Bernier captures Baz Bastien Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Jonathan Bernier of the Manchester Monarchs has been named the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2009-10 season, as voted by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 29 cities.

A 2009-10 First Team AHL All-Star, Bernier has posted a record of 30-20-6 in 57 appearances while leading the league in shots faced (1,807), saves made (1,693), save percentage (.937) and shutouts (nine). Bernier is 20 minutes off the league lead in minutes played (3,366) and places third in wins and second in goals-against average (2.03), helping the Monarchs to the second-ranked defense in the AHL. He was voted the starting Canadian goaltender at the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic and was named the Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month for October 2009 and the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 31.

A 21-year-old native of Laval, Que., Bernier becomes the youngest recipient of the Bastien Award since Martin Biron (also 21) won it in 1999. Bernier was a first-round draft choice (11th overall) by Los Angeles in 2006 and was 23-24-4 with a 2.40 GAA and a .914 save percentage in 54 games as a rookie with Manchester last season. Bernier is also 3-0-0 in three NHL appearances with the Kings this season, including his first NHL shutout on Mar. 30 at Nashville.

The Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1984, honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien, who played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury. Bastien would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship. Previous winners of the award include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Manny Legace (1996), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Dany Sabourin (2006), Michael Leighton (2008) and Cory Schneider (2009).

Currently in its 74th season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 58 million fans have attended AHL games across North America over the past nine years. The 2009-10 season ends on Sunday, and 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.