Tag Archives: Alex Stalock


Connecticut Whale VERSUS Worcester

The New York Rangers entire organization is in full fledged youth movement mode. If John Tortorella is the Chief Architect then Ken Gernander is the Master Builder.

For some of the building blocks in that future foundation, Wednesday night found them both in having big nights in places they didn’t expect to be when the season began.

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WHALE WEEKLY: January 3-9, 2011

Connecticut WhaleThe Whale (18-13-2-5, 43 pts.) celebrated the turn of the year by winning three out of four divisional games this past week, to move into sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division.  The Whale scored overtime wins in both ends of a home-and-home series with Portland, 2-1 in Hartford on Wednesday and 5-4 on the road Friday, with former Pirate Tim Kennedy scoring the winner in both games for his first career AHL overtime scores and the first-ever OT winners by the same player in consecutive games in franchise history.  The Whale then laid a 6-2 thumping on the Providence Bruins at the XL Center on Saturday for their eighth straight home win, before seeing that streak come to an end in a 3-0 loss Sunday to division-leading Manchester.  Besides Kennedy’s two overtime tallies, the biggest offensive contribution came from defenseman Wade Redden, who had seven assists in the three games he played before having to miss Sunday’s game due to an injury.

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Xmas-CT-Whale_thumb2_thumb VERSUS Worcester

Chad Kolarik scored the game winner for the Connecticut Whale over the visiting Worcester Sharks Friday night. The Whale left-winger’s shot from the left circle with 29.5 left in overtime off the rush went over Worcester starting netminder Alex Stalock’s glove and into the upper corner giving the home team their season high sixth straight win and 19th out of 20 available points since their rebranding from the Hartford Wolf Pack on November 27th. Continue reading


Charlotte Checkers VERSUS Worcester

Samson notches three assists; Charlotte 6-1-0 in last seven

WORCESTER, Mass. – Zach Boychuk scored the game winning goal on a 5-on-3 power play 1:49 into the third period as the Charlotte Checkers doubled up the Worcester Sharks, 4-2, on Saturday evening.

Jerome Samson was a major catalyst in the Checkers offense, recording three assists, while Jacob Micflikier, Chris Terry and Jon Matsumoto added goals for the Checkers. Justin Pogge made 41 saves and was named the game’s first star, recording his seventh win of the season. Joe Loprieno and Matt Irwin scored the two goals for the Sharks.

With the win, Charlotte improves to 6-1-0 in its last seven games.

The Checkers opened the scoring at the 5:02 mark of the opening period after a defensive zone turnover by the Sharks. Terry fired a shot towards the net along the ice, from the left-wing half-wall and it made its way through a screen and past Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock. Samson picked up the second assist on the play.

Loprieno knotted the game at 11:38 for the Sharks. Jason Pitton took a shot from the point that Pogge looked to have covered, however Loprieno was able to dislodge the puck and put it in the net.

The Sharks would take a 2-1 lead with 2:30 remaining in the opening period. Brandon Mashinter broke into the zone and centered the puck to Irwin, who was wide open in the slot. Pogge was able to get a piece of the Irwin shot with his left arm, but the puck ended up in the back of the net.

Micflikier converted a tic-tac-toe passing play for his 10th goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2, 10:17 into the second period. Zac Dalpe kept a Worcester clearing attempt in the zone and sent a cross-ice pass to Drayson Bowman. Bowman then fed Micflikier in front, who put it over Stalock.

The Checkers had two glorious opportunities in the final minute of the second period but Stalock stood tall. Bowman broke in alone first and Stalock dove out of his net to poke the puck away before making a desperation save off his mask, seconds later, to rob Matsumoto of the go-ahead goal.

Charlotte began the third period with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:56. In the late stages of the two-man-advantage, Boychuk scored to give his team a 3-2 lead. Samson took the initial shot from the bottom of the right-wing circle. He collected the rebound and made the pass to Boychuk in front who made no mistake, converting his ninth goal of the season.

Matsumoto, in his first game back with the Checkers, added an insurance marker into the empty net with five seconds to go in the game as Charlotte walked away with a 4-2 victory.

Charlotte (12-8-3) will play the final game of its three-game road trip Sunday in Hershey before returning home on Sunday, Dec. 5 and Monday, Dec. 6 to host the Syracuse Crunch. Holiday packs are now on sale and include four games, a merchandise certificate and a puck for as low as $35. Call 704-342-4423 or head to www.gocheckers.com for more information.


