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Abdelkader named AHL rookie of the month

by Randy Cleves / Detroit Red Wings
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins center Justin Abdelkader has been named the Reebok Edge/American Hockey League Rookie of the Month for October, the league announced on Monday.

Abdelkader, 21, scored a team-high seven goals and added two assists for nine points in seven games.  He tied for the AHL rookie lead in goals and points for the month, while ranking among the league’s overall leaders in goals (T2nd), power play goals (three, T7th) and shooting percentage (0.500, T1st).

The Muskegon, Mich., native and former Michigan State Spartan scored his first goal in his AHL debut on Oct. 11 at Lake Erie and lit the lamp in five of the month’s seven contests, including Oct. 26 against Norfolk when he netted his first professional hat trick.

Detroit’s second choice (42nd overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Abdelkader made his pro debut last season with the Red Wings in their Presidents’ Trophy-clinching contest on April 3, and then remained with the club as a “black ace” throughout its run to the Stanley Cup championship.

Abdelkader becomes the first Griffin in five and a half years and just the second ever to win the AHL’s Rookie of the Month award, following Tomas Kopecky’s honor for February 2003.

In recognition of his achievement, Abdelkader will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.

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