In this year’s NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs will select eighth overall. In the coming weeks, we’ll be looking back at past eighth overall selections to see what type of players might be available when the Leafs make their selection this year. Let’s get it started with the eighth overall selection in the 2001 NHL Draft… Pascal Leclaire.
Leclaire was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was the first goaltender taken in the draft.
As most goaltenders do, it took Leclaire a few seasons to reach the NHL. Debuting in the 2003-04 season, he played only two games. He spent the 2004-05 lockout with the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate in Syracuse, returning to Columbus the next season.
Playing parts of five seasons, Leclaire was deeply affected by the injury bug. He never played more than 54 games with the Jackets. After the 2008-09 season, Columbus finally gave up on Leclaire ever filling his potential. They traded him to the Ottawa Senators along with a second-round pick (which became Robin Lehner) for Antoine Vermette.
Leclaire only played 48 games for the Senators over two seasons, unable to get over his injury issues. After no one signed him during the 2011-12 season, Leclaire announced his retirement from the game of hockey on November 12, 2012.
He retired with 61 wins, 73 losses and 15 overtime/shootout losses. He had a career goals-against average of 2.89 and a save percentage of .904.