The votes have been cast, and this year’s AHL All-Rookie Team has been released. The AHL rookie teams are always a mix of top draft picks and surprising prospects, and this year is no different. The team is as follows:
Goaltender: Ville Husso, San Antonio Rampage (St. Louis Blues)
Defense: Filip Hronek, Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings)
Defense: Sami Niku, Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg Jets)
Forward: Mason Appleton, Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg Jets)
Forward: Daniel Sprong, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Forward: Dylan Strome, Tucson Roadrunners (Arizona Coyotes)
Obviously winning this award doesn’t guarantee NHL success, but it is a strong sign for players who will experience a long and successful professional career. The past All-Rookie teams have included many eventual NHL All-Stars, and could again in this group.
Strome is obviously the most recognizable name, selected third overall in 2015. He hasn’t been able to find a ton of success at the NHL level, but dominated the AHL in his first season. Scoring 50 points in 47 games he leads all (qualified) rookies in points-per-game, and likely won’t be in the minor leagues again next season.
Of note is two Winnipeg Jets prospects, both selected late in the 2015 draft. Appleton and Niku were picked 168th and 198th respectively, but both had outstanding rookie seasons with Manitoba and are more names to look for in the Jets lineup over the next few years. Niku made his NHL debut last night and scored on his first shot, just the latest accomplishment in his first season in North America.