With the AHL season coming to a close and the Calder Cup playoffs right around the corner, awards and accolades are starting to be handed out. Today, the league announced the 2021-22 All-Rookie Team, which is voted on by coaches, players, and media. Though not a guarantee of future NHL success, the AHL rookie team has a long history of star players including captains, Stanley Cup champions, and future Hall of Fame members.
The 2021-22 selections:
G Dustin Wolf, Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames)
D Jack Rathbone, Abbotsford Canucks (Vancouver Canucks)
D Jordan Spence, Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings)
F Jakob Pelletier, Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames)
F J.J. Peterka, Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres)
F Jack Quinn, Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres)
While each of the winners is a player to keep an eye on, it’s once again Wolf that seems to stand out among the crowd. While the forwards are all high draft picks, and the defensemen fourth-round selections, Wolf has continued to impress since being the 214th overall pick in 2019. Selected with the fourth-last pick in the draft, the undersized netminder simply stops the puck better than almost all of his competitors.
This season, his first in the AHL, Wolf went 33-8-4 with a .924 save percentage, leading the entire league in wins. Given the fact that Calgary is also a true contender for the Stanley Cup, it’s incredibly impressive to have two players on the All-Rookie team this season.
In Buffalo, things are getting very exciting as a new wave of talent emerges to try and drag the organization back to the playoffs. Peterka and Quinn were both outstanding in their rookie years, with the latter actually scoring at a better rate than almost anyone else. Quinn’s 59 points in 44 games is a better per-game rate than any qualified player other than T.J. Tynan and Andrew Poturalski, the league’s best two forwards. With the other young talent already in Buffalo, things are looking up for the Sabres.