Jamie Fritsch only played one game in the NHL. Unfortunately for Philadelphia Flyers’ fans, his big break could have waited a little bit longer.
Similar to this season, the Flyers played the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 playoffs, as the Pens held the fourth seed in the East and Philly finished fifth. During the 2008-2009 season, however, Philly had a hold on the fourth seed in the East going down the stretch while the Pens had to hope for a shot at home-ice advantage. Going into their final game of the season, all the Flyers needed to do was register a point in a home contest against the New York Rangers.
With Ryan Parent hurt and the Flyers in a pinch with the salary cap, Paul Holmgren signed Fritsch to an amateur tryout under emergency conditions. The tryout gave Fritsch 24 hours to play for Philly, which just so happened to be the Flyers’ tilt against the Rangers. According to Hockey-Reference.com, Fritsch, a native of Odenton, Maryland, was the second hockey player from Maryland to ever play in the NHL and the first to play for the Flyers.
As it turned out, Fritsch’s numbers weren’t that bad. In 4:34 TOI, the defenseman had one hit and a plus-1 rating. However, with the game tied 3-3 halfway through the third period he was beat by Blair Betts for the future Flyer’s game-winning goal to knock Philly down to fifth in the standings (go to 2:48). Obviously it wasn’t entirely Fritsch’s fault, but everybody remembers how the 2009 postseason turned out for both the Flyers and the Pens.
Thanks to NHL Video
Since his time with the Flyers, Fritsch has played for five different teams across both the AHL and the ECHL. For the 2009-2010 season, Fritsch played 48 games for the Gwinnett Gladiators, who were the Columbus Blue Jackets’ affiliate at the time.
On the Gladiators’ 2009-2010 squad were Flyers’ 2004 fifth-round draft pick Chris Zarb and current Trenton Titan Drew Akins. For a team that finished 11th in the 12-team American Conference, Fritsch posted one goal and four assists along with 41 PIMs and a minus-8 rating.
The d-man also played in a pair of games for the Norfolk Admirals during the 2009-2010 regular season, who were the Tampa Bay Lightning’s affiliate at the time. He appeared in a pair of games on back-to-back nights in early February against the Hartford Wolf Pack, who are currently the Connecticut Whale. Fritsch went pointless with a minus-1 rating.
The following season, Fritsch played for both the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL and the Houston Aeros, the Minnesota Wild’s affiliate.
With the Wranglers, Fritsch played with Ned Lukacevic and posted a career-high point total for a single season with 10, as he registered three goals along with seven helpers. With the Aeros, he recorded four PIMs in 13 contests.
In the 2011 Kelly Cup Playoffs, Fritsch appeared in a pair of tilts for the Wranglers during their 3-2 loss to the Idaho Steelheads in their best-of-five Conference Quarterfinals’ meeting. He recorded an assists, a plus-2 rating, and two PIMs.
For the 2011-2012 season, Fritsch played for both the Wranglers and the Aeros again.
Playing in 12 less games for Las Vegas than he did the previous year, Fritsch almost produced the same number of points, as he had a goal and eight assists with 62 PIMs and a plus-17 rating in 42 games.
In the 2012 Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Wranglers reached the Finals before falling to the Florida Everblades in five games. After they swept the Utah Grizzlies in their opening best-of-five clash and beat the Steelheads in a five-game Conference Semifinals’ meeting, the Wranglers beat the Alaska Aces in the Conference Finals. Of the 18 games Las Vegas played during the 2012 playoffs, Fritsch played in eight of them and produced three assists, six PIMs, and a plus-5 rating.
The 2012 Kelly Cup Playoffs weren’t the only postseason Fritsch participated in that season, as he helped the Aeros in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. After he recorded four PIMs and a plus-3 rating in 16 regular season games for Houston, he participated in three of the team’s four postseason games before they were knocked out by the Oklahoma City Barons.
Fritsch also played a game for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers during the 2011-2012 regular season. His lone game for the New York Islanders’ affiliate came in the squad’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Whale on November 18th. Fritsch posted a minus-1 rating.
The defender is expected to dress in a Wranglers’ uniform for a third straight season during the 2012-2013 campaign.