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Hutchinson named AHL's top blueliner

First Wolf Pack player to win prestigious Shore Award

Thursday, 04.10.2008 / 3:01 PM / News
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Hutchinson named AHL\'s top blueliner
Defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, who joined the Rangers organization in a trade with Carolina last season, capped off a stellar 2007-08 regular season on Thursday by winning the Eddie Shore Award as the American Hockey League's top defenseman.

Andrew Hutchinson
Hutchinson became the first player in the Hartford Wolf Pack's history to win the prestigious award, which is voted on by AHL coaches, players and media representatives. The sixth-year pro has had a career year in Hartford in 2007-08, setting personal highs with 18 goals, 46 assists and 64 points in 65 games. He is also tied for fifth in the entire league with a plus-25 rating and tied for first among AHL defensemen with 13 power-play goals.

Named the third captain in franchise history earlier this season, Hutchinson has been a dependable defensive presence as well as an offensive catalyst: With him in the lineup, the Wolf Pack have a record of 41-14-2-8, score an average of 3.54 goals per game and convert on 23.3 percent of their power plays; without him, they are 6-6-0-0, average 2.00 goals per game and are 4-for-54 with the man advantage (7.4 percent).

A 28-year-old native of Evanston, Ill., Hutchinson set franchise defenseman records for goals and points in a season and tied the mark for assists. He became the first Wolf Pack rearguard ever to register a hat trick in a win over Providence on Feb. 8, and had the first five-point game by a Hartford blueliner on Feb. 29 vs. Norfolk.

Hutchinson won a Calder Cup with Milwaukee in 2004 and a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, and has helped the Wolf Pack to the franchise’s 11th consecutive Calder Cup Playoff berth. He has totaled 49 goals and 111 assists for 160 points in 255 career AHL games, and has also skated in 95 NHL games, contributing 10 goals and 23 assists.

He also became the first Wolf Pack defenseman ever to register a hat trick in a win over Providence on Feb. 8, and had the first five-point game by a Hartford blueliner on Feb. 29 vs. Norfolk. Hutchinson won a Calder Cup with Milwaukee in 2004 and a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, and has helped the Wolf Pack to the franchise’s 11th consecutive Calder Cup Playoff berth. He has totaled 49 goals and 111 assists for 160 points in 255 career AHL games, and has also skated in 95 NHL games, contributing 10 goals and 23 assists.

The award, first presented by the AHL in 1959, honors the late Eddie Shore, a Hockey Hall of Famer and American Hockey League Hall of Famer widely regarded as one of hockey’s greatest defensemen. Shore won a total of five Calder Cups in his career, including two as the general manager of the Buffalo Bisons and three as the longtime owner of the Springfield Indians. Previous winners include Steve Kraftcheck (1959), Al Arbour (1965), Noel Price (1970, ’72, ’76), Brian Engblom (1977), Terry Murray (1978, ’79), Brad Shaw (1987), Dave Fenyves (1988, ’89), Eric Weinrich (1990), Darren Rumble (1997), John Slaney (2001, ’02), Curtis Murphy (2003, ’04), Niklas Kronwall (2005) and Sheldon Brookbank (2007).