The Checkers are 6-1-0 in their last seven games…Zach Boychuk is on a five-game point streak (2g, 6a) and is third in the league in points with 23 (9g, 15a)…Jerome Samson is on a four-game point streak (1g, 6a) and is currently tied for fourth in the AHL in goals (12)… Bryan Rodney is on a four-game point streak (2g, 2a) and has eight points (2g, 6a) in his last seven games…Zac Dalpe has nine goals in his last ten games (9g, 4a), while Jacob Micflikier has ten points (6g, 4a) in his last nine games… Justin Pogge has won seven of his last eight decisions.

Charlotte Checkers 4 at Worcester Sharks 2 – Status: Final
Saturday, November 27, 2010 – DCU Center

Charlotte 1 1 2 – 4
Worcester 2 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Terry 9 (Samson, Nash), 5:02. 2, Worcester, Loprieno 1 (Pitton, Leach), 11:38. 3, Worcester, Irwin 2 (Mashinter, Marcou), 17:30. Penalties-Petrecki Wor (interference), 1:30; Blanchard Cha (fighting), 17:33; Pitton Wor (fighting), 17:33.

2nd Period-4, Charlotte, Bowman 3 (Dalpe), 10:17. Penalties-Dalpe Cha (delay of game), 15:15; Sullivan Wor (hooking), 19:56; Petrecki Wor (roughing), 20:00.

3rd Period-5, Charlotte, Boychuk 9 (Samson, Rodney), 1:49 (PP). 6, Charlotte, Matsumoto 4 (Samson), 19:54. Penalties-Osala Cha (cross-checking), 2:49; Nash Cha (tripping), 16:13.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 13-8-17-38. Worcester 15-14-14-43.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 / 3; Worcester 0 / 3.
Goalies-Charlotte, Pogge 6-5-0 (43 shots-41 saves). Worcester, Stalock 9-6-1 (38 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Geno Binda (22).
Linesmen-Brian MacDonald (72), Bob Paquette (18).


Print       VERSUS       Worcester

Hartford, CT – The Connecticut Whale came into Saturday night’s contest with the visiting Worcester Sharks looking to build off a strong win in Providence the night before. Boy did they ever, as 5,060 witnessed one of the grittiest and most stirring come from behind victories in team history. The XL Center was jumping as the Whale put together their best effort of the season overcoming three separate one-goal deficits and went on to win it in an exciting shootout 4-3.

“It was a character win and we’re pretty happy with that,” Whale head coach Ken Gernander said.

Jeremy Williams agreed. “It was a real character win.”

“A game like this has a ton of emotion,” forward Devin DiDiomete said. “There’s a lot of character in the room.”

While they have had a couple of good games this season, it is safe to say that if they do have any kind of playoff run, you will point back to this game as the one where they went from a collection of talent and became a “team.”

The game started off about eight minutes late due to the Sharks team bus breaking down on the way to Hartford. But the late start didn’t slow down Shark Left Winger Kevin Henderson who had an excellent scoring chance denied by Chad Johnson (29 saves, 7-10-3) in just the first minute of the contest.

Mats Zuccarello had a couple of solid scoring chances early and then midway through the first period, Evgeny Grachev found himself some open space off an odd man rush. Both were stoned by an extremely sharp Worcester starting goaltender, Alex Staylock (43 saves, 10-8-2).  In fact, had Staylock not been so incredibly sharp in this one, the game would likely have been a Connecticut Whale blowout win as they had an incredible amount of chances throughout the entire contest.

At 9:25, Brodie Dupont’s mistake in his own zone cost the team a goal. Dupont looked to make a cross ice pass in his own zone, a major Bozo no-no. The pass was picked off by right wing Steven Zalewski. The Utica, New York native saw linemate T.J. Trevelyan open going to the net and made a strong pass from the right wing wall that got past Zuccarello and right onto the stick of of the left winger. Trevelyan attacked the Whale net and slid the puck by Johnson for his third of the season.

The tone for the rest of the contest came just after killing off a late Kris Newbury hooking call as the first period came to a close. Just after the buzzer sounded, Chad Kolarik took a shot that whizzed right past Staylock. It’s unwritten code among players that you just don’t do that and the Sharks’ Tommy Wingels took exception, came over to the left wing where Kolarik was and decked the Whale right winger causing a scrum and lots of pushing, shoving and words being exchanged.

The celebration for the rebranding of the franchise may have come on November 27th, but a “team” may well have been born in the second period.

