 38th overall. He has spent the past three years with Syracuse, totaling 46-41-87 and 207 penalty minutes in 214 games. In 2004-05, he collected 14-21-35 and 98 penalty minutes in 73 games. His best season was 2003-04 when he had 23-13-36, 61 penalty minutes and was +12 in 64 games. He also appeared in 19 games with the Blue Jackets that season, tallying 1-2-3 and 16 penalty minutes.
Sugden, 27, was originally signed by the Blue Jackets as a free agent on Apr. 12, 2004. He spent the 2004-05 season with Syracuse, where he registered 1-0-1, 252 penalty minutes and was +3 in 45 games. In 118 career AHL games, he has 4-5-9 and 591 penalty minutes, including 3-5-8 and 283 penalty minutes in 62 games with Syracuse in 2003-04. He was Toronto's eighth pick, 111th overall, in the 1996 Entry Draft.
Tickets for Blue Jackets pre-season games are currently on sale, while regular season games go on sale Friday, September 16. Tickets may be purchased at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, the Blue Jackets Zones at Chiller Dublin, Chiller Easton and Chiller North, all Ticketmaster ticket centers, by phone at (614) 431-3600 or via the internet at www.BlueJackets.com and ticketmaster.com. For information on full season tickets starting as low as $13 per game, mini-season ticket plans or group tickets, call (800) NHL-COLS.