Johnson, Connolly, Barberio Honored by AHL
The American Hockey League announced today the 2012-13 AHL First and Second All-Star Teams, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.
2012-13 AHL First All-Star Team
G - Niklas Svedberg, Providence Bruins (45gp, 34-8-2, 2.18gaa, .924sv%, 4so)
D - Justin Schultz, Oklahoma City Barons (34gp, 18+30=48pts., +8, 7 PPG, 3 GWG)
D - Sami Vatanen, Norfolk Admirals (59gp, 8+36=44pts., +1, 4 PPG, 2 GWG)
LW - Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Springfield Falcons (68gp, 20+43=63pts., +19, 9 PPG)
C - Tyler Johnson, Syracuse Crunch (59gp, 32+25=58pts., +25, 11 PPG)
RW - Gustav Nyquist, Grand Rapids Griffins (58gp, 23+37=60pts., +10, 9 PPG)
2012-13 AHL Second All-Star Team
G - Curtis McElhinney, Springfield Falcons (46gp, 28-14-3, 2.25gaa, .924sv%, 9so)
D - Mark Barberio, Syracuse Crunch (70gp, 8+32=40pts., +7, 23 PP pts.)
D - Adam Clendening, Rockford IceHogs (69gp, 7+36=43pts., +14, 22 PP pts.)
LW - Matt Fraser, Texas Stars (62gp, 33+13=46pts., +13, 17 PPG)
C - Jeff Taffe, Hershey Bears (67gp, 18+46=64pts., 23 PP pts.)
RW - Brett Connolly, Syracuse Crunch (67gp, 27+30=57pts., +15, 8 PPG, 7 GWG)
Each All-Star Team member will receive a custom-designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the 2012-13 AHL First and Second All-Star Teams.
2012-13 AHL First All-Star Team
Niklas Svedberg, Goaltender (Providence Bruins): In his first season of pro hockey in North America, Niklas Svedberg has backstopped the Providence Bruins to an Atlantic Division championship with six games still remaining in the regular season. He has earned the third-most victories ever by an AHL rookie goaltender (34-8-0) and he ranks sixth in the league in goals-against average (2.18) and fifth in save percentage (.924) in 45 appearances. Svedberg, 23, was the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for March, and is the first rookie netminder named to the AHL’s First All-Star Team since Jim Carey in 1994-95.
Justin Schultz, Defense (Oklahoma City Barons): Over the first half of his rookie season out of the University of Wisconsin, Justin Schultz established a record-setting pace by tallying 18 goals and 48 points for Oklahoma City in just 34 AHL games, earning honors as the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for October and Rookie of the Month for November. More than three months after he played his last game for the Barons on Jan. 5, the 22-year-old Schultz still leads all AHL defensemen in goals and points and is tied for third among all AHL rookies in scoring. The former second-round draft pick (2008) was recalled by Edmonton in January and has tallied 20 points in 40 games for the Oilers this season.
Sami Vatanen, Defense (Norfolk Admirals): A two-time defenseman of the year and a 2012 league champion in his native Finland, Sami Vatanen is tied for the AHL lead among defensemen with 36 assists and ranks second among all AHL blueliners with 44 points while skating in 59 games for Norfolk this season. Drafted by Anaheim in 2009, the 21-year-old Vatanen made his NHL debut with the Ducks on Feb. 1, and later had a seven-game scoring streak for the Admirals from Feb. 23 to Mar. 9.
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Left Wing (Springfield Falcons): The third-leading scorer among AHL rookies last season, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault signed with Columbus in the offseason and has matched his success in 2012-13, notching 63 points in 68 games and helping Springfield to its first playoff berth in a decade. The 22-year-old Quebec City native was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Month of January after posting 17 points in 12 games, appearing in his second consecutive AHL All-Star Classic and making his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets.