After a couple of close calls early, including Henderson again getting a great chance on a tip-in try in the first minute of the period, but at 2:47 the wheels were set in motion as veteran Jay Leach took a tripping call and put the Whale on the power play.

11 seconds later the score was tied as Kris Newbury sent a pass from behind the right goal line towards the net where Dupont had the inside position on defenseman Sean Sullivan and redirected it past Staylock for his third of the season.

The intensity and hitting from both sides picked up considerably and at 9:54 of the second frame, Grachev inadvertently ran into Staylock behind the net putting the Khabarovsk, Russia native into the penalty box.

It only took eight seconds for the Sharks to take a bite out of the Whale.

In almost an identical goal to the one the Whale scored, James Marcou fed one-time NHL 50-goal scorer, Jonathan Cheechoo a pass in front of the net. Cheechoo had gotten position on Pavel Valentenko in front of Johnson and the veteran knocked the puck into the net. Cheechoo’s eighth of the season came at 10:02.

If those were labor pains, the team’s birth came just over a minute later when the real fireworks began.

The Whale forecheck netted them control of the puck in the far left corner. Zuccarello went after it and dug it loose. When he turned, Henderson tripped him and “The Norwegian Hobbit” went down to the ice. Zuccarello got up quickly and went to the net. The puck meanwhile had made it’s way to the left point where it found the stick of Stu Bickel. The Whale defenseman uncorked a low hard shot that hit Staylock and bounced out in front. Zuccarello picked up the rebound and shot it at Staylock. The puck rebounded again and, using his speed and agility sending his goal total into double-digits with ten.

When Zuccarello looked up he saw a big scrum and a number of the Sharks players attacking Dupont and jumped in.

Things quickly got ugly.

While some players essentially hugged, Newbury and Nick Petrecki went off to the right side behind the net. The 5’10” 205-pound Newbury just absolutely throttled and bloodied the 6’4” 220-pound Petrecki.

Meanwhile, over in the left circle, Dupont and Andrew Desjardins had begun a pretty nasty fight themselves. At one point, Dupont picked him up off his skates. Desjardins then knocked Dupont’s helmet off and put him in a very tight headlock.

What happened next was nothing short of frightening.

As Desjardins tightened his grip on Dupont’s head he did what in professional wrestling is known as a “D.D.T.” Desjardins, with Dupont’s head behind him, intentionally dropped backwards and rammed the Whale forwards head into the ice surface.

Dupont laid out motionless for several moments as trainer Damien Hess ran out to check on him.

“I thought it was a pretty dangerous play,” Gernander said. “Dupont had no helmet (on) and gets driven into the ice, and that’s not part of things.”

Desjardins then celebrated what he had “accomplished” on the ice.

That didn’t sit well with anyone in the arena least of all the players on the Whale bench.

DiDiomete, “Dupont hits his head off the ice, and Desjardins celebrates like he just knocked out Mike Tyson. Obviously that’s not going to fly in our arena, and we made a pretty good point of that.”

What followed can certainly fall on the head, pardon the pun, of referee Jamie Koharski who’s only call on the incident was to send the four players to the penalty box for fighting majors.

Fortunately Dupont came around and headed to the locker room under his own power, but did not return to the contest.

After the smoke had cleared, 43 seconds later the Sharks almost got one past Johnson, but a heads up play by Jyri Niemi clearing the puck from behind Johnson saved a goal for the home team.

Zuccarello, who had one of his best performances thus far as a member of the Whale, continued to get good scoring chances.

But then tensions and tempers began to flare.

At 13:13, Wingels took a roughing call. 1:47 later Williams answered with a roughing call of his own. Marcou was called for an interference that easily could have been deemed a rough as well.

With 2:11 left, Williams hit the post on a hard wrist shot.

And then it all boiled over…

with 1:37 left in the period, Garlock took a faceoff with Desjardins and the puck went behind the net to Trevelyan. Immediately, DiDiomete and Justin Soryal went over to the Sharks center.

Linesman Luke Glavin pushed Soryal away, but Soryal, Garlock and Nightingale crowded around Desjardins as Dan DaSilva joined the mini-fracas.

Nick Petrecki rushed in and grabbed Soryal and the two went at it with Soryal landing a hard right that sent the defenseman to the ice.

Meanwhile, all of the payers squared off.

Jared Nightingale grabbed Henderson and just pummeled him with hard shots. even after the left winger turtled on the ice.

DaSilva immediately dropped to the ice and turtled as Garlock laid on top of him.

Jyri Niemi charged the scrum and grabbed defenseman Nick Shaus and tackled him to the ice. The Whale defenseman held him there.

