Three Moose Named to AHL All-Star TeamsBy: Manitoba Moose Staff | Published: April 5th 2018
Winnipeg, MB – The Manitoba Moose Hockey Club, in conjunction with the American Hockey League, announced today forward Mason Appleton and defenceman Sami Niku have been named to the 2017-18 AHL First All-Star Team, and goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been named to the 2017-18 AHL Second All-Star Team.
Appleton and Niku are the first rookie teammates to be named to the AHL First All-Star Team since Benoit Brunet and Stephan Lebeau of the Sherbrooke Canadiens in 1988-89. Niku joins Brandon Montour (2016), Justin Schultz (2013), Sami Vatanen (2013) and P.K. Subban (2010) as the only rookie defencemen in the last 43 years to be named a First Team AHL All-Star.
Appleton, 22, leads the Moose with 61 points (21G, 40A) and six game-winning goals in 71 games this season. He has already captured franchise records in assists and points by a rookie, and is the first Moose player to reach the 60-point plateau since the 2008-09 season. The Green Bay, Wis. native leads all AHL rookies in scoring and is fourth in the league’s overall points race. Appleton was previously honoured by the league as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 19. A sixth round, 168th overall, selection of the Winnipeg Jets in 2015, Appleton represented the Moose at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic.
Niku, 21, is tied for second on the Moose with 52 points (15G, 37A) in 71 games. Like Appleton, Niku has already made his mark in the Moose record books with the most points by a rookie defenceman in franchise history. His 52 points in 2017-18 are the fifth-most by a blue-liner in team history and most since the 2000-01 season. A seventh round, 198th overall, selection of the Winnipeg Jets in 2015, Niku is tied for the AHL lead in points by a defenceman and features the best plus/minus rating among the league’s top six scoring defenders. The Haapavesi, Finland native made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, scoring a goal in a 5-4 Jets victory.
Hutchinson, 28, features a 15-5-4 record on the season with a 2.21 goals-against average (4th-AHL) and a 0.933 save percentage (2nd-AHL). The Barrie, Ont. native has allowed two goals or less in 15 of his 24 starts this season. From Oct. 21 – Dec. 22, Hutchinson did not suffer a regulation loss while posting a 12-0-2 record, and earning CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month honours in both November and December. He was also named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Dec. 17, and represented the Moose at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic
The Moose put the wraps on their 2017-18 regular season home schedule this weekend when they host the Bakersfield Condors on Friday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.). Tickets for both games are available at moosehockey.com/tickets.