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The Hamilton Bulldogs roster just got even weaker on Tuesday as Aaron Palushaj, who was on waivers to re-join the team after recovering from a shoulder injury, was claimed by the Colorado Avalanche. The right winger spent 38 games with the Habs last season but his struggles this year and the emergence of Brendan Gallagher meant there was no spot for him on Montreal's roster.
Palushaj was acquired by the Habs at the 2010 Trade Deadline from St. Louis in exchange for Matt D'Agostini. Since then, he has spent the majority of his time with Hamilton where he played at a point-per-game pace just last season. Like most of the Bulldogs this year though, he struggled considerably, picking up just ten points in 21 games with an ugly -9 rating. With the Habs, he played a total of 41 games, collecting a goal and four assists.
The Avalanche have been ravaged by injuries up front early on this season with Gabriel Landeskog, Steve Downie, and David Jones all presently injured while last years' leading scorer Ryan O'Reilly remains unsigned. As a result, there's a good chance that Palushaj will slot into the lineup right away in a top-9 role, a spot he rarely got to play in with the Canadiens.
Palushaj was able to get around the waiver process at the beginning of the season by signing a special AHL lockout contract but as soon as the lockout ended, he was re-added to Montreal's roster (as were Cedrick Desjardins and Frederic St. Denis who both cleared waivers during training camp). Because of his shoulder injury, he had been counting on the cap at a reduced rate relative to the amount of time spent on the NHL roster last season. As a result, the Habs will save roughly $265,000 (before pro-rating) in cap space. This also brings the number of committed contracts on the 50-man limit down to 45.
Palushaj's career stats: