PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Jackson left wing Josh Olson became the 248th ECHL player to advance to the National Hockey League when he made his debut with Florida on Thursday. Olson scored his first NHL goal at 1:40 of the third period giving Florida a 2-1 lead at Montreal in the game eventually won 3-2 in overtime by the Panthers.
Selected in the sixth round (190th overall) by Florida in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the 22-year-old Olson was recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. In 59 games with San Antonio in 2003-04, the 6-3 and 236-pound Olson scored 29 points (19g-10a).
In his first full professional season in 2002-03, Olson scored 27 points (10g-17a) in 39 regular season games and also appeared in one Kelly Cup Playoff game for Jackson while also appearing in 23 games with San Antonio and scoring one point (0g-1a).
Olson becomes the 32nd ECHL player to make his NHL debut in 2003-04 and there have been 33 players in 2003-04 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL. The previous season high for ECHL players making their first NHL appearance was 27 players in 1999-2000 and 2000-01.
There have been 98 ECHL players that have played in the NHL in 2003-04 including 29 goaltenders. 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.
In addition to Olson, ECHL players making their NHL debut in 2003-04 are 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), Benoit Dusablon (New York Rangers on March 4), 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), Matt Underhill (Chicago on March 7), 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.