The American Hockey League on Wednesday announced its 2013-14 All-Rookie team, which was voted on by coaches, players and media in each of the league's 30 cities. Each player will receive a custom-designed crystal award in recognition of his selection.
Here are the six players named to the team:
Joni Ortio, Goaltender (Abbotsford Heat): In his first full season of professional hockey in North America, Ortio led the Heat's return to the Calder Cup playoffs by going 24-8-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. Selected in the sixth round (No. 171) by the Calgary Flames in the 2009 NHL Draft, Ortio won his first nine decisions and also went 4-4-0 in nine games with the Flames this season.
Brenden Kichton, Defense (St. John's IceCaps): Chosen by the Winnipeg Jets in the seventh round (No. 190) of the 2013 draft, Kichton is the AHL's top-scoring rookie defenseman with 10 goals, 35 assists and 45 points in 71 games for the IceCaps. He represented St. John's at the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic and was named the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for January.
Ryan Sproul, Defense (Grand Rapids Griffins): Sproul was a second-round pick (No. 55) in the 2011 draft whose 10 goals and 31 points are each tied for second among AHL rookie defensemen. Led by Sproul, the Griffins' defense is second in the league in allowing 2.43 goals per game.
Curtis McKenzie, Forward (Texas Stars): McKenzie is the top-scoring rookie in the AHL with 22 goals, 38 assists and 60 points in 70 games for the league-leading Stars. He has 15 multipoint games and tied a franchise record with four assists in a game Jan. 17 at Charlotte. The Dallas Stars' sixth-round pick (No. 159) in 2009 also has an AHL-high 32 power-play points.
Teemu Pulkkinen, Forward (Grand Rapids Griffins): Playing in his first pro season in North America, Pulkkinen leads the defending champion Griffins with 30 goals and 55 points in 67 games. Among AHL rookies, Pulkkinen, 22, is first in goals, third in points and first in plus/minus at plus-18. He is a fourth-round pick (No. 111) of the Detroit Red Wings in 2010 who skated in three games with the parent club this season.
Ryan Strome, Forward (Bridgeport Sound Tigers): Currently skating for the New York Islanders, Strome remains Bridgeport's leader in assists (36), points (49) and plus/minus (plus-16) in 37 games. Selected fifth by the Islanders in the 2011 draft, Strome was the AHL's Rookie of the Month for November, had a point in 10 straight AHL games over one stretch and scored two goals in the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic.