– Griffins defenseman Jakub Kindl
and goalie Daniel Larsson
have been selected to play for the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., Jan. 25-26.
Kindl was chosen as a starter via online fan balloting, while Larsson was selected as a reserve by a committee of AHL coaches.
Kindl, 21, is enjoying a breakout second season with Grand Rapids. He leads Griffins 'blueliners, ranks fifth overall on the club and places seventh among AHL defensemen with 22 points (5-17-22) through 36 games, already eclipsing his offensive totals (3-14—17) from his rookie campaign last season.
The Sumperk, Czech Republic, native also stands second on the Griffins with 17 assists and leads the team with 10 power play assists, helping fuel a Grand Rapids offense that ranks fourth in the AHL (3.36 goals per game) and a power play unit that is tied for sixth (19.8 percent).
Detroit’s first choice (19th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kindl gained valuable experience last spring while serving as a “black ace” during the Red Wings’ run to the 2008 Stanley Cup championship.
Kindl is the sixth Grand Rapids defenseman in eight seasons to be selected to play in the AHL All-Star Classic, joining Jonathan Ericsson
(2008), Derek Meech (2007), Niklas Kronwall
(2004-05), Travis Richards (2004) and John Gruden (2002).
Larsson, 22, is experiencing a stellar first season in North America after being named the Swedish Elite League’s top goaltender and rookie of the year for 2007-08. He's compiled a 12-4-1 record through 19 games and ranks among the AHL’s leaders with four shutouts (T1st), a .924 save percentage (4th), a 2.30 goals against average (T4th), and 12 wins (T9th).
A native of Boden, Sweden, Larsson has teamed with 2008 AHL All-Star Jimmy Howard
to backstop a Griffins' defense that ranks third in the league (2.58 goals allowed per game) and that recently set a franchise record by recording four shutouts in a six-game span.
Starting with a 1-0 win over Houston on Nov. 11, Larsson has posted a 10-2-1 record with four shutouts, a 1.80 GAA and a 0.939 save percentage over his last 14 outings. Amazingly, his 3-1 loss last Friday at Hartford marked his first regulation loss of the season when playing an entire game, and it continued a trend in which he has posted a 0-4 record in his first decision of each month and a 12-0-1 mark in all other games.
Detroit’s fourth pick (92nd overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Larsson becomes the ninth Grand Rapids goaltender in 13 years to be chosen to play in an all-star game, following in the footsteps of Howard (2008), Joey MacDonald
(2005), Marc Lamothe (2003) and Martin Prusek (2002) in the AHL, and Mike Fountain (2001), Jani Hurme (2000), Ian Gordon (1998) and Pokey Reddick (1997) in the International Hockey League.
Kindl and Larsson will be joined at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic by three former Griffins, including forward Alexandre Giroux (Hershey) and defensemen Bryan Helmer (Hershey) and Danny Syvret (Philadelphia) of the Canadian AHL All-Star team.