PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Fresno goaltender Nolan Schaefer (pictured) made 12 saves for the San Jose Sharks in his National Hockey League debut on Wednesday. Former Pensacola right wing Evgeny Artyukhin scored his first point in the NHL with an assist in Tampa Bay’s 6-3 win at New Jersey and former Dayton defenseman Steven Goertzen played his fourth game with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Schaefer picked up the 5-4 overtime win at Dallas after coming on in relief of starter Vesa Toskala, who sustained a groin injury, while Goertzen skated 12 shifts in the Blue Jackets 3-2 win against Nashville.
There have now been 267 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 11 who have made their NHL debut in 2005-06.
Selected in the fifth round (166th overall) by San Jose in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the 25-year-old Schaefer began his professional career with Fresno in 2003-04 and was 5-5-0 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 3.12 and a save percentage of .910 before being called up to Cleveland of the American Hockey League where he was 14-9-3 with two shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.34 and a save percentage of .925 in 27 regular season games and 4-5 with a goals-against average of 2.51 and a save percentage of .927 in nine playoff games.
Selected in the seventh round (225th overall) by Columbus in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, the 21-year-old Goertzen had three assists in 11 games with Dayton as a rookie in 2004-05 while also playing in the AHL with Syracuse where he had nine points (2g-7a) and 100 penalty minutes in 57 games.
Selected in the third round (94th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, the 22-year-old Artyukhin had one goal and 14 penalty minutes in six games with Pensacola as a rookie in 2003-04 while also playing in the AHL with Hershey where he had six points (3g-3a) and 111 penalty minutes in 36 games.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL and there is one head coach, 12 assistant coaches, 12 referees and five linesmen working in the NHL in 2005-06 who have ECHL experience. There have been 11 players in 2005-06 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL: Evgeny Artyukhin (Tampa Bay on October 20), Adam Berkhoel (Atlanta on October 15), Derek Boogaard (Minnesota on October 5), Michael Garnett (Atlanta on October 12), Steven Goertzen (Columbus on October 21), Timo Helbling (Tampa Bay on October 5), Colin Hemingway (St. Louis on October 19), Raitis Ivanans (Montreal on October 8), George Parros (Los Angeles on October 5), Nolan Schaefer (San Jose on October 26) and Mark Streit (Montreal on October 8).