But the main event was DiDiomete and Desjardins.

“Obviously you want to get a lick on him,” DiDiomete said. “I just grabbed him and let him know (what he did to Dupont) was unacceptable. The next thing I knew we were fighting.”

DiDiomete put a bunch of good shots together and won the bout decisively.

Soryal was incensed after the fight and was going after both Desjardins and Petrecki as they were being escorted off the ice trying to go at them further.

The true disgrace of the job that Koharski did came when the penalties were dished out.

Worcester saw Desjardins and Petrecki just get 5-minute fighting majors. Henderson got a game misconduct for a secondary altercation.

Koharski then called a game misconduct and a fighting major to Nightingale. He hit Soryal with a fighting major, a ten minute continuing the altercation misconduct and a game misconduct for the same call.

Koharski then had a field day with DiDiomete. He called him for Instigating, fighting, a ten minute misconduct for instigating and a game misconduct for persisting a fight.

All of that led to a power play for the Sharks.

Nine seconds later the puck was in the Whale net. A faceoff win by Trevelyan got the puck back to the point. The puck was thrown behind the left side of the net. Ryan McDonagh played the puck and sent it further behind the net towards Valentenko, but the pass rose up and hit Valentenko in the chest and dropped to the ice. Valentenko tried to settle the puck, but Trevelyan stripped the Nizhnekamsk, Russia native. Marcou was completely abandoned in front of the net. Trevelyan found him with a pass and the Shark forward knocked in short side past Johnson’s right pad. for the team’s third and final lead.

The Whale were outshot 14-7 in the first period, but rallied back to outshoot the Sharks 19-10 in the second and led 26-23 overall.

Both teams had excellent scoring chances in the first part of the third period including Trevelyan hitting a post at 2:50 and Williams with a strong chance while on a Whale power play at about the 5:30 mark.

But the Whale would get the equalizer at 10:08 when Newbury’s shot from the right point hit the butterflied Staylock. Williams was in front and got behind  and  he fell to the ice. The puck rebounded in front to Williams. The right winger got in front of Sean Sullivan and put it on Staylock. The Goaltender went down and the puck squirted back to Williams who shot in past the glove of the fallen goaltender to knot the score.

The Whale continued to press for the go ahead goal and had magnificent chances to do so. Zuccarello hit one off of Staylock’s shoulder and newcomer Oren Eizenman had a couple of chances sending one wide and then with just 1:20 to go Staylock made a great glove save on the Israeli center.

As regulation came to a close the shots were 43-30 for the Whale.

In OT, 1:10 in, Newbury was called for a high stick and the defense, particularly McDonagh and Valentenko were magnificent and sent the game into the shootout.

After Kolarik (shot high) and Cheechoo (blockered away) were both denied, Zuccarello came and threw the kitchen sink of moves at Staylock and got him to bite on the last one and put it into the net.

Brandon Mashinter was repelled by Johnson and then Williams took his turn. The Whales leading scorer skated into the left circle and put a wicked wrist shot high over the glove and into the far right corner of the net past Staylock.

Trevelyan extended the contest by beating Johnson stick side.

Tim Kennedy could have ended it for the Whale but shot into Staylock’s pads. Desjardins, who was SOUNDLY booed by the crowd when he came out to shoot was also turned aside.

Newbury, who along with Zuccarello played just about every other shit after the second period melee, was clearly exhausted when he came up to shoot and was pretty easily turned aside by Staylock.

It was then on Dasilva’s shoulders to give the Sharks a chance, but Johnson rose to the occasion and used his pads to keep the puck out and the Whale exploded with joy as the y saluted the fans at center ice for their most important win of the season.

“It was a good gut check, and they battled hard to the end pretty much to the man, and we’re real happy with that,” Gernander said. “I don’t know if you can say this is something we haven’t seen all year, but maybe there was more out there. I think the guys pulled together and stuck up for one another, but maybe just the way things came to a head tonight, it was maybe a little bit more obvious. They’re a pretty tight-knit group and usually have each other’s back.”

Johnson was impressed by the efforts of his teammates. “It was a wild one with some weird bounces,” He said. “Guys battled to come back, got a lot of shots in the second period and guys just stuck with it in the third, got the tying goal and hung on.”

Zuccarello, who is emerging a s a force despite his 5’9” status said that it was “a good win that I think we deserved.”

“They got some easy goals, but I felt we were the hardest-working team, except for the first period, where we didn’t come up to our standards. We played really bad,” the always honest Zuccarello said. “But it was nice to get a win in a shootout for a change.

