Bulldogs sign three to AHL deals

The Hamilton Bulldogs announced today the signings of goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, forward Aaron Palushaj and defenseman Frederic St-Denis to American Hockey League contracts.

Last season, Desjardins played 32 games with the 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 AHL 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 American Hockey League All-Star Classic in Atlantic City, N.J. (although he missed the event due to injury).

A native of Edmundston, N.B., Desjardins was part of the Canadiens organization between 2006 and 2010. The 2010 Second Team AHL All-Star has appeared in 148 career AHL games, going 80-44-11 with 14 shutouts. Desjardins has also made two career NHL appearances, winning both with Tampa Bay in 2010-11.

Palushaj, 23, finished third on the Bulldogs in points in 2011-12 with 35 (15 goals, 20 assists), while collecting seven power-play goals, six game-winning goals, 115 shots on goal and 35 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound forward also played 38 NHL games for the Canadiens last season, recording five points (one goal, four assists) and eight penalty minutes. Palushaj recorded his first career NHL point on Feb. 5, 2012, vs. Winnipeg, and scored his first career NHL goal on Mar. 17 vs. the New York Islanders.

In 169 career regular-season AHL games with the Peoria Rivermen and Hamilton Bulldogs, the native of Livonia, Mich., has registered 126 points (47 goals, 79 assists). Palushaj was acquired from St. Louis in exchange for forward Matt D’Agostini on March 3rd, 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 the 2012 American Hockey League All-Star Classic in Atlantic City.

After making his NHL debut with Montreal on Nov. 16, 2011, vs. the Carolina Hurricanes, the 5-foot-11, 182-pound defenseman played in 17 games with the Canadiens, notching three points (one goal, two assists) and a plus-3 rating.

In 200 career AHL games, all with Hamilton, St-Denis has produced 70 points (12 goals, 58 assists), 96 penalty minutes and a plus-29 rating. The native of Greenfield Park, Que., was originally signed by the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent on July 1, 2010.