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Paliotta to make Blue Jackets debut vs. Panthers

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets weren't keen on having Michael Paliotta "around" just to take in the scenery.

When they recalled him from the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday afternoon, the plan was for Paliotta to make his Columbus debut today vs. the Florida Panthers. Not only is the 22-year-old native of Westport, Conn., excited to get into the lineup, but the Blue Jackets are anxious to see what he can bring.

John Tortorella knows only his name, and for now, that's how he prefers to keep it.

"I know nothing about him. Nothing. Ask me after the game and I'll give you some information," Tortorella said pre-game today.

Paliotta was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in the deal that brought Brandon Saad to Columbus. GM Jarmo Kekalainen said at the time that Paliotta's inclusion in the trade was a significant factor in getting it done, as he and several Blue Jackets hockey ops personnel have long been fans of his game.

He's a big kid at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds but still very green with only one NHL game under his belt, which game last April while with the Blackhawks.

Paliotta's debut season with the Monsters has been impressive; he's currently second on the team in shots on goal (126), a stat that comes courtesy of our friends at Buckeye State Hockey. He's the Monsters' top-scoring defenseman with 21 points in 50 games, and sees plenty of power play time as well.

"Jarmo and I talked about this in trying to look at some young guys as we go through here," Tortorella said. "(Paliotta) is one that he wants to see, that we want to see. I don't like calling up people and asking about them. I like making my own determination as I watch him play. I don't want to get clouded, I just want to watch him play, and I'll make my assessment from there."

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