During the 2011 off-season, stay tuned to norfolkadmirals.com and facebook.com/norfolkadmirals for regular installments of "By the Numbers." In these articles and photo galleries, the Admirals will take a look at jersey numbers in AHL Admirals history, listing each player to have worn a specific number while highlighting one particular player.
Whether it was the number embroidered on "Mr. Hockey" Gordie Howe's jersey during his time spent in Detroit or if it was on the back of a Cleveland Barons jersey worn by Fred Glover, who retired as the AHL's all-time leading point scorer and was inducted in the AHL Hall of Fame in 2006, the #9 has always been a historical number in hockey.
Seven different AHL Admirals have had #9 sewn directly beneath their nameplate since 2000. Described below are three of those players who have spent time here in Norfolk.
Matt Ellison Originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks during the fourth round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft (128th overall), Matt Ellison joined the Norfolk Admirals for the 2003-04 AHL season as a pro rookie. He played two seasons with Norfolk, posting 28 goals and 86 points in 142 games. Ellison was Norfolk's leading rookie scorer in 2003-04 and led the team in assists in 2004-05. He ranks 16th in points and tied for 12th in assists in AHL Admirals history.
On December 5, 2005, Ellison was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-player trade. Ellison would split his time in Philadelphia playing for the Flyers and their AHL farm team across the street – the Philadelphia Phantoms. On June 4, 2007, Ellison was traded to the Nashville Predators. He turned in his best statistical season with the Milwaukee Admirals in 2007-08, posting 26 goals and 58 points in 75 games
In 327 career AHL games between Norfolk, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, Ellison notched 78 goals and 130 assists for a total of 208 points. In 43 career NHL games between Chicago and Philadelphia, Ellison compiled three goals, 11 assists for 14 points.
After spending the 2007-08 season in the Nashville Predators organization, Ellison departed North America for Europe, where he has spent the last three seasons playing in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia.
Martin St. Pierre It's hard to believe that Martin St. Pierre began his Admirals career on an AHL contract. St. Pierre signed an American Hockey League Standard Player's Contract on September 22, 2005. It took roughly a month for the Admirals' former parent club, the Chicago Blackhawks, to recognize St. Pierre's potential and sign him to an NHL contract on November 3, 2005. In his first season as an Admiral, which was his second in the American Hockey League, St. Pierre averaged almost a point a night. In 77 games that season, he notched 23 goals and set franchise records with 50 assists and 73 points. He also appeared in two games for the Blackhawks.
The following season would end up being St. Pierre's final season in Norfolk and he made sure to leave his mark in Norfolk. In 65 games during the 2006-07 season, St. Pierre lit the lamp 27 times and assisted on 72 other tallies for a total of 99 points. Some five years later, St. Pierre's 72 assists and 99 points remain Admirals franchise records for assists and points in a single season. St. Pierre recorded 172 points (50G, 122A) in only 142 games as an Admiral. He ranks fourth in points and second in assists in AHL Admirals history. His 1.21 points-per-game average ranks second among players who have appeared in at least 50 games in their AHL Admirals career.
On June 6, 2010, after playing in 38 career NHL games with the Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and Ottawa Senators, St. Pierre departed the NHL for Europe. St. Pierre played in Russia, Finland and Austria last season, winning the Austrian league championship with EC Salzburg.
Blair Jones Blair Jones took the 2010-11 season and made it his own. Not only did Jones become the all-time leading point scorer in AHL Admirals history during 2010-11, but he also established career highs in goals, points, and penalty minutes. Jones also made his pro playoff debut with the Admirals on April 15 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
In 56 games with the Admirals, Jones registered 24 goals and 31 assists for 55 points while compiling 75 penalty minutes. In 274 career games with Norfolk, Jones has 67 goals and 114 assists for 181 points.
In 18 games with the Lightning during the 2010-11 season, Jones sported the number 49. He matched career highs by notching a single goal and assisting on two others. On April 21, Jones was recalled to the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he would remain until the end of the playoffs. Jones took part in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games, compiling two penalty minutes.
Jones is one of four Admirals to have spent each season in Norfolk since the Lightning and the Admirals joined affiliations prior to the 2007-08 season (Mihalik, Szczechura, Quick). He ranks first in points, third in assists, fourth in goals, fifth in games played, tied for second in game-winning goals (12) and first in shots (804) in AHL Admirals history.
On June 24, 2011, the Lightning announced that they had re-signed Jones to a one-year, two-way contract. Players wearing #9 in AHL Admirals history: Syl Apps (2001-02)
Mark Bell (2000-01)
Bill Bowler (2001-02)
Matt Ellison (2003-05)
Lance Galbraith (2001-02)
Blair Jones (2007-11)
Martin St. Pierre (2005-07)