Aaron Palushaj

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Aaron Palushaj
Aaron Palushaj - Checkers.jpg
Born (1989-09-07) September 7, 1989 (age 25)
Livonia, MI, USA
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Free Agent
Montreal Canadiens
Colorado Avalanche
Carolina Hurricanes
National team  United States
NHL Draft 44th overall, 2007
St. Louis Blues
Playing career 2009–present

Agron Aaron Palushaj (born September 7, 1989) is an American professional ice hockey right winger who currently an unrestricted free agent of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing career[edit]

Palushaj was drafted in the second round, 44th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues. Palushaj previously played junior hockey in the USHL with Des Moines Buccaneers before playing two-years of collegiate hockey with the University of Michigan in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. In his sophomore season in 2008–09 with the Wolverines, Palushaj led the team and the CCHA with 50 points in 37 games to be named to the NCAA West First All-American Team.[1]

On April 3, 2009, Palushaj signed a three-year, entry level contract with the Blues.[2] Assigned to AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen, for his first professional season he was later traded by the Blues to the Montreal Canadiens for Matt D'Agostini on March 3, 2010.[3]

After attending the Canadiens training camp, Palushaj was reassigned to AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, to begin the 2010–11 season. On March 17, 2011, Palushaj was recalled and dressed for his first game with the Montreal Canadiens in a 3–2 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.[4] After three scoreless games with the Canadiens, Palushaj returned to the Bulldogs and recorded 19 points in as many playoff games in reaching the Western Conference finals. With 31 points in two Playoff seasons, he became the Bulldogs franchise leading scorer in the post-season.

During the following 2011–12 season, on the anniversary of his NHL debut and in his 32nd NHL game, Palushaj scored his first NHL goal against the New York Islanders.[5]

Palushaj was re-signed by the Canadiens to a one-year contract on July 12, 2012.[6] With the 2012–13 NHL lockout in affect, Palushaj was signed to an AHL contract to enable him to play with in the AHL with the Bulldogs on September 26, 2012.[7] He was leading the Bulldogs with 7 goals in 21 games before suffering a shoulder injury on December 11 against the Lake Erie Monsters.[8] With the commencement of the shortened 2012–13 NHL season and cleared for a return, the Canadiens placed Palushaj on waivers before he was claimed by the Colorado Avalanche on February 5, 2013.[9] He made his Avalanche debut in a 3-2 overtime defeat to the Phoenix Coyotes on February 11, 2013.[10] Initially promoted to a scoring line, he scored his first goal for the Avalanche in his second game with the club in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild on February 14.[11] After a career-high three point game against the Nashville Predators he had scored 4 points in his first 4 games.[12] Over the course of the season, Palushaj was primarily used in a depth checking role, and in 25 games finished with 2 goals and 9 points.

Despite recording new career highs at the NHL level, Palushaj was not extended a qualifying offer by the Avalanche and was released as a free agent.[13] On July 11, 2013, Palushaj was signed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.[14]

International play[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for the  United States
Ice hockey
World Championships
Bronze 2013 Sweden/Finland

Palushaj made his international debut for the United States as a junior, when he was selected to compete at the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa. He scored 2 goals and 5 points in 6 games before suffering defeat to Slovakia at the Quarterfinal stage.

At the completion of his 2012–13 season with the Avalanche, Palushaj returned to the International stage as he was selected to the United States roster for the 2013 World Championships in Sweden/Finland.[15] He made his national senior debut in the opening game of the Tournament, scoring a goal, in a 5–3 victory over Austria on May 4, 2013.[16] Through 9 games, Palushaj scored a goal and an assist to help USA capture its first medal at the World Championships in claiming bronze since 2004.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Palushaj grew up in Michigan. His father, Tom, emigrated from Albania at the age of thirteen. He has two younger sisters, Monica and Julia, and one older sister, Jesika. Palushaj first played soccer as a child, and after seeing posters of Steve Yzerman and the Russian Five in his first-grade classroom decided he wanted to play hockey.[18]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2005–06 Des Moines Buccaneers USHL 58 10 23 33 53 11 2 4 6 15
2006–07 Des Moines Buccaneers USHL 56 22 45 67 62 8 6 5 11 6
2007–08 University of Michigan CCHA 43 10 34 44 22
2008–09 University of Michigan CCHA 39 13 37 50 26
2008–09 Peoria Rivermen AHL 4 2 0 2 4 4 0 1 1 2
2009–10 Peoria Rivermen AHL 44 5 17 22 22
2009–10 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 18 3 7 10 8 19 2 10 12 28
2010–11 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 68 22 35 57 42 19 7 12 19 14
2010–11 Montreal Canadiens NHL 3 0 0 0 2
2011–12 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 35 15 20 35 35
2011–12 Montreal Canadiens NHL 38 1 4 5 8
2012–13 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 21 7 3 10 18
2012–13 Colorado Avalanche NHL 25 2 7 9 8
2013–14 Charlotte Checkers AHL 68 22 36 58 80
2013–14 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 2 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 68 3 11 14 18

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2009 United States WJC 5th 6 2 3 5 10
2013 United States WC 9 1 1 2 12
Junior totals 6 2 3 5 10
Senior totals 9 1 1 2 12

Awards and honours[edit]

Award Year
College
All-CCHA First Team 2008-09 [1]
AHCA West First-Team All-American 2008–09

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "CCHA Awards headlined by Alaska's Johnson". uscho.com. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  2. ^ "Blues sign Aaron Palushaj". St. Louis Blues. 2009-04-03. Archived from the original on 5 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  3. ^ "Canadiens trade D'Agostini to Blues for Palushaj". TSN. 2010-03-03. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  4. ^ "Canadiens see off Lightning in shootout". CBS Sports. 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  5. ^ "Canadiens Aaron Palushaj joins exclusive company". Calgary Herald. 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  6. ^ "One-year contract for Aaron Palushaj". Montreal Canadiens. 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  7. ^ "Bulldogs sign Desjardins, Palushaj and St. Denis to AHL contracts". Hamilton Bulldogs. 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  8. ^ "Hamilton Bulldogs Weekly release". Hamilton Bulldogs. 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  9. ^ "Avalanche claim Palushaj off waivers from Canadiens". The Sports Network. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  10. ^ "Coyotes edge Avs in OT". CBS Sports. 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  11. ^ "Avalanche end three-game slide, beat Coyotes". CBS Sports. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  12. ^ "Avs need disputed goal to end 9 game slide over Predators". CBS Sports. 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  13. ^ "Aaron Palushaj not given Qualifying Offer by the Colorado Avalanche". Denver Post. 2013-07-02. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  14. ^ "Canes agree to terms with Aaron Palushaj". Carolina Hurricanes. 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  15. ^ "Johnson and Palushaj join Colorado contingency on US World Championship roster". article.wn.com. 2013-04-27. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  16. ^ "Game summary – USA 5, Austria 3". International Ice Hockey Federation. 2013-05-04. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  17. ^ "Shoot-out win earns USA bronze". International Ice Hockey Federation. 2013-05-19. Retrieved 2013-05-19. 
  18. ^ Wigge, Larry (2009-09-11). "Palushaj now gets his kicks playing hockey". NHL.com. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 

External links[edit]