Former Alaska Aces winger Anthony Peluso cracked the world's greatest league Tuesday night, and helped the ECHL crack the 500 mark in the number of players who skated on that circuit before debuting in the NHL.
Peluso played six shifts (2:49 of ice time) for the Winnipeg Jets in a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. He took two penalties, a holding call and charging call, both against Zac Rinaldo.
In any event, former Ontario Reign and Orlando Solar Kings goaltender Darcy Kuemper also debuted Tuesday, stopping 28 shots for the Minnesota Wild in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. He and Peluso made it 501 guys who have played in the ECHL, then gone on to debut in the NHL.
Peluso played 27 games for the Aces as a rookie in 2005-06, earning 4-7--11 totals, a +1 rating and 48 penalty minutes.
He is -- according to Aces spokesman Josh Bogorad and The Blog -- the eighth Alaska Ace who went on to debut in the NHL. That group: goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu, defenseman Zack FitzGerald, forward Tomas Kana, forward D.J. King, winger Charles Linglet, winger Chris Minard, Peluso and winger Ryan Reaves.
Also in the NHL after being with the Aces are Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Davis Payne, the former Aces bench boss; New York Islanders assistant coach Brent Thompson, another former Aces bench boss; and Edmonton Oilers radio broadcaster Jack Michaels, the former voice of the Aces. And, yes, of course -- the four Alaskans who started the season with the Aces during the NHL lockout -- Scott Gomez, Brandon Dubinsky, Joey Crabb and Nate Thompson -- are all back in the NHL these days
Every now and then, even these days, The Blog reads a comment, or gets one directed at him, or hears a fan (usually a college fan who has either barely seen an ECHL game, or not seen one at all) talk about the ECHL being a nothing league. It is a developmental league, and it is two big steps below the NHL, but it does serve as a springboard to the world's best league. Granted, most ECHL guys who go on to the NHL do so on a fairly limited basis, but many go on to great success in the NHL (i.e. reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings).