2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team announced

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the 2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 29 member cities.

The team consists of one goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards:

2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team
Goaltender: Nathan Lawson, Bridgeport Sound Tigers (30gp, 18-9-2, 2.13gaa, .929sv%, 2so)
Defenseman: Mattias Karlsson, Binghamton Senators (67gp, 8+41=49pts.)
Defenseman: Yannick Weber, Hamilton Bulldogs (66gp, 14+27=41pts.)
Forward: Justin Abdelkader, Grand Rapids Griffins (71gp, 22+27=49pts.)
Forward: Nathan Gerbe, Portland Pirates (50gp, 26+24=50pts.)
Forward: Tim Kennedy, Portland Pirates (66gp, 16+43=59pts.)

Each All-Rookie Team member will receive a custom designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the 2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Previous selections to the annual AHL All-Rookie Team include Jean-Sebastien Giguere (1998), Zdeno Chara (1998), Brendan Morrison (1998), Marc Savard (1998), Daniel Briere (1998), J.P. Dumont (1999), Dan Boyle (1999), Cory Sarich (1999), Dmitri Kalinin (2000), Jonathan Cheechoo (2001), Barret Jackman (2002), Jason Spezza (2003), Brad Boyes (2003), Michel Ouellet (2004), Cam Ward (2005), Chris Campoli (2005), Thomas Vanek (2005), Rene Bourque (2005), Kevin Bieksa (2005), Daniel Girardi (2006), Mike Green (2006), Patrick O’Sullivan (2006), Ryan Shannon (2006), Jaroslav Halak (2007), Troy Brouwer (2007), Ryan Callahan (2007), Bobby Ryan (2008) and Teddy Purcell (2008).

2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team
lawson Nathan Lawson, Goaltender (Bridgeport Sound Tigers):
Nathan Lawson has been a fixture among the AHL’s goaltending leaders this season, currently ranking second in both goals-against average (2.13) and save percentage (.929) while posting an 18-9-2 mark with two shutouts in 30 appearances for Bridgeport. Lawson won his first seven career AHL decisions to start the season and went 6-0-2 during an eight-game stretch in February and March. A Calgary native, Lawson was rewarded with his first NHL contract by the parent New York Islanders on Mar. 2, 2009.
karlsson Mattias Karlsson, Defense (Binghamton Senators):
A fourth-round draft choice by the Ottawa Senators in 2003, Mattias Karlsson leads all AHL rookie defensemen with 41 assists and 49 points in 67 games for Binghamton this season. The 23-year-old native of Stora, Sweden, set a Senators franchise record by recording an assist in 12 consecutive games (1-16-17) from Feb. 6 to Mar. 1. Thirty-six of Karlsson’s 49 points – including a league-leading 29 assists – have come on the power play, helping Binghamton to the AHL’s top conversion rate (23.6 percent).
weber Yannick Weber, Defense (Hamilton Bulldogs):
Yannick Weber is the leading defenseman on a Hamilton team that features four rookies among its top six scorers. The third-round draft pick by the Montreal Canadiens in 2007 has put up 14 goals – second among all AHL blueliners – and 41 points in 66 games for the Bulldogs. Weber, 20, participated in the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic and made his NHL debut for Montreal on Jan. 8. He reached the Memorial Cup final with Kitchener (OHL) last year and represented his native Switzerland at the 2008 World Junior Championships.
abdelkader Justin Abdelkader, Forward (Grand Rapids Griffins):
Drafted in the second round by the Detroit Red Wings in 2005, Justin Abdelkader ranks second on the Griffins in goals (22) and points (49) in 71 games, putting him among the AHL’s rookie leaders in both categories. The native of Muskegon, Mich., was the Reebok Edge/AHL Rookie of the Month for October and has also appeared in two NHL games with his home-state Red Wings. Abdelkader, 22, played three years at Michigan State and scored the winning goal in the 2007 NCAA championship game.
gerbe Nathan Gerbe, Forward (Portland Pirates):
Nathan Gerbe has torn up the AHL for 26 goals and 50 points in just 50 games for Portland this season, including seven multiple-goal efforts and a hat trick. Drafted by Buffalo in 2005, Gerbe made his National Hockey League debut with the Sabres in December and has contributed one assist in 10 NHL games this year. A native of Oxford, Mich., the 21-year-old Gerbe reached the NCAA title game in each of his three seasons at Boston College and led the nation in scoring en route to winning the national championship in 2007-08.
kennedy Tim Kennedy, Forward (Portland Pirates):
A teammate of Justin Abdelkader’s on Michigan State’s 2007 national championship team, Tim Kennedy stormed out of the gate by registering a point in his first nine professional games for Portland this season. He leads all AHL rookies with 43 assists and 59 points in 66 games overall and has registered 14 multiple-point efforts. The 22-year-old made his NHL debut for the Sabres in his hometown of Buffalo on Dec. 27 and was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week on Feb. 15 with five goals and 10 points in a four-game span.