Appleton voted AHL’s top rookie for 2017-18

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Manitoba Moose forward Mason Appleton has been voted the winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie for the 2017-18 season.

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

Photo: Jonathan Kozub

Appleton leads all AHL rookies in scoring (and is tied for fourth overall) with 63 points this season while skating in all 73 games for Manitoba to date. He is also first among rookies with 42 assists, tied for second with 186 shots on goal and third with six game-winning goals, and he is the leading scorer on a Moose team that is tied for third in the AHL in goals per game. Appleton, who represented Manitoba at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic, was named a 2017-18 First Team AHL All-Star last week and earned a spot on the AHL All-Rookie Team as well. A 22-year-old native of Green Bay, Wis., Appleton was chosen by the Winnipeg Jets in the sixth round of the 2015 NHL Draft and played two seasons at Michigan State University.

This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1947, honors the late Dudley (Red) Garrett, a promising young player who lost his life during World War II while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. Garrett split his only pro season, 1942-43, between the AHL’s Providence Reds and the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Previous winners of the Garrett Award include Terry Sawchuk (1949), Jim Anderson (1955), Bill Sweeney (1958), Roger Crozier (1964), Gerry Desjardins (1968), Rick Middleton (1974), Darryl Sutter (1980), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Steve Thomas (1985), Ron Hextall (1986), Brett Hull (1987), Felix Potvin (1992), Corey Hirsch (1993), Darcy Tucker (1996), Daniel Briere (1998), Rene Bourque (2005), Teddy Purcell (2008), Tyler Ennis (2010), Tyler Toffoli (2013), Matt Murray (2015), Frank Vatrano (2016), Mikko Rantanen (2016) and Daniel O’Regan (2017).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. More than 87 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2017-18 regular season ends Sunday, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.

The winner of the 2017-18 Les Cunningham Award (most valuable player) will be announced Friday.