Blue Jackets sign defenseman Frederic St. Denis to a one-year contract
Sunday, 07.07.2013 / 5:10 PM / News
Blue Jackets Press Release
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Frédéric St. Denis a to one-year, two-way (NHL/AHL) contract for the 2013-14 season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. As is club policy, further terms were not disclosed.
St. Denis, 27, has spent the past four seasons with the Montréal Canadiens organization, recording 1-2-3 and a +3 plus/minus rating in 17 games with Montréal and 19-69-88, +27 in 263 games with Hamilton of the American Hockey League.
The 5-11, 192-pound defenseman competed in the AHL All-Star Game in 2011-12 and was named the Bulldogs’ Top Defenseman for 2010-11.
In five seasons with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, St. Denis recorded 44-111-155 and a +21 rating in 285 games from 2002-07. He was named an Ontario University Athletics First-Team All-Star in 2007-08, his lone season of Canadian Interuniversity Sport hockey.
HAMILTON, ON – Let’s face it: It’s been a difficult AHL season for the Hamilton Bulldogs. The team finished the season in last place in the league, and this attributable to a combination of inexperience on the ice and behind the bench, poor play, and bad luck. Sunday, the ‘Dogs at least turned in a strong effort for the fans in their season finale, though they would ultimately fall to the Rochester Americans by a 4-1 score.
The Bulldogs got off to a strong start, generating some opportunities but this without showing any killer instinct to create high percentage scoring chances. It would end up biting them as a harmless looking Luke Adam shot was deflected by Maxime Legault and squeaked through starter Jacob Gervais-Chouinard to put the visitors on the board. The goal seemed to deflate the home side, as the momentum they had been building slipped away for the remainder of the first.
It returned in the second, however, in a period the Bulldogs impressively dominated. The first quality chance belonged to Nathan Beaulieu, the player named the team’s MVP for the 2012-13 season prior to the game. Beaulieu collected a Charles Hudon feed and very nearly split the Rochester defense, but in the end could only muster a weak shot on goal.
Next it was Louis Leblanc – a player certainly not receiving any end-of-year awards after a disappointing season – with a clear shorthanded breakaway. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the puck to settle, and wound up fanning on a shot attempt after putting a move on Matt Hackett.
A powerplay would allow the Bulldogs to draw even. Frederic St. Denis took a Greg Pateryn pass and skated in off the point, beating Hackett cleanly with a quick shot. And the team wouldn’t stop there, with glorious chances to go ahead, coming off the sticks of Beaulieu, Adam Ross, and Sebastian Collberg, all turned away by Hackett’s glove.
The saves seemed to spark the Americans, as a Beaulieu pinch left Rochester captain Matt Ellis completely alone in front of Gervais-Chouinard, who had a strong game in only his second professional start, easily sliding the puck past the fallen netminder and restoring the Amerk lead.
The ‘Dogs didn’t quit, battling hard to try to draw even in their 2012-13 swan song into its final period, but Hackett was repeatedly up to the challenge. An Alex Belzile shot met his glove. A nifty move by Frederic St. Denis saw his wraparound saved, with a Belzile rebound opportunity meeting the same fate. When the netminder wasn’t standing on his head, he was also benefiting from some less-than-opportunistic Bulldogs, as Sebastian Collberg – turning in a standout effort in only his second North American game – narrowly missed two rocket shot chances from the slot.
But try as they may, as has been the story many nights this season, the comeback effort fell short, with the Americans prevailing on the back of Hackett’s 29 stops. Phil Varone put it out of reach in the final minutes, alone in front at the end of a 2-on-1 rush, sliding a backhander between Gervais-Chouinard’s pads. An empty netter by Frederik Roy was all the scoring to be seen at Copps Coliseum until the Fall.
A disappointing result to cap a disappointing season for the Hamilton faithful, but the addition of many Hab prospects for the stretch run gives all some positives to bank on for the near future. One bright spot was the play of Collberg, who is expected to return to Sweden next year where he is under contract with Frolunda, but looks to have a promising career ahead of him. The Swede missed Saturday’s game as the club chose to not force him into a 3-in-3 situation coming off a concussion, but generated scoring chances on both Friday and Sunday night. “It was two weeks ago that my season was over and of course I wanted to play more. Easy decision for me to come here. I was in Montreal for a week with the doctors and practiced all of last week. It was good to have two games instead of none.”
