PRINCETON, N.J. – Garrett Burnett became the 216th former ECHL player to advance to the National Hockey League when he made his debut with Anaheim on Wednesday. Burnett played six shifts and had one shot and five penalty minutes in Anaheim’s 3-1 loss at Dallas.
In 1995-96, Burnett had 22 penalty minutes in three games with Knoxville and one assist and 38 penalty minutes in eight games with Jacksonville of the ECHL. He scored 16 points (5g-11a) and had 321 penalty minutes in 50 games with Knoxville in 1996-97 and two points and 331 penalty minutes in 34 games with Johnstown in 1997-98.
There were 53 former ECHL players on NHL opening-day rosters, surpassing the record of 50 players set in 2002-03, and there were ECHL players on 28 of the 30 NHL teams.
There were 90 ECHL players that played in the NHL in 2002-03, including 20 that made their first-ever appearance. The 20 players who made their NHL debut in 2002-03 were: Francois Beauchemin (Montreal), Zdenek Blatny (Atlanta), Joe Corvo (Los Angeles), Fedor Fedorov (Vancouver), Vern Fiddler (Nashville), Brian Finley (Nashville), Simon Gamache (Atlanta), Ryan Kraft (San Jose), Kent McDonell (Columbus), Brett McLean (Chicago), Rick Mrozik (Calgary), Cody Rudkowsky (St. Louis), Curtis Sanford (St. Louis), Cam Severson (Anaheim), Mike Siklenka (Philadelphia), Chris Schmidt (Los Angeles), Jerred Smithson (Los Angeles), Tim Thomas (Boston), John Tripp (New York Rangers) and Matt Walker (St. Louis). Finley, Johan Holmqvist and Rudkowsky each played in both the ECHL and the NHL in 2002-03.
There are nine former ECHL coaches behind NHL benches, including Bruce Cassidy, who is in his second season as head coach of the Washington Capitals. Cassidy, who coached Jacksonville from 1996-98 and Trenton in 1999-2000, became the third former ECHL coach to become an NHL head coach, joining Peter Laviolette, who coached Wheeling of the ECHL in 1997-98 and the New York Islanders of the NHL in 2001-03, and Dave Allison, who coached Richmond in the ECHL from 1990-92 and Ottawa of the NHL for 25 games in 1995-96.