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Former Gladiator Anderson reaches NHL

Former Gwinnett Gladiators forward Matt Anderson became the 492nd player to play in the National Hockey League after the ECHL when he made his debut with the New Jersey Devils in a 2-1 shootout loss against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old recorded one blocked shot in 6:57 of ice time for the Devils, whose lineup also included former ECHL players Krys Barch and Johan Hedberg. Former ECHL coach Matt Shaw is an assistant coach with the Devils.

Anderson tallied 28 points (14g-14a) in 37 regular-season games with the Gladiators in 2007-08 and added five points (3g-2a) in eight Kelly Cup Playoff games. He has registered 184 points (70g-114a) in 314 career American Hockey League games with Chicago and Albany and has notched 16 points (2g-14a) in 37 postseason contests in the AHL.

The ECHL had a record 87 players on NHL opening-day rosters, surpassing the 81 from a year ago and marking the 10th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.