Falcons, Blue Jackets make offseason moves

May 30, 2013
SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Falcons, AHL affiliate of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, announced on May 29 that they signed right wing Alex Aleardi to a one-year contract for the 2013-14 season.

Aleardi played three games with the Falcons near the end of the 2012-13 season under an amateur try-out agreement following the completion of his junior-hockey career.

The 20-year-old scored the game-winning goal in his professional debut with Springfield on March 28, helping the Falcons complete a 5-4 comeback victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers that evening. Aleardi notched two points (one goal, one assist) in his three contests with the Falcons.

A native of Farmington Hills, Mich., Aleardi skated the last five seasons in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers, Belleville Bulls, Plymouth Whalers, and the Windsor Spitfires. In 321-career OHL contests , Aleardi scored 104 goals and added 123 assists for 227 points while accumulating a +22 rating. Aleardi, combined for a career-high 71 points (27g-44a) in 2012-13 with Plymouth and Windsor. He notched a personal-best 36 goals with the Whalers in 2011-12.

The Columbus Blue Jackets also made offseason signings.

Blue Jackets signed the Falcons' standout goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a one-year contract for the 2013-14 National Hockey League season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced on May 24. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.

In 2012-13, he was one of the top goaltenders in the American Hockey League as he went 29-6-3 with a 2.29 goals against average (GAA) and .923 save percentage with nine shutouts in 49 games with the Falcons.

He led the AHL in shutouts while ranking third in wins, fifth in saves (1,462) and minutes played (2,926), sixth-tied in save percentage and 10th in GAA. "Curtis is a solid pro who was one of the best goaltenders in the American Hockey League this past season" said Kekalainen. "He is a veteran goaltender with NHL experience and we believe he's earned the opportunity to be a part of our team in 2013-14."

The Blue Jackets also signed goaltender Anton Forsberg to a three-year entry-level contract, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced on May 28. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.

Columbus' sixth pick, 188th overall, at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Forsberg appeared in 33 games with Sodertalje of Sweden's Hockey Allsvenskan in 2012-13, earning 24 victories while finishing second in the league with a 2.04 GAA and .933 save percentage. The 6-foot-2, 176-pound netminder made 14 appearances with MODO of the Swedish Elite League in 2011-12, recording a 3.15 GAA in addition to a .897 save percentage.

A native of Harnosand, Sweden, Forsberg represented his country at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships in Alberta, Canada, helping Sweden earn the second gold medal in national history at the event. He recorded a 0.99 GAA and a .933 save percentage in two tournament appearances. Forsberg appeared in 54 games with MODO's junior club from 2009-11, posting a 3.21 GAA and .895 save percentage while recording four shutouts.

Columbus also added defenseman Ilari Melart with a one-year entry level contract on May 24

Melart, 24, has spent the past several years playing professionally in Europe. The 6-foot-3, 227-pound blueliner has registered 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points with 415 penalty minutes and a cumulative plus/minus rating of plus-12 in 146 career games in the Finnish Elite League with HIFK. In 2012-13, he collected 7-11-18, 80 penalty minutes and was plus-2 in 50 games and racked up 29 penalty minutes in seven playoff outings.

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