Pascal Leclaire retires due to hip injury

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

Former Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators goalie Pascal Leclaire announced his retirement on Tuesday due to a hip injury that resulted in three different surgeries last year and sidelined him for the entire season.

Leclaire was originally a first-round draft pick, No. 8 overall, by the Blue Jackets in 2001.

Injuries were a constant struggle for him throughout his time in the NHL, as they derailed what started as a promising career. His best season came in 2007-08, Ken Hitchcock's first full year as coach of the Blue Jackets, when he finished with a .919 save percentage and nine shutouts. He never came close to matching those numbers in any of his other seasons.

In terms of his on-ice success it was a career path that was actually pretty similar to the one Blue Jackets fans are currently experiencing with Steve Mason, without the constant injuries: one standout season that provided a lot of hope -- but was then quickly followed by several down ones.

The Blue Jackets eventually traded Leclaire and a second-round draft pick to the Ottawa Senators at the 2009 trade deadline for center Antoine Vermette. Ottawa used that second-round pick to select goalie Robin Lehner. Vermette proved to be a solid two-way center for the Blue Jackets for a few seasons before he was sent to Phoenix before last year's deadline for backup goalie Curtis McElhinney and a second-round draft pick.

Leclaire was the first of four goalies taken in the first-round of the 2001 draft, joining Dan Blackburn, Jason Bacashihua, and Adam Munro. All of them are now out of the NHL.

He appeared in 173 NHL games and posted a 61-76-15 record to go with a .904 save percentage.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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