SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Coachella Valley Firebirds forward Jesper Froden, Bridgeport Islanders forward Ruslan Iskhakov and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender Dustin Tokarski have been selected as the league’s award winners for October.
Froden, the AHL Player of the Month, scored five goals and added six assists for 11 points in six games for Coachella Valley during October.
Froden found the scoresheet in each of his first six outings of the season, beginning with a one-goal, two-assist effort in the Firebirds’ 6-5 win at Calgary on Oct. 16. He scored again in a 3-1 win over the Wranglers on Oct. 17, and then tallied a goal and an assist each in back-to-back games against Abbotsford on Oct. 21 and Oct. 23. Froden posted two more assists on Oct. 28 against Calgary, and finished the month with a goal to seal Coachella Valley’s 5-3 win over the Wranglers on Oct. 29.
Froden, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, signed as a free agent with Seattle on July 14, 2022, after spending last season in the Boston Bruins organization, where he posted 16 goals and 18 assists in 49 AHL games with Providence along with one goal in seven NHL contests with Boston. Froden played the two previous years with Skelleftea AIK, and was named the Swedish Hockey League’s rookie of the year in 2019-20.
Iskhakov, the AHL Rookie of the Month, began his North American career with four goals and seven assists for 11 points in seven games for Bridgeport during October.
After being held scoreless on opening night, Iskhakov tallied points in six straight games to finish October, starting with his first career AHL goal in a 3-2 win at Springfield on Oct. 15. He tallied an assist as the Islanders earned a 5-4 overtime win at Providence on Oct. 21; picked up a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over Laval on Oct. 22; and recorded two helpers in Bridgeport’s 5-2 decision over Hartford on Oct. 23. Iskhakov notched a goal and an assist in an overtime loss in Springfield on Oct. 28, and closed out the month with his fourth consecutive multiple-point game, potting the game-winning goal and adding two assists in a 6-3 win at Lehigh Valley on Oct. 29.
A second-round selection by the New York Islanders in the 2018 NHL Draft, Iskhakov played two seasons at the University of Connecticut (2018-20) before skating in Finland and Germany the last two years. The 22-year-old Moscow native finished the month as the top-scoring rookie in the AHL.
Tokarski, the AHL Goaltender of the Month, went 4-0-1 during five starts in October, stopping 129 of 136 shots to record a 1.38 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Tokarski helped the Penguins earn a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to Lehigh Valley on Oct. 15, then allowed exactly one goal in each of his next four starts, beginning with a 26-save effort in a 2-1 win vs. Laval on Oct. 21. He stopped 30 shots in a 2-1 win at Providence on Oct. 23, and posted 32 saves as the Penguins defeated Cleveland, 5-1, on Oct. 26. Tokarski finished the month with a 22-save performance in a 3-1 victory at Lehigh Valley on Oct. 28.
A two-time Calder Cup champion, Tokarski rejoined the Pittsburgh Penguins organization as a free agent after spending the 2021-22 season in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, making 29 appearances. He has played 368 games in the AHL over his 14 pro seasons, compiling a record of 197-121-31 with a 2.48 goals-against average, a .912 save percentage and 27 shutouts. Tokarski is also 20-7 (1.85, .932) in 30 career AHL postseason appearances, winning championships with Norfolk in 2012 and Charlotte in 2019. Originally drafted by Tampa Bay in 2008, Tokarski has played 76 NHL games with the Lightning, Montreal, Anaheim and Buffalo.