Desjardins, Palushaj, St. Denis back in the dog pound

Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, forward Aaron Palushaj and defenceman Frederic St-Denis have signed with the American Hockey League Hamilton Bulldogs.

Last season, Desjardins played 32 games with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, posting a 16-11-5 record and three shutouts. During the 2011-12 season, his sixth as a professional, Desjardins led the league with a .932 save percentage, finished third in the league with a 2.11 goals against average and was selected to represent his team at the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Desjardins, a native of Edmundston, New Brunswick, started his professional career with the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens organization in 2006-07.

In four seasons with the Bulldogs, the 6’0”, 192-pound goaltender played 92 regular season games, accumulating a record of 49-27-5, a 2.34 goals against average, a .909 save percentage and 10 shutouts. Desjardins also played in 10 Calder Cup playoff games for the ‘Dogs, recording a 6-4-0 record, a 2.62 goals against average, a .902 save percentage and one shutout.

In 148 career regular season AHL games, Desjardins, 26, has a record of 80-43-12, a 2.33 goals against average, a .919 save percentage, 14 shutouts and was also named an AHL Second-Team All-Star in 2010. In two career NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2010-11 season, Desjardins went 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals against average and a .968 save percentage. Desjardins also led the Cincinnati Cyclones to the East Coast Hockey League championship and captured the Kelly Cup playoffs most valuable player award in 2008.

Palushaj, 23, finished third on the Bulldogs in points in 2011-12 with 35 (15 goals, 20 assists), while collecting seven powerplay markers, six game-winning goals, 115 shots on net and 35 penalty minutes. The 5’11”, 187-pound forward also played 38 games for the Canadiens last season, recording five points (one goal, four assists), 37 shots on goal and eight penalty minutes.

Palushaj recorded his first-career NHL point on Feb. 5,against the Winnipeg Jets and scored his first-career NHL goal on March 17 against the New York Islanders.

Palushaj ranks 20th in all-time points with the Hamilton Bulldogs with 102 (40 goals, 62 assists) in 121 games over three seasons. In 169 career regular season AHL games with the Peoria Rivermen and Hamilton Bulldogs, the native of Livonia, Michigan has registered 126 points (47 goals, 79 assists). Palushaj played 82 games for the University of Michigan of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association from 2007-09 notching 94 points (23 goals, 71 assists).

He was acquired from St. Louis in exchange for forward Matt D’Agostini on March 3, 2010, after being originally selected by the Blues in the second round, 44th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

In 2011-12, St-Denis, 26, played 58 games with Hamilton, recording 28 points (three goals, 25 assists), 114 shots on goal and 18 penalty minutes. St-Denis was selected to represent the Bulldogs at last season’s league all-star game. After making his NHL debut with Montreal on Nov. 16, 2011 against the Carolina Hurricanes, the 5’11”, 182-pound defenceman played in 17 games with the Canadiens, notching three points (one goal, two assists), 11 shots on goal, 10 penalty minutes and a plus-three rating.

In 200 career AHL games, all with Hamilton, St-Denis has produced 70 points (12 goals, 58 assists), 96 penalty minutes and a +29 rating. The native of Greenfield Park, Quebec is fifth all-time on the Bulldogs in assists by a defenceman with 58, sixth all-time by a defenceman in points with 70 and eighth all-time by a defenceman in games played with 200.

St-Denis was originally signed by the Canadiens as a free agent on July 1, 2010.