Goalie Pascal Leclaire Announces Retirement

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.

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