Going into this game, the Whale were 1-4 in shootouts.

“I think all the guys were tired. I think it was almost too much ice time, and it was rough game with good speed and a lot of hits, so you’re going to need all the guys. But I think Nightingale, Soryal and DiDiomete did a helluva job sticking up for our teammates. We’re happy to have those guys on the team. They’re important players.”

Williams said. “When you go down guys, you know you have to do a little more, and guys really stepped up.”

With so much going on, there’s nobody better at reporting it than Bruce Berlet. His story can be found at CTWhale.com.  For the Worcester story there’s always the ever-charming Bill Ballou at Telegram.com.







Ken Gernander:

Devin DiDiomete:

Chad Johnson:

Mats Zuccarello:

Oren Eizenman:





Grachev Newbury – J. Williams  
DiDiomete – Eizenman – Kolarik  
Dupont – Kennedy – Zuccarello
Soryal – Garlock – Tessier

McDonagh – Bickel  
Valentenko – Kundratek    
Nightingale – Niemi


(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)


Wade Redden – Groin – Day-to-Day
Dale Weise – Finger – Day-to-Day
Lee Baldwin – Healthy Scratch


1. CT – M. Zuccarello
2. WOR – A. Stalock
3. CT – J. Williams


Jamie Koharski (84)

Paul Simeon (66)
Luke Galvin (2)


The Whale will have a week off now to relax…recharge their batteries and get healthy. Since they’ve played the most games in the American League to this point, they have 5 games in hand on some teams, it would be a good thing and well deserved. Next Saturday they will battle at home with Manchester at 7pm. Bob Crawford and the pregame go on the air at 6:30pm.

To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.

For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.

Too far away or can’t make it? Listen live at WTIC.com or from your cell phone or computer visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for complete live in-game coverage.


Worcester Sharks 3 at Connecticut Whale 4 (SO) – Status: Final SO
Saturday, December 4, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Worcester 1 2 0 0 – 3
Connecticut 0 2 1 0 – 4

1st Period-1, Worcester, Trevelyan 3 (Zalewski, Cheechoo), 9:25. Penalties-Mashinter Wor (roughing), 2:17; Newbury Ct (hooking), 17:41.

2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Dupont 3 (Newbury, Zuccarello), 2:58 (PP). 3, Worcester, Cheechoo 8 (Marcou, Trevelyan), 10:02 (PP). 4, Connecticut, Zuccarello 10 (Bickel, Dupont), 11:00. 5, Worcester, Marcou 4 (Trevelyan), 18:32 (PP). Penalties-Leach Wor (tripping), 2:47; Nightingale Ct (roughing), 3:26; Grachev Ct (goaltender interference), 9:54; Desjardins Wor (fighting), 11:00; Petrecki Wor (fighting), 11:00; Dupont Ct (fighting), 11:00; Newbury Ct (fighting), 11:00; Wingels Wor (roughing), 13:13; Williams Ct (roughing), 14:59; Marcou Wor (interference), 15:36; Desjardins Wor (fighting), 18:23; Henderson Wor (fighting, game misconduct – secondary altercation), 18:23; Petrecki Wor (fighting), 18:23; DiDiomete Ct (instigating, fighting, misconduct – instigating, game misconduct – persisting a fight), 18:23; Nightingale Ct (fighting, game misconduct – secondary altercation), 18:23; Soryal Ct (fighting, misconduct – continuing altercation, game misconduct – continuing altercation), 18:23.

3rd Period-6, Connecticut, Williams 14 (Newbury, Niemi), 10:08. Penalties-Bickel Ct (cross-checking), 0:57; Leach Wor (cross-checking), 5:11; Bickel Ct (high-sticking), 10:55; Quirk Wor (tripping), 16:32.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Newbury Ct (high-sticking), 1:10.

Shootout – Worcester 1 (Cheechoo NG, Mashinter NG, Trevelyan G, Desjardins NG, DaSilva NG), Connecticut 2 (Kolarik NG, Zuccarello G, Williams G, Kennedy NG, Newbury NG).
Shots on Goal-Worcester 14-10-6-2-0-32. Connecticut 7-19-17-3-1-47.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 8; Connecticut 1 / 6.
Goalies-Worcester, Stalock 10-8-2 (46 shots-43 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 7-10-3 (32 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-Paul Simeon (66), Luke Galvin (2).


