Five former ECHL players have debuted in the National Hockey League in the last six weeks, increasing the number of players to advance to the NHL to 551.
Former Idaho Steelheads center Sam Carrick made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-2 win against Chicago on Nov. 1. Carrick has recorded two penalty minutes in five games with the Maple Leafs this season.
Carrick had 37 points (16g-21a) in 50 games with Idaho in 2012-13. A fifth-round selection (144th overall) by the Maple Leafs in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Carrick has tallied 49 points (18g-31a) in 103 career American Hockey League games with the Toronto Marlies.
Former Wheeling Nailers forward Brandon DeFazio appeared in his first NHL game with the Vancouver Canucks in a 2-1 shootout win at Anaheim on Nov. 9.
DeFazio made his pro debut with Wheeling during the 2010-11 season, picking up nine points (4g-5a) in 10 regular-season games and adding six points (4g-2a) in 14 games during the 2011 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The 26-year-old has 90 points (48g-42a) in 239 career AHL games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Bridgeport and Utica.
Former Stockton Thunder defenseman Brandon Davidson made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers in a 2-1 loss at Anaheim on Dec. 10 and has appeared in four games with the Oilers.
A sixth-round selection (162nd overall) of the Oilers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Davidson saw action in 11 games with Stockton during the 2012-13 season, scoring 12 points (7g-5a). He has appeared in 109 career games with Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League, picking up 21 points (8g-13a).
Former Wheeling Nailers right wing Bobby Farnham appeared in his first NHL game with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 13, picking up five penalty minutes in a 4-3 shootout loss at Columbus. He has seven penalty minutes in two games with Pittsburgh this season.
Farnham appeared in nine games for the Nailers in 2012-13, tallying four points (3g-1a) and adding 46 penalty minutes. The 25-year-old has 29 points (11g-18a) in 158 career American Hockey League games with Providence, Worcester and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Former Florida Everblades right wing Justin Shugg appeared in his first NHL game with the Carolina Hurricanes in a 4-1 loss at Montreal on Dec. 16.
Selected by the Hurricanes in the fourth round (105th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Shugg, had 12 points (4g-8a) in 11 regular-season games with Florida in 2011-12 and added 12 points (7g-5a) in 11 postseason games as then Everblades captured the 2012 Kelly Cup title. Shugg spent 19 games with the Everblades in 2012-13, recording 22 points (11g-11a). He has scored 83 points (37g-46a) in 164 career games with Charlotte of the American Hockey League.
The ECHL had 72 former players on NHL opening-day rosters, marking the 12th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters. The ECHL has affiliations with 29 of the 30 NHL teams, marking the 18th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 551 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 29 who made their NHL debuts in 2013-14. The ECHL has had 359 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years. There have been 295 ECHL players have played their first game in the last 10 seasons for an average of more than 29 per year.
There are 23 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano and Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette. It is the 10th consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award.
There are 27 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2014-15 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
The ECHL was represented for the 14th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2014 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Davis Payne, players Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Martin Jones, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick; manager of communications and broadcasting Jeremy Zager; and scouts Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti.. There were 49 former players and 19 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the ninth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 11th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender Scott Gordon, who played his first game with the Quebec Nordiques against Buffalo on Jan. 30, 1990. The 100th player honor is shared by Jean Sebastien Aubin and Manny Legace, who both made their debut on Oct. 21, 1998 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. The 200th player was Brett McLean with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 10, 2002 while the 300th was David Liffiton with the New York Rangers on April 11, 2006. The 400th was Phil Oreskovic on March 9, 2009 with the Toronto Maple Leafs while the 500th player honor is shared by Anthony Peluso and Darcy Kuemper, who both made their debut on Feb. 12, 2013 with the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild, respectively.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Josh Bogorad of the Dallas Stars, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ryan Stanzel, who was a recipient of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, works in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild while former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 21 teams in 14 states for its 27th season in 2014-15. There have been 551 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 10 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2014-15 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 29 of the 30 NHL teams in 2014-15, marking the 18th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.