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Pair of Admirals tabbed to 2011-12 AHL All-Rookie Team

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning
It’s turning out to be quite a week for Norfolk Admirals forward and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Tyler Johnson.

On Tuesday, Johnson was honored as the American Hockey League’s Player of the Month for March, and on Wednesday, earned even more recognition as he and fellow Admirals teammate Cory Conacher were named to the 2011-12 AHL All-Rookie Team.

The team, revealed towards the conclusion of each AHL season and voted on by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 clubs, consists of one goaltender, three forwards and two defensemen.

Joining both Johnson and Conacher on the All-Rookie team were St. John’s IceCaps net minder Eddie Pasquale, Bridgeport Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan, Peoria Rivermen defenseman Cade Fairchild and Grand Rapids Griffins forward Gustav Nyquist.

Cory Conacher moves the puck down the ice in a recent Admirals game. (Photo by John Wright)
After earning an AHL contract with an impressive training camp in Tampa Bay, Conacher has taken the league by storm and helped Norfolk secure the best record in the Eastern Conference. Conacher leads the entire league with 34 goals and ranks second with 73 points in 70 games with the Admirals, including 14 power-play goals and seven game-winners. The 22-year-old native of Burlington, Ont., has had separate scoring streaks of six, nine and eight games this season, and also had a game-high three points in the 2012 AHL All-Star Game. Undrafted out of Canisius College, Conacher signed an NHL deal with the Lightning on Mar. 1.

Second only to Conacher in scoring among AHL rookies, Johnson has 29 goals, 35 assists and 64 points in 70 games for Norfolk this season. The 21-year-old from Spokane, Wash., has been the Admirals’ biggest offensive threat during their current 23-game winning streak, with 36 points and a plus-22 rating during that time. Johnson, who scored a goal in nine consecutive contests from Mar. 3-24, was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for March. He signed as a free agent with Tampa Bay on Mar. 7, 2011.

It also appears as if the Lightning organization has a long history with former members of the AHL All-Rookie Team, as current Bolts forwards Ryan Shannon and Teddy Purcell were also named to the squad in 2006 and 2008, respectively. A pair of former Bolts, Cory Sarich (1999) and Dan Boyle (1999), have also been named to the team in previous years.

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