AHL grads shine on NHL Awards night

Several American Hockey League alumni picked up hardware on Tuesday night at the National Hockey League’s awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins won the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the "goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position." Rask posted a 36-15-6 record as the Bruins captured the Presidents’ Trophy and led the Eastern Conference in team defense.

An AHL All-Star in 2008, Rask appeared in 102 games with the Providence Bruins from 2007-09, going 60-33-6 with five shutouts.

Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks has won his second James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the defenseman demonstrating "the greatest all-around ability in the position."

Keith, who led all NHL defensemen with 55 assists and ranked second among blueliners with 61 points, also won the award in 2010.

Keith played 154 games in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals from 2003-05 before graduating to become one of the NHL’s top defensemen in the last decade.

Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins won the Frank J. Selke Trophy in recognition of the "forward who best excels in defensive aspects of the game."

It was Bergeron’s second Selke Trophy win in the last three seasons.

Bergeron played in the AHL with the Providence Bruins in 2004-05, tallying 21 goals and 40 assists in 68 games and participating in the AHL All-Star Classic.

Dominic Moore of the New York Rangers received the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player who "best exemplifies the qualities of preseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

Moore, who skated in 148 games over two seasons (2003-05) with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, returned to the NHL this season after taking a leave of absence in the spring of 2012 in order to care for his wife, Katie, after she had been diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. Katie passed away in January of 2013, and Dominic established the Katie Moore Foundation (katiemoore.org) in her memory.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference is this year’s recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded "to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and who has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community."

Ference, named team captain in his first season with the Oilers, played 88 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and was an AHL All-Star in 2001.

AHL alumni also accounted for 10 of the 12 spots on the NHL’s First and Second All-Star Teams, and five of the six berths on the NHL All-Rookie Team.

Rask and Keith were joined by Boston’s Zdeno Chara, Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Dallas’s Jamie Benn as First Team All-Stars. Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov, Nashville’s Shea Weber, St. Louis’s Alex Pietrangelo, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and San Jose’s Joe Pavelski earned Second Team All-Star nods.

Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen and Hampus Lindholm, Boston’s Torey Krug, and Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat were named to the AHL All-Rookie Team.

More than 88 percent of all NHL players in 2013-14 were graduates of the American Hockey League, including 347 players who skated in both leagues over the course of the season.