*Michael Peca introduced for the first time as a member of the Blue Jackets 700K
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed free agent center Michael Peca, a two-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the National Hockey League’s top defensive forward, to a one-year contract, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Peca, 33, is an 11-year NHL veteran who has registered 164 goals and 245 assists for 409 points with 676 penalty minutes and a cumulative +73 plus/minus rating in 728 games with the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs. He has also scored 38 power play, 25 shorthanded and 28 game-winning goals during his career and contributed 15-19-34 and 78 penalty minutes in 93 career playoff games. In 2006-07, he tallied 4-11-15, 60 penalty minutes and was +2 in 35 games with Toronto before suffering a season-ending broken leg at Chicago on December 22. He scored the game-winning goal in his 700th NHL game at Columbus on October 20.
“We are very pleased to add a player of Michael’s ability, character and presence to our hockey club,” said Howson. “We expect that Michael will be a very strong addition to our leadership group.”
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Peca was Vancouver’s second pick, 40th overall, in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He played parts of two seasons in the Canucks organization before arriving in Buffalo in 1995. In five seasons with the Sabres, he collected 96-121-217 and 352 penalty minutes in 363 games and served as the club’s captain from 1997-00. In 1996-97, he captured his first Selke Trophy after notching 20-29-49, 80 penalty minutes and a +26 plus/minus rating in 79 games. In 1998-99, he scored a career-high 27 goals during the regular season and picked up 5-8-13 in 21 playoff games to help the Sabres advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
After sitting out the 2000-01 season, he joined the Islanders in 2001-02 and scored a career-high 25-35-60 with 62 penalty minutes and was +19 in 80 games en route to winning his second Selke Trophy. The Islanders captain also served as an alternate captain for Canada’s gold medal winning Olympic Team that year. New York advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of Peca’s three seasons, ending a seven-year playoff drought for the franchise.
Peca spent the 2005-06 season with the Edmonton Oilers and picked up 9-14-23 and 56 penalty minutes in 71 games and ranked 13th in the NHL in face-off winning percentage at 54.9 percent. He added 6-5-11, 20 penalty minutes and ranked second among club forwards in ice time (19:05) in 24 playoff games to help the Oilers advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Blue Jackets will begin preparations for the 2007-08 NHL season by participating in the annual Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan September 7-12. The club will open its seventh training camp in Columbus with physicals and strength & conditioning testing on Thursday, September 13 and on-ice workouts on Friday, September 14. Complete prospects tournament and training camp information will be released in the coming days.
Individual tickets for 2007-08 regular season home games go on sale Saturday, September 15 with preseason game tickets available beginning Friday, August 10 at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, The Blueline Team Stores at The Chiller Ice Rinks and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can also purchase tickets by phone at (614) 431-3600 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com. Season and group tickets are on sale now. For information, call (614) 246-PUCK or (800) NHL-COLS.