Griffith, Holtz, Skarek named award winners for January

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Bakersfield Condors forward Seth Griffith, Utica Comets forward Alexander Holtz and Bridgeport Islanders goaltender Jakub Skarek have been selected as the league’s award winners for January.

Griffith, the AHL Player of the Month, found the scoresheet in all nine of his games played for Bakersfield last month, totaling six goals and 12 assists for 18 points along with a plus-10 rating as the Condors went 6-0-3-0 with him in the lineup in January.

Griffith assisted on both Bakersfield goals in a 3-2 overtime loss at Henderson on Jan. 1, and scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in a 6-3 victory at Abbotsford on Jan. 6. He chipped in a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win over San Jose on Jan. 15 before recording the first five-assist game in the AHL this season as the Condors doubled up Tucson, 6-3, on Jan. 19. After spending time on the Edmonton Oilers’ taxi squad, Griffith returned to the Bakersfield lineup and posted five points during a three-game visit to Tucson, extending his scoring streak to 10 games.

Griffith, who had points in 13 straight contests from Oct. 16 to Nov. 17, is the first AHL skater with multiple double-digit scoring streaks in the same season since his Providence Bruins linemate Frank Vatrano in 2015-16. He is currently tied for sixth in the AHL in scoring with 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 28 games for the Condors in 2021-22, and has also skated in one NHL contest with the Oilers. The ninth-year pro from Wallaceburg, Ont., has totaled 141 goals and 266 assists for 407 points in 443 career AHL games with Bakersfield, Manitoba, Rochester, Toronto and Providence, and was voted a First Team AHL All-Star in 2015-16.

Originally a fifth-round pick by Boston in the 2012 NHL Draft, Griffith has eight goals and 11 assists in 80 career NHL games with Boston, Toronto, Florida, Buffalo and Edmonton.

Holtz, the AHL Rookie of the Month, notched five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 10 games for the league-leading Comets during January.

After beginning the month in the NHL with the parent New Jersey Devils, Holtz returned to the Utica lineup on Jan. 7 and recorded a goal and two assists in a 6-5 shootout victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He scored a goal on Jan. 19 at Laval and again on Jan. 21 at Syracuse before his two-goal game helped the Comets to a 6-3 win over Syracuse on Jan. 22. Holtz assisted on the winning goal in a 4-0 victory over Providence on Jan. 25, and extended his scoring streak to eight games with another assist on Jan. 28 vs. Charlotte.

A first-round choice (seventh overall) by New Jersey in the 2020 NHL Draft, Holtz has tallied 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 21 games for Utica this season. He made his NHL debut with the Devils on Nov. 5, 2021, and has notched two assists in seven NHL contests. The 20-year-old native of Stockholm, Sweden, played for Djurgardens IF in the Swedish Hockey League before signing an entry-level contract with New Jersey on Apr. 19, 2021.

Skarek, the AHL Goaltender of the Month, went 5-0-2 during eight appearances in January, recording a 1.98 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage for Bridgeport.

Skarek opened the month with a 24-save effort in a 2-1 overtime loss at Lehigh Valley on Jan. 1, then began a five-game winning streak with 28 saves to help the Islanders past Providence, 4-3, on Jan. 5. He turned aside 34 of 35 shots in a 5-1 victory over Charlotte on Jan. 8, and after a scoreless relief appearance on Jan. 16, Skarek stopped 35 of 36 shots in Bridgeport’s 3-1 win at Providence on Jan. 21. His 25 saves helped the Islanders to a 4-3 overtime win over Springfield on Jan. 23, and he closed out the month with a 33-save performance in a 2-1 OT setback at Hershey on Jan. 29.

Skarek has a record of 12-8-4 in 26 appearances with Bridgeport this season and sports a 2.76 goals-against average along with a .911 save percentage and one shutout. The 22-year-old native of Jihlava, Czech Republic, currently ranks fourth in the AHL in minutes played (1,500), and third in shots faced (776) and saves (707). A third-round choice by the New York Islanders in the 2018 NHL Draft, Skarek is in his third season of North American pro hockey and is 18-26-6 with a 3.07 GAA, an .899 save percentage and two shutouts in 54 career AHL contests with Bridgeport.