BLUE JACKETS SIGN GOALTENDER MARTIN PRUSEK
Former Ottawa Senator is 28-9-4 with a 2.23 GAA and .913 SV% in 48 career NHL games
COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed free agent goaltender Martin Prusek to a one-year contract, club President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced today. As is club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Prusek (pronounced PROO-sehk) has spent the past three NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators organization, including 2003-04 when he posted a 16-6-3 record with a 2.12 goals-against average (11th in the NHL), .917 save percentage and three shutouts in a career-high 29 games. In his NHL career, he has registered a record of 28-9-4 with a 2.23 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and three shutouts in 48 games.
Following the season, he was selected to represent the Czech Republic at the World Cup of Hockey, but missed the tournament after suffering a groin injury in an exhibition game. He has also represented the Czech Republic at the World Championships in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
"With Pascal's injury last season, we felt it was important to add depth at the goaltending position," said MacLean, referring to the abdominal injury suffered by Pascal Leclaire, Columbus' top pick in the 2001 Entry Draft, that limited him to just 14 games with the Syracuse Crunch in 2004-05. "Martin is an outstanding goaltender, who with Pascal and Marc Denis, gives us a terrific group at the position."
Ottawa's sixth pick, 164th overall, in the 1999 Entry Draft, Prusek played seven seasons in the Czech Republic from 1994-2001. He was the club's top goaltender during the last six seasons and led HC Vitkovice to the playoffs five times. In his final season, he went 12-11-7 with a 2.29 goals-against average, which ranked third in the league in 2000-01.
In 2001-02, he joined the Grand Rapids Griffins, Ottawa's American Hockey League affiliate, and enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons in AHL history. He went 18-8-5 with a 1.83 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and four shutouts in 33 games. He set the then-modern day AHL record with his .930 save percentage, while his 1.83 goals-against average was the second-lowest in the league's 66-year history. He won the AHL's Baz Bastien Trophy that year as the league's top goaltender.
The 29-year-old native of Ostrava, Czech Republic spent the 2004-05 season playing in his native Czech Republic. He posted a 7-11-4 record with a 2.45 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in 22 games with HC Vitkovice. His .932 save percentage was sixth-best in the league.
Blue Jackets season tickets, mini-plans and group tickets for 2005-06 are on sale now. For information, call (614) 246-PUCK or (800) NHL-COLS. Individual game tickets to regular season games go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 16.