Bulldogs lose two key players as parent Habs send out callup

The National Hockey League Montreal Canadiens have recalled two players from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs – goaltender Jaroslav Halak and forward Mikhail Grabovski.

Halak’s callup became evident when the Canadiens traded netminder Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals for a second round draft pick in 2009.

The two recalls are currently having exceptional AHL runs, and their departures don’t come as a surprise but could have a negative impact on the Bulldogs’ playoff chances.

Halak, 22, is currently tied for the AHL lead in goals against average (2.10) and save percentage (.929), with a 15-10-2 record in 28 games with Hamilton this season. The native of Bratislava, Slovakia, took home the league’s player of the week award for the period ending Jan. 6.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound netminder is also 10-6-0 in 18-career NHL outings with Montreal, including two appearances this season, and was an AHL All-Star and a member of the league’s All-Rookie Team in 2007. Halak was selected by the Canadiens in the ninth round, 271st overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

This season, the 32-year-old Huet played in 39 games with the Canadiens, posting 21 wins, 12 losses and six overtime losses, a 2.55 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. The St-Martin d’Heres native was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on June 26, 2004 with Radek Bonk, in return for Mathieu Garon and the Kings’ third round pick in 2004.

Huet has 170 NHL-career games, posting a 72-59-11-13 record, a 2.49 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. In 117 outings with the Canadiens, Huet has a 58-39-13 record with a 2.53 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.

With Halak gone, the Bulldogs summonsed Cedrick Desjardins from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the East Coast Hockey League.

Desjardins, 22, currently leads the ECHL in goals against average (1.92) and shutouts (five) and is tied for the overall lead in save percentage (.934). The 6-foot, 183-pound goaltender has won seven-straight games and has a record of 16-5-1 in 22 contests with the Cyclones this season.

The native of Edmunston, N.B., was recalled by Hamilton on Dec. 3 and appeared in two games, posting a 0-1-0 record with a 5.96 goals-against average and a .841 save percentage before returning to Cincinnati on Dec. 17. He signed as a free agent with the Bulldogs on July 26, 2006.

Desjardins will join the team in Hamilton tomorrow morning.

Grabovski, 24, has appeared in 12 games with Hamilton this season, posting eight goals, 12 assists (20 points), a plus-two rating and six penalty minutes. The native of Potsdam, Germany, who missed 25 games due to an ankle injury, was the AHL player of the week for the period ending Feb. 17 and was named first star in five consecutive games from Feb. 15 – 20.

Prior to that, the 5-foot-11, 183-pound centreman picked up a goal and an assist with four penalty minutes in 12 games with Montreal this season. Grabovski recorded his first-career NHL point, an assist, on Oct. 20 against the Buffalo Sabres, and scored his first-career NHL goal two nights later against the Boston Bruins. Grabovski was selected by Montreal in the fifth round, 150th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.