NEW YORK/TORONTO – Colorado goaltender David Aebischer, who began his professional career in the ECHL with Chesapeake and Wheeling, was named along with Philadelphia goaltender Antero Niittymaki as the Defensive Player of the Week by the National Hockey League on Monday.
Aebischer becomes the fifth former ECHL goaltender to win the NHL Defensive Player of the Week award joining Tomas Vokoun of Wheeling and Nashville (Dec. 5), Mike Morrison of Greenville and Edmonton (Nov. 28), Curtis Sanford of Peoria and St. Louis (Nov. 21) and Manny Legace of Richmond and Detroit (Nov. 1).
Legace was named as a runner-up for the defensive award while former Wheeling right wing Michel Ouellet was runner-up for the NHL Offensive Player of the Week award. Legace was 2-0-0 with a goals-against average of 0.46 for the Detroit Red Wings while Ouellet scored eight points (6g-2a) in four games for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Aebischer had three victories and a goals-against average of 1.30 and a save percentage of .955, including his second shutout of the season with 32 saves against Nashville on Jan. 3. Appearing in 25 of the Avalanche’s 43 games, Aebischer is 14-9-0 with a goals-against average of 3.29 and a save percentage of .892.
Selected in the sixth round (161st overall) by Colorado in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Aebischer began his professional career in 1997-98 in the ECHL going 10-10-3 with one shutout, a goals against average of 3.35 and a save percentage of .897 in 17 regular season games with Chesapeake and 5-3-1 with a goals against average of 3.76 and a save percentage of .858 in 10 regular season games with Wheeling.