Once regarded as a future superstar goalie, Pascal Leclaire has announced his retirement from hockey.

Leclaire was the first goaltender selected in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, chosen eighth overall by the Blue Jackets. He subsequently bounced back and forth between Columbus and their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, from 2002 to 2005 before finally sticking with the Blue Jackets for good in 2006, serving as a backup to Marc Denis.

On June 30, 2006, Denis was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Leclaire was promoted to starting goalie. However, during the season, Leclaire suffered from a leg injury and backup goaltender Fredrik Norrena took over and eventually played 55 games out of 82. In 2007–08, Leclaire had an outstanding season and regained the number one job. He set new team records with nine shutouts (second in the league only to Henrik Lundqvist), ranked second in the NHL in goals against average, and third in save percentage. Leclaire finished second in fan voting among Western Conference goaltenders for the 56th NHL All-Star Game, but was not named to the final team.

However, injuries started to take over his career. After an ankle injury prompted rookie Steve Mason into the starting netminder role in Columbus, Leclaire was traded to the Senators in hopes of rejuvenating his career. However, when he first played for the Senators during the 2009-2010 season, he was plagued with inconsistency and would be beat out by Brian Elliott for the starting job. The inconsistency and injuries worsened considerably in 2010-11 with Leclaire playing 14 NHL games and the Senators finishing the year with a top-2 tandem of goaltenders other than those who started the season with the team. During the season he underwent hip surgery, and his career would come to a halt, never playing a professional hockey game afterwards.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

 

Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

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