Price leads AHL grads on NHL Awards night

Carey Price, the MVP of the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs, cleaned up on Wednesday night at the National Hockey League’s annual awards ceremony in Las Vegas, one of several AHL alumni to collect hardware.

Price, the star goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens, won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player to his team, the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender, and the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player as selected by NHL players. Price also was presented with the William M. Jennings Trophy, which goes to the goaltender(s) on the club allowing the fewest goals during the regular season; Price shared that award with fellow AHL alumnus Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Price was just 19 years old when he joined the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs in the spring of 2007. He made his professional debut in two regular-season games, then led the Bulldogs to their only Calder Cup championship by posting a 15-6 record with a 2.06 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and two shutouts in 22 playoff contests, winning the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the AHL’s postseason MVP.

Price led the NHL in wins (44), GAA (1.96) and save percentage (.933) in 2014-15, backstopping the Canadiens to their highest points total since 1989.

The Lady Byng Trophy, awarded for "sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability," went to two-time AHL All-Star Jiri Hudler of the Calgary Flames. Hudler spent three seasons in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, including a 2005-06 campaign in which he recorded 36 goals and 96 points in 76 regular-season games and 22 more points in 16 playoff outings.

Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins captured the Frank Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward for the third time in the last four years. Bergeron was an AHL All-Star in 2005 while skating for the Providence Bruins.

Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy (outstanding defenseman) for the second time in his career after leading all NHL blueliners in scoring with 66 points. Karlsson played with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators in 2009-10.

Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames was honored with the Jack Adams Award as the league’s outstanding head coach. Hartley, an AHL head coach with the Cornwall Aces (1994-96) and Hershey Bears (1996-98) and a Calder Cup winner with the Bears in 1997, led the Flames to a 20-point improvement in the standings over last season and their first playoff berth since 2009.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk took home the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Dubnyk made 38 consecutive starts and helped the Wild to a Stanley Cup Playoff berth with a 27-9-2 record, a 1.78 GAA and a .936 save percentage. Dubnyk has played 140 games in the AHL over his career, most recently a stint with Hamilton in 2013-14.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was presented the Art Ross Trophy after leading the NHL in scoring in 2014-15. Benn helped the Texas Stars to the Calder Cup Finals in 2010, tallying 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 24 playoff contests that spring.

The NHL’s 2014-15 All-Rookie Team featured AHL graduates Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues, Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators, John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars and Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators.

The First All-Star Team included Price, Karlsson and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, and the Second Team featured Dubnyk, Benn and Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber.

All told, more than 88 percent of all National Hockey League players in 2014-15 were graduates of the American Hockey League, including 341 players who skated in both leagues over the course of the season.