2009 PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team announced

See also: Canadian All-Star team announced

2009asc_v2.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team roster for the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications, to be played later this month at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

The team comprises 24 players – 13 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders – born outside of Canada; the Canadian team was announced on Tuesday (release). AHL fans determined the starting lineups via on-line balloting at theahl.com, while a committee of AHL coaches selected the remainder of the rosters. All 29 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.

Among the members of the PlanetUSA team are 19 first-time AHL All-Stars, including rookies Nikita Filatov of the Syracuse Crunch, Bobby Sanguinetti of the Hartford Wolf Pack, Jonas Junland of the Peoria Rivermen, Yannick Weber of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Mattias Karlsson of the Binghamton Senators, Jeff Frazee of the Lowell Devils and Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy of the Portland Pirates. Hershey Bears forward Keith Aucoin has been selected to his fourth consecutive AHL All-Star Classic, and PlanetUSA captain Rory Fitzpatrick of the Rochester Americans will be making his third All-Star appearance and his first since 1998.

Because the Chicago Wolves won the Calder Cup championship in 2008, their current staff of head coach Don Granato and assistants Jason Christie and Wendell Young will serve as the coaches for the PlanetUSA team. John Anderson was promoted to the Atlanta Thrashers after guiding the Wolves to the title last spring.

The 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League competing in the 2009 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 25 (4:00 p.m. ET), and the 2009 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 26 (7:00 p.m. ET). The event will be televised nationally in the United States and Canada.

Of the 455 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 94 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Dan Boyle, Brian Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Rick DiPietro, Jiri Hudler, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Zach Parise, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Tomas Vokoun.

pusa30.jpg    2009 PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team    pusa30.jpg

Forwards Defensemen Goaltenders
Keith Aucoin, Hershey Rory Fitzpatrick, Rochester ("C")
Jeff Frazee, Lowell
x-Chris Bourque, Hershey Jonas Junland, Peoria
Daniel Larsson, Grand Rapids
x-Nikita Filatov, Syracuse Mattias Karlsson, Binghamton x-Cory Schneider, Manitoba
x-Nathan Gerbe, Portland x-Jakub Kindl, Grand Rapids  
Martins Karsums, Providence Ben Lovejoy, W-B/Scranton  
Tim Kennedy, Portland Bobby Sanguinetti, Hartford  
Petri Kontiola, Rockford Jaime Sifers, Toronto  
Drew Miller, Iowa x-Yannick Weber, Hamilton  
Joe Motzko, Chicago    
Michael Ryan, Albany    
Ryan Potulny, Springfield    
Jeff Taffe, W-B/Scranton    
Ryan Vesce, Worcester   x-starters

Head Coach: Don Granato, Chicago
Assistant Coach: Jason Christie, Chicago
Assistant Coach: Wendell Young, Chicago
Athletic Trainer: Kevin Kacer, Chicago
Equipment Manager: Craig Kogut, Chicago

2009 PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team Starters

Cory Schneider, Goaltender (Manitoba Moose):
A first-round draft pick by Vancouver in 2004, second-year goaltender Cory Schneider shows a 10-1-0 mark (1.47, .940) for Manitoba this season while also seeing his first career NHL action, making eight appearances for the parent Canucks. Schneider won 10 straight AHL decisions prior to his recall on Nov. 22, and netted Reebok X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month honors for November. The 22-year-old native of Marblehead, Mass., backstopped Boston College to consecutive trips to the NCAA championship game in 2006 and 2007.

Jakub Kindl, Defense (Grand Rapids Griffins):
Drafted 19th overall by Detroit in 2005, second-year pro Jakub Kindl has already eclipsed his rookie totals with five goals, 17 assists and 22 points in 36 games in 2008-09, ranking him seventh among AHL defensemen in scoring and fifth overall on the Griffins. The 21-year-old is also tied for the league lead among blueliners with two game-winning goals. A native of Sumperk, Czech Rep., Kindl totaled 113 points in 114 games over his final two junior campaigns with Kitchener (OHL).

Yannick Weber, Defense (Hamilton Bulldogs):
Rookie Yannick Weber is the Bulldogs’ leading scorer among defensemen with 18 points and is a plus-6 in 31 games this season. A third-round draft pick by Montreal in 2007, the 20-year-old shows a pair of two-goal games and has registered 11 of his 18 points on a Hamilton power play that ranks fifth in the AHL (20.4 percent). The native of Morges, Switzerland, joined the professional ranks after leading all Kitchener (OHL) blueliners with 55 points in 59 games last season.

Chris Bourque, Forward (Hershey Bears):
A second-round draft pick by Washington in 2004, Chris Bourque ranks third on Hershey with 31 points in 30 AHL games this season and has already registered scoring streaks of six and five games (current). The 22-year-old Bourque is coming off consecutive 20-goal seasons and won the Calder Cup with the Bears in 2006. A Boston native and the son of Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, Chris scored his first career NHL goal for the Capitals on Dec. 30, 2008, at Buffalo.

Nikita Filatov, Forward (Syracuse Crunch):
Selected by Columbus with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft, 18-year-old forward Nikita Filatov made an immediate impact for Syracuse, registering a point in seven of his first nine AHL games. The Moscow native places fourth on the Crunch in scoring with 17 points to go along with a plus-6 rating in 23 contests. Filatov netted a goal in his NHL debut on Oct. 17, 2008, and was recently named to the All-Tournament team for the 2009 World Junior Championships after posting eight goals and three assists in seven games while winning a bronze medal with Russia.

Nathan Gerbe, Forward (Portland Pirates):
One of the AHL’s most productive newcomers in 2008-09, Nathan Gerbe ranks third among rookies in goals (17) and tied for fifth in points (25) in just 23 games for Portland. The 21-year-old, who kicked off an eight-game scoring streak by netting his first professional hat trick on Nov. 5, has also contributed one assist in six NHL games for Buffalo, making his debut on Dec. 6, 2008, at Tampa Bay. A native of Oxford, Mich., Gerbe won an NCAA title at Boston College last season and led the nation in scoring with 68 points.

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