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Niku voted AHL’s top defenseman for 2017-18

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League introduced in the present day that Sami Niku of the Manitoba Moose is the winner of the Eddie Shore Award because the AHL’s excellent defenseman for the 2017-18 season. The award is voted on by coaches, gamers and members of the media in every of the league’s 30 cities.

Niku joins Justin Schultz (2013) as the one rookies within the 60-year historical past of the Eddie Shore Award to win the dignity.

Photo: Jonathan Kozub

Entering the ultimate week of the common season, Niku ranks second amongst AHL defensemen and tied for third amongst all rookies in scoring with 53 factors (16 objectives, 37 assists) whereas posting a plus-19 score in 73 video games for Manitoba. His 10 power-play objectives are one off the league lead for each rookies and defensemen, and his two-way play has helped the Moose to a top-five rating in each objectives for and objectives in opposition to per recreation this season. Niku was named a 2017-18 First Team AHL All-Star final week and likewise earned a spot on the AHL All-Rookie Team.

A 21-year-old native of Haapavesi, Finland, Niku was a seventh-round draft decide by Winnipeg in 2015 and made his NHL debut with the Jets on Apr. three, scoring a objective in a 5-Four time beyond regulation win at Montreal. Niku performed for JYP Jyvaskyla within the Finnish Liiga earlier than signing with Winnipeg, and received a gold medal with Finland on the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

This award was first offered by the AHL in 1958-59 in honor of the late Eddie Shore, a member of each the Hockey Hall of Fame and the American Hockey League Hall of Fame who’s extensively thought to be one among hockey’s best defensemen. Shore received a complete of seven Calder Cups in his profession, together with two as the final supervisor of the Buffalo Bisons and 5 because the longtime proprietor of the Springfield Indians. Previous recipients of the Eddie Shore Award embrace Steve Kraftcheck (1959), Bob McCord (1961, ’67), Al Arbour (1965), Jim Morrison (1966), Noel Price (1970, ’72, ’76), Brian Engblom (1977), Terry Murray (1978, ’79), Dave Farrish (1982), Brad Shaw (1987), Dave Fenyves (1988, ’89), Eric Weinrich (1990), Darren Rumble (1997), John Slaney (2001, ’02), Niklas Kronwall (2005), Johnny Boychuk (2009), Mark Barberio (2012), Justin Schultz (2013), T.J. Brennan (2014, ’16), Chris Wideman (2015) and Matt Taormina (2017).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to function the top growth league for all 31 National Hockey League groups. More than 87 p.c of all gamers competing within the NHL are AHL graduates, and thru the years the American Hockey League has been dwelling to greater than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2017-18 common season ends Sunday, after which 16 golf equipment will proceed to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway subsequent week.

The winner of the 2017-18 Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award (excellent goaltender) might be introduced Wednesday.

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