PRINCETON, N.J. – David Steckel, who played for Reading in 2004-05, made his National Hockey League debut with the Washington Capitals on Saturday and becomes the 286th player to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL and the 30th former ECHL player to play his first NHL game in 2005-06.
The 23-year-old had one shot in eight shifts during the Capitals 4-3 shootout win against Philadelphia. The winning goaltender for Washington was Olaf Kolzig, who began his professional career in the ECHL with Hampton Roads. The Capitals backup goaltender was Maxime Daigneault, who before being called up to Washington was 10-9-4 with a goals-against average of 3.21 and a save percentage of .903 in 23 games with South Carolina of the ECHL.
Selected in the first round (30th overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Steckel was signed by Washington as a free agent on Aug. 25, 2005. He began his professional career with Reading in 2004-05 and had nine points (3g-6a) in nine games before being called up to Manchester of the American Hockey League where he had 17 points (10g-7a) in 63 regular season games and two points (1g-1a) in six playoff games.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL and over 100 players on ECHL rosters are under contract to an NHL team. There is one head coach, 12 assistant coaches, 13 referees and five linesmen currently in the NHL with ECHL experience. Chris Holt (Charlotte and New York Rangers) and Mike Morrison (Greenville and Edmonton) have played in both the ECHL and the NHL this season. Chris Beckford-Tseu of Alaska was called up and served as the backup goaltender for St. Louis on Dec. 17 while Maxime Daigneault of South Carolina was called up served as the backup goaltender for Washington on Dec. 31.
Former ECHL goaltenders have won the NHL Defensive Player of the Week four times with Tomas Vokoun, Wheeling and Nashville (Dec. 5), Morrison, Greenville and Edmonton (Nov. 28), Curtis Sanford, Peoria and St. Louis (Nov. 21) and Manny Legace, Richmond and Detroit (Nov. 1).
There have been 30 players in 2005-06 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL:
Evgeny Artyukhin (Tampa Bay on Oct. 20)
Adam Berkhoel (Atlanta on Oct. 15)
Derek Boogaard (Minnesota on Oct. 5)
Kevin Colley (New York Islanders on Oct. 27)
Ryan Craig (Tampa Bay on Dec. 17)
Brian Eklund (Tampa Bay on Nov. 8)
Michael Garnett (Atlanta on Oct. 12)
Trevor Gillies (Anaheim on Nov. 6)
Steven Goertzen (Columbus on Oct. 21)
Jeff Giuliano (Los Angeles on Nov. 5)
Josh Gratton (Philadelphia on Dec. 15)
Timo Helbling (Tampa Bay on Oct. 5)
Colin Hemingway (St. Louis on Oct. 19)
Chris Holt (New York Rangers on Dec. 3)
Raitis Ivanans (Montreal on Oct. 8)
Greg Jacina (Florida on Nov. 12)
Zenon Konopka (Anaheim on Oct. 30)
Chad LaRose (Carolina on Dec. 6)
Jay Leach (Boston on Nov. 5)
Rob McVicar (Vancouver on Dec. 1)
Mike Morrison (Edmonton on Nov. 7)
Michel Ouellet (Pittsburgh on Nov. 22)
George Parros (Los Angeles on Oct. 5)
Geoff Platt (Columbus on Dec. 2)
Nolan Schaefer (San Jose on Oct. 26)
Martin St. Pierre (Chicago on Nov. 4)
David Steckel (Washington on Dec. 31)
Grant Stevenson (San Jose on Nov. 23)
Mark Streit (Montreal on Oct. 8)
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Columbus on Nov. 23)