Keith Aucoin made his National Hockey League debut with the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 23 and Doug O’Brien played his first NHL game with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 29, bringing the total number of players to play in the NHL after the ECHL to 292.
In the last five NHL seasons, there have been 147 former ECHL players who have played their first NHL game, including 36 in 2005-06 and a record 40 in 2003-04.
Aucoin had an assist in Carolina’s 7-3 win against Montreal and he also played for Carolina on Jan. 25 when the Hurricanes visited the Florida Panthers, a game attended by his brother, Phil, who is playing for the Florida Everblades. O’Brien played 17 shifts in Tampa Bay’s 2-1 loss at Washington.
Keith Aucoin had two assists in one game with the Everblades in 2001-02 before being called up to Lowell of the American Hockey League where he had 16 points (6g-10a) in 30 games. O’Brien had two penalty minutes in three games with Johnstown in 2004-05 and has 18 points (3g-15a) and 50 penalty minutes in 45 games with Springfield of the AHL in 2005-06.
Keith Aucoin was returned on Jan. 26 to Lowell where he has 52 points (19g-33a) in 45 games. He has played each of the past four seasons in the AHL with Lowell, Providence and Cincinnati scoring 240 points (83g-157a) in 275 regular season games and 22 points (4g-18a) in 30 playoff games.