SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Christian Wolanin of the Abbotsford Canucks is the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman for the 2022-23 season.
The award was voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 32 cities.
Wolanin had a career year in 2022-23, leading all AHL defensemen with 49 assists and 55 points despite playing just 49 games for Abbotsford. His 1.12 points-per-game average was the highest by a defenseman playing at least half of his team’s games since John Slaney (1.22) in 1999-2000, and he was the first defenseman since Ron Wilson in 1979-80 to average at least one assist per game. Wolanin had a 13-game scoring streak from Nov. 10 to Dec. 9, matching the longest by an AHL blueliner in the last 15 years, and also finished with a career-best plus/minus rating of plus-12. Recalled by Vancouver on Feb. 18, Wolanin went on to play 16 NHL games this season, collecting three assists.
Wolanin made his second career AHL All-Star Classic appearance in 2023, and was also voted a First Team AHL All-Star for the 2022-23 season. The fifth-year pro from Detroit, Mich., has skated in 138 career AHL contests with Abbotsford, Ontario and Belleville and has totaled 15 goals and 93 assists for 108 points. He was originally a fourth-round selection by Ottawa in the 2015 NHL Draft, and has played 86 games in the NHL with Vancouver, Buffalo, Los Angeles and Ottawa, tallying six goals and 17 assists. Wolanin signed as a free agent with the Vancouver on July 14, 2022, and inked a two-year extension last month.
This award was first presented by the AHL in 1958-59 in honor of the late Eddie Shore, a member of both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the American Hockey League Hall of Fame who is widely regarded as one of hockey’s greatest defensemen. Shore won a total of seven Calder Cups in his career, including two as the general manager of the Buffalo Bisons and five as the longtime owner of the Springfield Indians. Previous recipients of the Eddie Shore Award include Steve Kraftcheck (1959), Bob McCord (1961, ’67), Al Arbour (1965), Jim Morrison (1966), Noel Price (1970, ’72, ’76), Brian Engblom (1977), Terry Murray (1978, ’79), Dave Farrish (1982), Brad Shaw (1987), Dave Fenyves (1988, ’89), Eric Weinrich (1990), Darren Rumble (1997), John Slaney (2001, ’02), Niklas Kronwall (2005), Johnny Boychuk (2009), Mark Barberio (2012), Justin Schultz (2013), T.J. Brennan (2014, ’16), Chris Wideman (2015), Sami Niku (2018), Jake Bean (2020) and Jordan Gross (2022).
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 32 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 2022-23 Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award (outstanding goaltender) will be announced Wednesday.