The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled forwards Alexandre Picard and Ben Simon from the Syracuse Crunch, the club's American Hockey League affiliate, and re-assigned forwards Jaroslav Balastik and Mike Rupp to Syracuse, club President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced today.
Picard, 20, was the Blue Jackets' first pick, eighth overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft and is playing in his first professional season. He has appeared in 12 games with the Crunch, tallying three goals and two assists for five points with 21 penalty minutes. All three of his goals have come on the power play.
A native of Les Saules, Quebec, Picard spent the past three-plus seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, registering 93-104-197 and 289 penalty minutes in 206 games with Lewiston and Sherbrooke. He was among the QMJHL's top scorers with Lewiston in each of the past two seasons, tallying 40-45-85 and 160 penalty minutes in 65 games in 2004-05 and 39-41-80 and 88 penalty minutes in 69 games in 2003-04.
Simon, 27, has collected 4-5-9, including two shorthanded goals, and 12 penalty minutes with a +3 plus/minus rating in 13 games with the Crunch this season. He has appeared in 68 career NHL games, registering 3-1-4 and 43 penalty minutes with the Atlanta Thrashers between 2001-04. He played in an NHL-career high 52 games with Atlanta in 2003-04 and notched 3-0-3 and 28 penalty minutes.
A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Simon played four seasons at Notre Dame of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association from 1996-00. In 304 career American/International Hockey League games, he has 50-70-120 and 257 penalty minutes since beginning his pro career in 2000-01. He was Chicago's fifth pick, 110th overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
Rupp was acquired by the Blue Jackets from Phoenix on October 8 and has appeared in 12 games with Columbus this season, registering 19 penalty minutes. Balastik, 25, has played in 16 games this season split between the Blue Jackets and Crunch. He has tallied 0-1-1, two penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating in six NHL games and 2-1-3 with a +2 rating in 10 AHL contests.
The Blue Jackets return to action on Friday night against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. Game time is set for 8:30 p.m. ET, with FSN Ohio's Ice Breaker pregame show starting at 8 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM Sports Radio 1460 the Fan and WWCD-FM, CD101.