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Goalie Pascal Leclaire retires, leaving his potential unfulfilled

Greg Wyshynski
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In 2007-08, Pascal Leclaire appeared in 54 games and had a 2.25 GAA with nine shutouts in his fourth season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Thank you, Ken Hitchcock.) That season helped earn him a 3-year, $11.4 million extension from GM Scott Howson that summer, who said "he is an important part of our team and we think he will continue to improve and play a significant role in helping us reach our goals."

[Related: Ottawa Senators' post-lockout fan bribery survey]

The following season, Leclaire lost his starting goalie job to rookie Steve Mason, significantly injured his ankle and was traded to the Ottawa Senators' goaltending graveyard for Antoine Vermette. Often injured, Leclaire would appear in 48 more NHL regular-season games from 2009-11; for comparison's sake, Rick DiPietro appeared in 33 during the same span.

It may surprise you to hear that Leclaire hadn't retired, but apparently he was still an active player until Monday, when he told RDS that he had decided to retire from pro hockey at age 30 due to a reoccurring hip injury.

"I tried to go back this summer and I was operated on three times in my right hip in the hope of returning, but I still have trouble today," he told RDS (via translation).

Leclaire's final NHL game was on Dec. 16, 2010, stopping 23 of 24 shots and winning against the Minnesota Wild.

He was drafted No. 8 overall in the 2001 Entry Draft, which wasn't exactly a stellar draw for goalies. (Where have you gone, Dan Blackburn?) His injuries have been various and at times horrific — concussions and broken jaws, for example.

He leaves behind a legacy of unfulfilled potential and, as you can see, headshots with nearly impossible hair.

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