Groulx named outstanding defenseman

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Danny Groulx of the Worcester Sharks has been named the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman for the 2009-10 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 29 cities.

In his first season in the San Jose Sharks organization, Groulx has provided a solid veteran foundation for one of the youngest teams in the AHL. His 11 goals, 51 assists and 62 points all represent career highs for the eighth-year pro, and he leads all league defensemen and all Worcester skaters in assists, points and shots on goal (247) while his plus-17 rating ranks first among Worcester rearguards. Groulx has played all 76 games to date for the Sharks, and his 184 consecutive games played represent the longest active streak in the AHL.

A 28-year-old native of LaSalle, Que., Groulx has not looked back since recording 11 points in his first nine games of the 2009-10 season. His nine-game scoring streak from Jan. 16 to Feb. 6 included his first career four-point game (2g, 2a at Springfield on Feb. 3), and he had a career-best four assists in a game vs. Abbotsford on Feb. 26. Groulx participated in the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic back in January, and last week was named a First Team AHL All-Star. In 491 career AHL games, Groulx has recorded 35 goals and 157 assists for 192 points, and he was a member of Hamilton’s Calder Cup championship team in 2007.

This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1959, honors the late Eddie Shore, a member of the Hockey Hall of Famer and the American Hockey League Hall of Fame widely regarded as one of hockey’s greatest defensemen. Shore won a total of five Calder Cups in his career, including two as the general manager of the Buffalo Bisons and three as the longtime owner of the Springfield Indians. Previous winners of the Eddie Shore Award include Steve Kraftcheck (1959), Al Arbour (1965), Noel Price (1970, ’72, ’76), Brian Engblom (1977), Terry Murray (1978, ’79), Brad Shaw (1987), Dave Fenyves (1988, ’89), Eric Weinrich (1990), Darren Rumble (1997), John Slaney (2001, ’02), Curtis Murphy (2003, ’04), Niklas Kronwall (2005), Sheldon Brookbank (2007), Andrew Hutchinson (2008) and Johnny Boychuk (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.