Tyler Johnson, Center (Syracuse Crunch): After finishing second among AHL rookies in scoring in 2011-12, Tyler Johnson has recorded 58 points in 59 games this season, ranking second overall in the AHL in goals (32) and third in plus/minus rating (+25). A 22-year-old native of Spokane, Wash., Johnson has registered 17 multiple-point games this year, including his first career hat trick in a win at Albany on Feb. 18. Johnson has notched three goals and three assists in 13 games with Tampa Bay this season after making his NHL debut on Mar. 14.
Gustav Nyquist, Right Wing (Grand Rapids Griffins): Also an AHL All-Rookie selection a year ago, Gustav Nyquist has notched 23 goals and 37 assists for 60 points in 58 games with Grand Rapids this season, surpassing his totals from a year ago (22-36-58). The 23-year-old from Halmstad, Sweden, has also contributed five points in 13 NHL games with Detroit, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. Nyquist had an eight-game scoring streak from Dec. 28 to Jan. 11, and later appeared in his second consecutive AHL All-Star Classic.
2012-13 AHL Second All-Star Team
Curtis McElhinney, Goaltender (Springfield Falcons): Backstopping Springfield to its first playoff appearance since 2003 and its first division title since 1998, Curtis McElhinney has posted a record of 28-14-3 with a 2.25 GAA, a .924 save percentage and nine shutouts – the most ever by a goaltender in 70 years of AHL hockey in Springfield. He was named the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for October, and later represented the Falcons at the 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic. A 29-year-old native of London, Ont., McElhinney was also selected a Second Team All-Star in 2006-07.
Mark Barberio, Defense (Syracuse Crunch): Last year’s winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman, Mark Barberio has notched eight goals, 32 assists and a plus-7 rating in 70 games for Syracuse this season, his third as a professional. The 23-year-old Montreal native has amassed 23 of his points on the power play, third-most among AHL defensemen, and leads all AHL rearguards in shots on goal (206). A 2008 draft pick by Tampa Bay, Barberio made his NHL debut with the Lightning on Apr. 9.
Adam Clendening, Defense (Rockford IceHogs): Rockford’s Adam Clendening makes it three AHL rookies occupying the four defense spots on this year’s All-Star Teams, as the 20-year-old from Wheatfield, N.Y., checks in with seven goals, 36 assists and a plus-14 rating in 69 games for the IceHogs. A second-round choice by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Clendening had a seven-game scoring streak from Feb. 24 to Mar. 15 and was selected to play in the 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic.
Matt Fraser, Left Wing (Texas Stars): Second Team All-Star Matt Fraser has been the AHL’s most prolific goal-scorer since the start of the 2011-12 season. The 22-year-old native of Red Deer, Alta., finished second in the AHL with 37 goals as a rookie last year, and is currently atop the leaderboard with 33 goals in 62 games for Texas. He has improved his plus/minus rating from minus-13 last season to plus-13 this year, and he has notched his first NHL goal and assist while appearing in seven games for Dallas.
Jeff Taffe, Center (Hershey Bears): In his 11th AHL season, Jeff Taffe has earned his first career postseason All-Star Team berth. The native of Hastings, Minn., currently leads the league in scoring with 64 points (18 goals, 46 assists) in 67 games for Hershey, including three four-point performances. A former first-round draft pick (by St. Louis in 2000), Taffe has played 600 games in the AHL, totaling 203 goals and 290 assists for 493 points, while adding 46 points in 180 contests with six NHL clubs.
Brett Connolly, Right Wing (Syracuse Crunch): After spending the entire 2011-12 campaign in the NHL as a 19-year-old rookie with Tampa Bay, Brett Connolly has flourished with the Lightning’s top development team in Syracuse this season, tallying 27 goals, 30 assists and a plus-15 rating in 67 games with the Crunch. The sixth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Connolly, who is one off the AHL lead with his seven game-winning markers, was the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for February after posting 15 points in 13 contests, including a nine-game scoring streak.