Record Eight Players Appear In ECHL, NHL In 2003-04
PRINCETON, N.J. – Benoit Dusablon, who played for Johnstown, Tallahassee and Charlotte of the ECHL, made his National Hockey League debut on Thursday with the New York Rangers. Dusablon skated 12 shifts, had one shot, won three of four faceoffs and had two penalty minutes in the Rangers 3-1 loss at Boston.
Called up from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Thursday, the 24-year-old Dusablon has played 34 games for Hartford and was tied for fifth on the team with 24 points (10g-14) while ranking second in plus-minus (+17) and tied for fourth in game-winning goals (3). Dusablon also played with Charlotte of the ECHL in 2003-04 scoring two game-winning goals and 20 points (10g-10a) in 19 games.
Signed as a free agent by the Rangers on June 12, 2002, Dusablon scored 24 points (8g-16a) in 50 regular season games and also appeared in a playoff game for Hartford in 2002-03. In 2001-02, the 6-1 and 207-pound Dusablon scored 25 points (12g-13a) in 19 games with Charlotte and 23 points (8g-15a) in 38 regular season games and three points (1g-2a) in nine playoff games for Hartford. Dusablon began his professional career in 2000-001 in the ECHL scoring five points (2g-3a) in 11 games with Johnstown and 50 points (21g-29a) in 49 games with Tallahassee.
Dusablon becomes the eighth player to play in both the ECHL and the NHL in 2003-04, surpassing the previous high of five players that played in both leagues in 2001-02. Dusablon joins Andy Chiodo (Wheeling and Pittsburgh), Mathieu Chouinard (Reading and Los Angeles), Dan Ellis (Idaho and Dallas), Arturs Irbe (Johnstown and Carolina), Adam Munro (Gwinnett and Chicago), Dany Sabourin (Las Vegas and Calgary) and Jeremy Yablonski (Peoria and St. Louis).
There have been 31 players in 2003-04 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL. Dusablon becomes the 30th ECHL player to make his NHL debut in 2003-04 joining Johnathan Aitken (Chicago on November 26), Ryan Barnes (Detroit on December 15), Mike Bishai (Edmonton on January 29), Darryl Bootland (Detroit on November 8), Garrett Burnett (Anaheim on October 8), Andy Chiodo (Pittsburgh on February 18), Mathieu Chouinard (Los Angeles on February 29), Carl Corazzini (Boston on January 15), Dan Ellis (Dallas on February 18), Mike Green (Florida on February 3), Andrew Hutchinson (Nashville on October 18), Boyd Kane (Philadelphia on October 16), Quintin Laing (Chicago on February 29), Cory Larose (New York Rangers on February 16), Patrick Leahy (Boston on December 6), Steve McLaren (St. Louis on December 16), Jason MacDonald (New York Rangers on December 12), Graham Mink (Washington on February 3), Adam Munro (Chicago on March 1), Lawrence Nycholat (New York Rangers on January 20), Pat Rissmiller (San Jose on November 13), Nathan Robinson (Detroit on November 28), Michael Ryder (Montreal on October 9), Dany Sabourin (Calgary on October 29), Rob Skrlac (New Jersey on December 13), Rastislav Stana (Washington on November 14), Mike Stuart (St. Louis on October 24), Darcy Verot (Washington on January 1), and Jeremy Yablonski (St. Louis on December 30). Travis Brigley, who played for Macon of the ECHL in 2001-02, played for Colorado on October 26.
There have been 96 ECHL players that have played in the NHL in 2003-04 including 28 goaltenders which is almost 32 percent of the 88 goaltenders that have appeared in an NHL game this season. There were 53 former ECHL players on NHL opening-day rosters surpassing the record of 50 players set in 2002-03. There are nine ECHL coaches in the NHL, including Carolina Hurricanes Head Coach Peter Laviolette and Florida Panthers Interim Head Coach John Torchetti, and there are 13 referees and three linesmen with ECHL experience on the 2003-04 NHL officiating staff. The ECHL has affiliations with 21 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2003-04 and there has been an ECHL player on each of the 30 NHL teams in 2003-04.