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Abdelkader takes rookie honors for October

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Grand Rapids Griffins center Justin Abdelkader has been named the Reebok Edge/AHL Rookie of the Month for October. Abdelkader scored seven goals and added two assists for nine points in seven games for the Griffins.

Abdelkader scored his first professional goal and was named the game’s third star in his Griffins debut, a 4-3 overtime loss at Lake Erie on Oct. 11. He came back with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 shootout win over Lake Erie on Oct. 18, and registered a hat trick in Grand Rapids’ 6-3 victory over Norfolk on Oct. 26. Abdelkader closed out October with a third-period tally in a 3-2 overtime loss at Milwaukee on Oct. 31.

In recognition of his achievement, Abdelkader will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.

A native of nearby Muskegon, Mich., Abdelkader leads the Griffins and finished the month tied for second in the AHL with his seven goals. The 21-year-old forward was a second-round draft choice by Detroit (42nd overall) in 2005 and made his professional debut with the Red Wings last season, skating in two regular-season games following his junior season at Michigan State University. In three years with the Spartans, Abdelkader totaled 44 goals and 51 assists for 95 points in 124 games and scored the winning goal in the 2007 NCAA championship game.

Other nominees for Reebok Edge/AHL Rookie of the Month include Albany center Nick Dodge, Binghamton center Zack Smith, Bridgeport defenseman Andrew MacDonald, Chicago center Matt Anderson, Hamilton center Ben Maxwell, Houston center Jason Deitsch, Iowa goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur, Lake Erie center T.J. Galiardi, Lowell right wing Matt Halischuk, Manitoba right wing Raymond Sawada, Milwaukee center Nick Spaling, Philadelphia right wing Claude Giroux, Portland left wing Tim Kennedy, Providence right wing Mikko Lehtonen, Quad City right wing Adam Cracknell, Rochester defenseman Jason Garrison, Rockford defenseman Jean-Claude Sawyer, San Antonio left wing Brett MacLean, Syracuse right wing Maksim Mayorov and Worcester left wing Jamie McGinn.