Five Buffalo Sabres prospects were honored Sunday night as the Rochester Americans awarded their players at Blue Cross Arena.
Despite playing only 43 games in Rochester, Clarke MacArthur still reigned as the team’s MVP this season.
Finishing the year with 42 points (14+28), the Amerks’ captain ranked fourth on the team in scoring, and tied for second with 9 power play goals.
MacArthur spent the remainder of the year with the Buffalo Sabres in two stints, combining for 15 points (8+7) in 37 games, including an overtime goal in his season debut, Nov. 7 against the Boston Bruins.
The 23 year old previously spent two seasons with the Amerks, capturing the scoring title in 2006-07 with 63 points (21+42) and leading rookie scoring on the team in 2005-06 with 53 points (21+32).
Leading Rochester on the stat sheet this year, however, was winger Mark Mancari who wrapped up the 2007-08 campaign with 57 points (21+36).
Mancari also became the only player on the Amerks to participate in all 80 games and served as their sole representative in the 2008 All-Star Game.
Taking the place of MacArthur in the event- who was playing in Buffalo- Mancari recorded the hardest slapshot in the skills competition, at a blazing 102.8 mph. The shot broke the previous AHL record belonging to the Chicago Wolves’ Kurtis Foster who set the bar in 2003 at 101 mph.
Taking away duel honors for the Amerks’ at the year’s end were Marc-Andre Gragnani and Dylan Hunter.
Gragnani was elected as both the team’s Rookie of the Year, leading all 10 of the club’s first-year players in scoring with 52 points (14+38), and the Most Popular Player on the Americans.
The 21-year-old’s success merited a two-game call-up with the Sabres in February as he filled in for a depleted defense corp.
Hunter was named as the Booster Club’s Most Improved Player on the team and in addition received the Fairand / O’Neil Sportsmanship award.
Finishing third in scoring for the Amerks, Hunter recorded a career-high 47 points (20+27) in his sophomore season.
In his rookie campaign in 2006-07, Hunter tallied eight goals and 28 points.
Rounding out the list of award-winners for Sabres prospects was blueliner Mike Weber
, who was named as the Man of the Year for his efforts in the community.
Weber ranked second on the team in rookie scoring, and third in defensive scoring, with 14 points (1+13).
The Pittsburgh, Penn. native also finished first on the team in penalties with 178 PIMs.
Weber also enjoyed a brief call-up with Buffalo near the end of the season. Playing in the final 16 games of the year the 21 year old added three assists, including a helper that clinched a 2-1 overtime decision against the Bruins on March 30.