VETERAN CENTER, FORMER FALCON CAPTAIN CRAIG RETURNS TO SPRINGFIELD
Springfield, Mass. - The Columbus Blue Jackets/Springfield Falcons announced on Thursday that they have signed center Ryan Craig to a one-year AHL contract for the 2012-2013 season. Craig, a veteran with nearly 200 games of NHL experience and a former Falcon captain, returns to the club after skating for Springfield during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons.
A 10th-year pro, Craig played the majority of the last two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, scoring 30 goals and adding 48 assists for 78 points in 139 games from 2010 to 2012 while serving as the Penguins' captain. Craig recorded 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in 2011-2012 and checked in second on the Penguins in 2010-2011 with 29 assists and 48 points while scoring 19 goals. He skated in six games with NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010-2011, Craig's most recent action at that level.
In 2009-2010, Craig paced the Norfolk Admirals with 23 goals and 45 points, was fourth with 22 assists, and was the club's captain in the latter half of that season.
The 30-year-old Craig played in parts of five seasons from 2005-2009 with the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, including all of the 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 campaigns, and participated in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff contests during that stretch. In 184 games with the Lightning, Craig collected 32 goals and 31 assists for 63 points.
Craig is tied for 13th on the Falcons' all-time goal-scoring list, lighting the lamp 39 times in 108 games from 2004 to 2006 while posting 24 assists and a total of 63 points during that stretch. In 2005-2006, Craig was Springfield's captain while also earning his first-career NHL promotion. He led Springfield with 27 goals and 41 points in 2004-2005, also garnering 14 assists.
A native of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Craig played the majority of his rookie season of 2003-2004 with the Hershey Bears, scoring four goals and adding eight assists for 12 points in 61 games. He made his professional debut that season with the ECHL's Pensacola Ice Pilots, notching eight points (3g-5a) in five games.
Craig was selected by Tampa Bay in the 8th round (255th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
In 190 career NHL games, Craig has 63 points (32g-31a). He has 201 points (97g-104a) in 383 AHL contests.
Prior to turning pro, Craig skated his entire major junior career with the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings from 1998 to 2003, serving as the club's captain in 2002-2003. He notched 268 points (137g-131a) in 302 games with Brandon.
Craig has received accolades for his character on multiple occasions during his career. He was named Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's IOA/American Speciality Man of the Year in 2010-2011 and was honored as the WHL and CHL's Humanitarian of the Year for the 2002-2003 campaign.
Ticket packages to see the Falcons in the 2012-2013 season start as low as $112 and can be purchased by calling (413) 739-GOAL (4625). Springfield will kick off its home schedule on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the MassMutual Center. All Friday, Saturday, and weekday home contests will begin at 7:00 p.m. this season, while Sunday games will start at 3:00 p.m.
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