Colorado Avalanche prospect Stefan Elliott
has been awarded the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the Western Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year, the league announced today at the 2011 WHL Awards Luncheon in Calgary.
Elliott, 20, edged fellow Avalanche prospect Tyson Barrie
for the honor. Barrie was the runner-up this season after winning the award last year. Elliott was named to the WHL’s Eastern Conference First All-Star Team, while Barrie was selected to the Western Conference First All-Star Team.
Elliott led all WHL defensemen with 31 goals and tied for first among blueliners with 81 points in 71 games for the Saskatoon Blades. He was the first WHL defenseman to reach the 30-goal mark since 2006-07. The Vancouver, B.C., native led the entire league in game-winning goals (12) and plus/minus rating (+62).
“It’s a great honor to be the recipient of this award,” said Elliott, who was also nominated for the WHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player. “I would like to congratulate all the other nominees and award winners, especially our head coach Lorne Molleken and Tyson (Barrie) for being nominated. I would like to thank my teammates, without them I wouldn’t be here. I’d also like to thank the WHL for providing me the opportunity to play in this league and to develop as a hockey player.”
Colorado’s third selection (second round, 49th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft, Elliott finished his junior career as the highest scoring defenseman in Blades franchise history, compiling 241 points (82g/159a) in 282 career games. He helped Saskatoon capture the league’s best record during the regular season and went on to tally eight points (3g/5a) in 10 postseason contests this spring.
Elliott signed an entry-level contract with the Avalanche on March 21. He concluded the 2010-11 season with Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, where he collected two assists in five playoff games.
Earlier this week, Avalanche forward prospect Joey Hishon
(Owen Sound) was named to the Ontario Hockey League’s First All-Star Team. Other Avalanche prospects to earn postseason honors this year include goaltender Calvin Pickard
(Seattle), who was named to the WHL’s Western Conference Second All-Star Team, goaltender Kieran Millan
(Boston University), who was a Hockey East Second Team All-Star and goaltender Kent Patterson
(University of Minnesota), who was named to the All-WCHA Second Team.