AHL Logo It’s not a surprise, but the Hartford Wolf Pack’s Evgeny Grachev did not make it to the AHL All-Rookie team. While many are raving about his being a future NHL star, the Russian rookie is struggling in his rookie season to find any kind of consistency of effort and results on the stat sheet.

Here’s the abbreviated version of the official release:

The American Hockey League announced today the 2009-10 AHL All-Rookie Team, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 29 member cities.

The team consists of one goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards:

2009-10 AHL All-Rookie Team


Goaltender: Alex Stalock, Worcester Sharks (56gp, 37-16-2, 2.63gaa, .908sv%, 3so)
John Carlson, Hershey Bears (48gp, 4+35=39pts., +37)
P.K. Subban, Hamilton Bulldogs (71gp, 18+34=52pts., +43)
Logan Couture, Worcester Sharks (42gp, 20+33=53pts.)
Lars Eller, Peoria Rivermen (66gp, 16+37=53pts.)
Tyler Ennis

, Portland Pirates (69gp, 23+42=65pts.)



Each All-Rookie Team member will receive a custom designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the 2009-10 AHL All-Rookie Team.


2009-10 AHL All-Rookie Team


Alex Stalock, Goaltender (Worcester Sharks):
Alex Stalock

has been a workhorse in net for Worcester this season, posting a 37-16-2 record while appearing in 56 of the Sharks’ 73 games to date. Stalock’s league-leading 37 victories are the most ever by an AHL rookie, and the South St. Paul, Minn., native also ranks among the AHL’s top five goaltenders in minutes played (3,266), saves (1,414) and shots faced (1,557). A fourth-round draft pick by San Jose in 2005, the 22-year-old Stalock turned pro after three years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and represented the Sharks at the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic.


John Carlson, Defense (Hershey Bears):
A first-round draft choice (27th overall) by the Washington Capitals in 2008,
John Carlson

has flourished in 2009-10 after making his pro debut with Hershey during the 2009 postseason. Carlson ranks fourth among AHL rookie defensemen with 39 points (4-35-39) in just 48 AHL games, and his plus-37 rating is good for a share of third place in the entire league. The 20-year-old native of Natick, Mass., has also appeared in 19 games for the Capitals this season, skated in the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic, and scored the overtime gold-medal-winning goal for Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championships.


P.K. Subban, Defense (Hamilton Bulldogs):
Drafted in the second round by the Montreal Canadiens in 2007,
P.K. Subban

has provided a consistent two-way presence on a Hamilton defense that has allowed the fewest goals and the fewest shots in the AHL. Subban, 20, leads AHL rookie defensemen in both goals (18) and points (52) through 71 games, and his 11 power-play goals are tops among all league rookies. A Toronto native and a 2010 AHL All-Star Classic participant, Subban is tied for first in the AHL with a plus-43 rating and has chipped in two assists in his first two career NHL contests with Montreal.


Logan Couture, Forward (Worcester Sharks):
Logan Couture

registered a point in 21 of his first 24 AHL games this season and has never looked back, totaling 20-33-53 in 42 contests to rank among the AHL’s rookie leaders in goals and points. Drafted ninth overall by San Jose in 2007, Couture leads all first-year pros with nine game-winning goals and has put together 15 multiple-point efforts for Worcester. The 21-year-old London, Ont., native played in the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic and has also earned eight separate NHL recalls this season, registering two goals and three assists in 19 games with the parent Sharks.


Lars Eller, Forward (Peoria Rivermen):
A native of Rodovre, Denmark,
Lars Eller

is tied for second in the AHL rookie scoring race with 53 points (16-37-53) in 66 games this season, ranking him second in team scoring on Peoria. Eller, drafted 13th overall by the St. Louis Blues in 2007, is tied for second among AHL rookies with 21 power-play assists and put together a six-game point-scoring streak from Mar. 4-12. Eller, 20, represented the Rivermen at the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic and has appeared in five games with St. Louis thus far, scoring a goal in his NHL debut for the Blues on Nov. 5, 2009.


Tyler Ennis, Forward (Portland Pirates):
Tyler Ennis has been a fixture near the top of the AHL’s rookie scoring list all season, currently setting the pace in goals (23-tied), assists (42) and points (65) in 69 games for Portland. The 20-year-old Edmonton native and 2010 AHL All-Star Game MVP also leads AHL rookies with 30 power-play points (9-21-30) to help the Pirates to the league’s fourth-ranked unit. A first-round draft pick (26th overall) by Buffalo in 2008, Ennis has played three games for the Sabres and netted a goal in his NHL debut on Nov. 14, 2009.