Norris voted AHL’s outstanding rookie

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Belleville Senators forward Josh Norris has been voted the winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie for the 2019-20 season.

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 31 cities.

Norris, who earned spots on the AHL First All-Star Team and the AHL All-Rookie Team for 2019-20, was the league’s top-scoring rookie with 31 goals and 61 points in 56 games for Belleville. He finished tied for third in the overall scoring race, the highest finish by an AHL rookie since Cory Conacher placed second in 2011-12, and paced a Senators offense that led the league in scoring with 3.71 goals per game. Norris had a 13-game scoring streak from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15 – matching the longest by an AHL rookie since 2005 – and was held scoreless in back-to-back games just once from Oct. 19 through the end of the season.

A 21-year-old native of Oxford, Mich., Norris also appeared in three games with the Ottawa Senators this season, making his National Hockey League debut on Feb. 22 vs. Montreal. Norris, who played two seasons at the University of Michigan and was a two-time medalist with the United States at the IIHF World Junior Championship, was originally a first-round selection (19th overall) by San Jose in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft; he was acquired by the Senators in a trade on Sept. 13, 2018.

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), Darren Haydar (2003), Rene Bourque (2005), Nathan Gerbe (2009), Tyler Ennis (2010), Cory Conacher (2012), Tyler Toffoli (2013), Matt Murray (2015), Mikko Rantanen (2016), Frank Vatrano (2016), Daniel O’Regan (2017) and Mason Appleton (2018) and Alex Barre-Boulet (2019).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 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 winner of the 2019-20 Les Cunningham Award (most valuable player) will be announced Friday.