R. J. Umberger
|R. J. Umberger|
May 3, 1982|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)|
Columbus Blue Jackets
|National team||United States|
16th overall, 2001|
Richard Alan "R. J." Umberger, Jr. (born May 3, 1982) is an American professional ice hockey center who is currently an unrestricted free agent. Drafted in the first round, 16th overall, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, Umberger has played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Umberger, who is both a left winger and center, played his high school hockey in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (WPIHL) for the Plum Mustangs in 1997 and 1998. In his sophomore year and final season, he accumulated 116 points in just 26 games. He capped off that season by scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime against Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) to win the WPIHL AAA League Championship in front of a packed house at the BladeRunners Ice Complex in Harmarville. His efforts were recognized in 2006 when the Mustangs raised his number to the rafters of its home rink, the Center Ice Arena in Delmont. He was inducted into the Plum High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Umberger is recognized annually with the R. J. Umberger Award for the PA Hockey Scholastic Showcase, a scholastic tournament played in December each year. The Tournament has a Wall of Champions at Harmarille BladeRunners. During his short prep career, Umberger was named to the All Tournament Team both years.
Umberger began his career with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program after a successful developmental career with the Pittsburgh Hornets. He then started his college career with Ohio State University. He was drafted in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft in the first round, 16th overall, by the Vancouver Canucks. Umberger left Ohio State before his senior year, intending to turn professional with the Canucks. He was unable to reach a deal, however, and sat out the entire 2003–04 season. He was then traded to the New York Rangers on March 9, 2004, along with Martin Grenier, in exchange for Martin Ručinský, but was later signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Flyers on June 16, 2004, just three months later. He was called up to the Flyers roster in the 2005–06 season.
Umberger became the second Western Pennsylvanian-born hockey player to play in the NHL after Ryan Malone. He scored his first career NHL goal on November 22, 2005, for the Flyers against the Lightning. On July 6, 2006, the Flyers announced that they had signed him to a two-year contract.
On June 20, 2008, Umberger was traded from the Flyers with their fourth round pick (Drew Olson) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Blue Jackets' first round pick, via the Colorado Avalanche (Luca Sbisa) drafted 19th overall and a third round pick (Marc-André Bourdon) in the Draft.
On April 16, 2009, Umberger scored the Blue Jackets' first ever playoff goal in a 4–1 loss at the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. He also scored in Games 3 and 4 as Detroit eventually swept the series, four games to none.
On September 21, 2011, Umberger signed a five-year contract extension with the Blue Jackets.
After two largely unproductive and injury hampered seasons in his return to Philadelphia, on June 16, 2016, the Flyers bought out the final year of Umberger's contract.
Upon sitting out the entirety of the 2016–17 season, Umberger attempted to resurrect his NHL career in signing a professional tryout agreement with the Dallas Stars on July 14, 2017. He participated in the Stars training camp and pre-season before he was released from his try-out without a contract on September 27, 2017.
Umberger has represented USA Hockey on multiple occasions. His first international effort came with the U.S. under-18 team at the 2000 IIHF World U18 Championships in Switzerland, where the Americans placed eighth. He played in the same tournament the following year, 2001, where the U.S. improved to fifth-place.
That same year, 2001, Umberger also played with the U.S. junior team in the 2001 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Russia, as well as the 2002 edition in the Czech Republic; the U.S. placed fifth in both tournaments.
Regular season and playoffs
|2000–01||Ohio State Buckeyes||CCHA||32||14||23||37||18||—||—||—||—||—|
|2001–02||Ohio State Buckeyes||CCHA||37||18||21||39||31||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||Ohio State Buckeyes||CCHA||43||26||27||53||16||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||Did not play||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||82||26||20||46||53||4||3||0||3||0|
|2009–10||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||82||23||32||55||40||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||82||25||32||57||38||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||77||20||20||40||27||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||48||8||10||18||16||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013–14||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||74||18||16||34||26||4||0||1||1||2|
Awards and achievements
|All-CCHA Rookie Team||2000–01|
|CCHA Rookie of the Year||2000–01|
|All-CCHA First Team||2002–03|
|AHCA West Second-Team All-American||2002–03|
|Calder Cup Philadelphia Phantoms||2004–05|
- Legends of Hockey - NHL Player Search - Player - R.J. Umberger
- "Flyers star forward recalls memorable moments in Plum Mustangs uniform : YourPennHills.com". Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- "Plum High Sports Hall of Fame". Plum Borough School District. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- "R.J. Umberger player profile". The Sports Network. 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
- Ruby, Tyler. "Philadelphia Flyers Trade Scott Hartnell to Columbus Blue Jackets for R.J. Umberger." June 23, 2014. Sports Media 101. 
- "Flyers have bought out Umberger's contract". Philadelphia Flyers. 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
- Aaron Portzline (2017-07-14). "Umberger signs PTO with Dallas Stars". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
- "Stars reduce training camp by three players". Dallas Stars. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to R. J. Umberger.|
- Biographical information and career statistics from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Hockey-Reference.com, or Legends of Hockey, or The Internet Hockey Database
- Pennsylvania Hockey website (contains link to Western Pa. Hockey Scholastic Showcase)
|Awards and achievements|
| CCHA Rookie of the Year
| Vancouver Canucks first round draft pick