When the puck drops on the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs this Thursday, the American Hockey League will be seeking to crown a champion in a season that has been dominated by former college players.
NCAA alumni were named the league’s MVP, top goalie, top defenseman and top rookie. They occupied four spots on first-team All-AHL team, four more on the second team and five on the All-Rookie Team.
Seventeen of the league’s top 25 scorers in 2016-17 played college hockey, including five of the top seven rookie scorers. Former college hockey players led the league in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts.
Eleven of the 16 Calder Cup playoff teams are led in points or goals by an NCAA alum. Half of the top goaltenders, based on regular season games played, are NCAA alums.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton posted the best record in the regular season, compiling 107 points behind a lineup featuring six 40-point scorers. Three of those played college hockey, though one – Jake Guentzel (Omaha) – is currently starring for the big club.
Cleveland, which won the 2016 Calder Cup, will not defend its title as it fell short of qualifying for the 2017 postseason.
NCAA Alumni Among AHL Award Winners
Les Cunningham Award (most valuable player): Kenny Agostino, Chicago/Yale
Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award (outstanding goaltender): Troy Grosenick, San Jose/Union
Eddie Shore Award (outstanding defenseman): Matt Taormina, Syracuse/Providence
Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award (rookie of the year): Daniel O’Regan, San Jose/Boston University
John B. Sollenberger Trophy (leading scorer): Kenny Agostino, Chicago/Yale
Willie Marshall Award (leading goal scorer): Wade Megan, Chicago/Boston University
Yanick Dupre Memorial Award (man of the year): A.J. Greer, San Antonio/Boston University
First All-Star Team
G: Troy Grosenick, San Jose/Union
D: Matt Taormina, Syracuse/Providence
LW: Kenny Agostino, Chicago/Yale
C: Wade Megan, Chicago/Boston University
Second All-Star Team
G: Zane McIntyre, Providence/North Dakota
D: David Warsofsky, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/Boston University
C: Travis Boyd, Hershey/Minnesota
RW: Cory Conacher, Syracuse/Canisius
G: Casey DeSmith, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/New Hampshire
D: Devon Toews, Bridgeport/Quinnipiac
F: Jake Guentzel, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/Omaha
F: Mark Jankowski, Stockton/Providence
F: Daniel O’Regan, San Jose/Boston University