Sept. 1, 2005
Notre Dame, Ind. - With the National Hockey League set to return to action later this month, three former Notre Dame hockey players have inked contracts for the coming season. Two of the players, Ben Simon (Atlanta Thrashers) and Mark Eaton (Nashville Predators), were with NHL teams prior to the lockout last season. Yan Stastny has played the last two years in Germany.
Stastny, who played two seasons with the Irish (2001-03) inked a two-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers who had acquired his rights in a trade with Boston for a fourth-round draft choice, An eighth-round pick of the Bruins in 2002, Stastny has played the last two seasons for the Nurnberg Ice Tigers in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). The 22-year old Stastny was fourth in the DEL in scoring last seasons with 24 goals and 30 assists for 54 points in 51 games. In his two seasons at Notre Dame, he recorded 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in 72 games. He is the son of NHL Hall of Famer Peter Statsny and the brother of current Irish tennis player Kristina Stastny.
Simon signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets in mid August after playing last season for the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves. With the Wolves, Simon had 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points in 53 games as the Wolves advanced to the AHL's Calder Cup championship series versus Philadelphia. The 27-year old forward has played parts of three seasons with the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers (2001-2004). A 2000 Notre Dame graduate, Simon played in 144 games with the Irish, scoring 44 goals with 86 assists for 130 career points. He was a fifth-round pick of the Chicago Black Hawks in 1997.
Eaton resigned with the Nashville Predators where he had played since 2000-01. The 28-year old defenseman played 29 games last season with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins where he collected three goals and three assists for six points. A regular on the Nashville blue line in each of his last two seasons, Eaton has played in 217 games with the Predators over four seasons with 12 goals and 29 assists for 41 points. The 6-2, 205-pound defenseman played one season at Notre Dame (1997-98) and was the CCHA rookie of the year and a second team all-CCHA selection when he scored 12 goals with 19 assists for 31 points. He signed following that season with the Philadelphia Flyers who traded him to Nashville for a third-round draft choice.
Notre Dame currently has seven players signed to National Hockey League contracts. Stastny, Simon and Eaton are joined by Brett Lebda (Detroit Red Wings), Neil Komadoski (Ottawa Senators), Rob Globke (Florida Panthers) and Morgan Cey (Tampa Bay Lightning).