On his concussion, Collberg assures that he is 100% and wouldn’t have played if he wasn’t. The adjustment to North America has looked natural on ice, but he does note some challenges in the different style of play. “The smaller rinks make it go a little quicker and it’s a tougher game out there. I’ve started getting used to it after two games, but everyone is stronger and bigger so I have to be stronger around the net. I’ll work on that back home.”
Collberg’s goal in joining the Bulldogs was simply to continue improving his game, as the Swede isn’t thinking of changing his mind as to where he’ll play next year, excited about a new coach in Frolunda and a mix of younger players.
HAMILTON, ON. — No doubt that the Hamilton Bulldogs are used to playing catch-up hockey. But on Friday night, another slow start was too much to overcome, with the home side finding themselves down 2-0 to the Binghamton Senators before the game was ten minutes old, never able to draw even and ultimately dropping a 3-2 decision at Copps Coliseum.
Robert Mayer‘s starts have been less frequent since the acquisition of Dustin Tokarski, and perhaps signs of rust were showing early on as the typically sound and stable netminder was giving up uncharacteristic rebounds. Both Cole Schneider and Corey Cowick took advantage of second chance opportunities that no Hamilton blueliner could get to first to put the visitors up by two.
Giveaways were a problem throughout the night as Jarred Tinordi notably struggled in his own end, though he’d make up for it before the first was out in helping his side get on the board. After his first point shot was stopped by former Bulldog Nathan Lawson, he got a second chance, this one tipped on its way through by Patrick Holland, who has been one of the team’s more dangerous players offensively over the past few games. Lawson gave up a big rebound on the redirect and Joey Tenute cashed in, scoring his third of the season to climb within one.
While Mayer had settled down in making 11 first period stops despite the goals, another conceded rebound put the comeback plans on hold. Jean-Gabriel Pageau was the beneficiary this time around, uncovered in front, re-establishing a two goal Senator lead.
An unexpected tally made things close once again, coming just at the expiration of an unsuccessful powerplay. Mike Blunden led a rush before offering up a soft drop pass to Louis Leblanc who one-timed a puck top shelf. The tally seemed to turn the tide in Hamilton’s favour as the ‘Dogs controlled most of the remainder of the game, but were unable to sneak a third marker past Lawson, even with pulling Mayer with a full 2:25 still up on the clock.
Despite the loss, Hamilton is 7-3-0 in its past 10 games, though the team remains in a deep hole, 15th in the Western Conference and three points behind their nearest rival. With just 22 games to play in the regular season, making up the 11 points that separated them from 8th-seed Chicago at the start of the night is unlikely. But as the AHL is a development league, the players know there is a lot more to play for.
“We’re trying to win as many games as we can. We’ll see what happens here,” summarized coach Sylvain Lefebvre.
There was a bit of good news on the day for ‘Dogs fans. One being the return of defenseman Frederic St. Denis to the line-up after sitting a few weeks with a lower-body injury. St. Denis conducted post-game interviews with a large bag of ice taped around his left knee, but felt his comeback was successful at least on a personal level. “I feel really good. Maybe the first period I was kinda tired cause the timing wasn’t really there, but I think the second and third period were pretty good. [As a team] we watched the game a little too much in the first period. We have to do much better for tomorrow’s game for sure.”
The other positive was the announcement earlier in the day that the club had extended agreements both with the Montreal Canadiens and the city of Hamilton to remain the Habs’ affiliate at Copps Coliseum for the next three seasons. “It’s exciting. Though I’m not looking past this year,” commented Joey Tenute, one of the team’s two Hamilton locals along with Kyle Hagel. “I’m just doing my part to be a leader and contribute to this team right now. I like the way things are going here and it’s exciting for the fans and city to have a commitment from the Canadiens and Bulldogs going forward. It’s a great place to play.”