The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled defenseman Aaron Johnson
, center Mike Rupp and right wing Jaroslav Balastik from the American Hockey League's Syracuse Crunch, President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced today. All three players are expected to join the team in time for tonight's game at Nationwide Arena against the Colorado Avalanche.
Johnson, 22, is tied for third among AHL defensemen in scoring with 15 points on three goals and 12 assists in 17 games. He has also collected 42 penalty minutes and has an even plus/minus rating for the Crunch this season. Columbus' fourth pick, 85th overall, in the 2001 Entry Draft, he has appeared in 29 career NHL games, tallying 2-6-8 and 32 penalty minutes with the Blue Jackets during the 2003-04 season. In 143 career AHL games, he has 15-44-59 and 265 penalty minutes.
Rupp, 25, tallied 1-2-3, 12 penalty minutes and a +1 plus/minus rating in three games after being assigned to Syracuse on November 17. After appearing in one game with Phoenix, he was acquired by the Blue Jackets on October 8 and was scoreless with 19 penalty minutes in 11 games with Columbus. The Cleveland, Ohio native has 11-9-20 and 87 penalty minutes in 95 career NHL games and 32-40-72 and 239 penalty minutes in 199 career AHL outings. He was a member of New Jersey's 2004 Stanley Cup championship team as he scored the Cup-winning goal and added three assists in four playoff games.
Balastik, who turns 26 on Monday, has picked up 3-3-6, six penalty minutes and is +5 in 14 games with the Crunch and collected 0-1-1 and two penalty minutes in six games with the Blue Jackets this season. Columbus', ninth pick, 184th overall, in the 2002 Entry Draft, he registered 117-98-215 and 242 penalty minutes in 331 games in the Czech Elite League prior to his arrival in North America this year. The past two years, he was the top goal scorer in the league with 30-16-46 in 52 games in 2004-05 and 29-18-47 in 51 games in 2003-04 while playing for Zlin.
Game time for the Blue Jackets and Avalanche is 7 p.m. tonight, with FSN Ohio's Ice Breaker pregame show starting at 6:30 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.