Friday, November 06, 2009

Spirit alum Pyatt makes NHL debut

Saginaw Spirit
graduate Tom Pyatt made his NHL debut Thursday night for the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the first Spirit player that was drafted by the Spirit to play at the NHL level.

He logged 11:27 of ice time in the effort, which saw the Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins, 2-1, in a shootout.

“Here today, NHL tomorrow! The entire Saginaw Spirit organization is proud of Tom,” stated Spirit president and partner Craig Goslin. “Our team’s mission of developing top-tier players for the National Hockey League is exemplified by him being on the ice Thursday night for the Canadiens."

Pyatt was drafted by the New York Rangers 107th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He played parts of two seasons with the the Hartford Wolf Pack, their AHL affiliate, before seeing his rights traded to Montreal over the summer. He opened the 2009-2010 season with the Canadiens' AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, before being called up this past Wednesday by the Canadiens.

Pyatt arrived in Saginaw after being drafted 21st overall in the 2003 OHL Priority Selection. He played for the Spirit from 2003-2007, posting 94 goals and 106 assists in 240 regular-season games. Pyatt is ranked third on both the Spirit’s all-time career points list and the all-time career goals list. He also represented Saginaw in the 2007 OHL All-Star Classic and in several international tournaments for Team Canada.

Pyatt is the first Spirit player drafted by Saginaw since the team’s inception in 2002 to play in the NHL, but several other Spirit alums have played at the top level, including Geoff Platt (Anaheim Ducks), Paul Bissonnette (Phoenix Coyotes) and Cody Bass (Ottawa Senators). Platt and Bissonnette followed the franchise from North Bay when it moved to Saginaw in 2002. Platt played two seasons (2002-2004) and Bissonnette three seasons (2002-2005) with the Spirit. Bass spent the 2006-2007 season with the Spirit after being acquired via a trade with the Mississauga IceDogs.

Over 60 percent of all active NHL players came out of the Canadian Hockey League, with 29 NHL draftees and two NHL-signed free agents having played for the Spirit since 2002.

Saginaw’s T.J. Brodie (Calgary Flames) and Nick Crawford (Buffalo Sabres) were drafted in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, while Jordan Szwarz (Phoenix Coyotes), Edward Pasquale (Atlanta Thrashers) and Cody Sol (Atlanta Thrashers) were chosen in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. An additional four active Spirit players were invited to attend NHL training camps as free agents over the summer.

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