The first of what are likely several regular season awards for Texas Stars coaches and players rolled in Wednesday afternoon as forward Curtis McKenzie was named to the 2013-14 AHL All-Rookie Team, one of six players in the league given that honor.
McKenzie, 23, leads the AHL in rookie scoring with 60 points in 70 games and was the December rookie of the month. He was drafted by the Stars in the sixth round (159th overall) if the 2009 entry draft and played four seasons at the University of Miami (Ohio) before joining the Texas Stars very late last season.
Stephen has a detailed write-up on McKenzie here, and the synopsis of it is McKenzie now holds the Texas Stars rookie scoring records for assists and total points in a season after spending much of the season on the top line and first power play unit, both of which have been rolling merrily along for much of the year. (Matt Fraser holds the record for rookie goals with 37 in a season.) That top line, which featured Colton Sceviour and Travis Morin along with McKenzie for much of the season, was arguably the best in the AHL.
McKenzie, a 6-foot-2, 209-pound left wing, has continued to produce even though Sceviour is up with the big club now, a bright sign for his future.
This is the second time a Texas Stars player has received a full-season AHL award, the first being Matt Fraser, who was named to the second-team All-AHL squad last season for his goal-scoring prowess. There are more strong candidates this year in Morin for All-AHL honors and AHL MVP, Willie Desjardins for coach of the year and McKenzie for rookie of the year.
Here's the official release from the Texas Stars:
The Texas Stars, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, announced today that left wing Curtis McKenzie has been named to the 2013-14 AHL All-Rookie Team, as voted by coaches, players and media in each of the league's 30 member cities.
McKenzie, 23, is the top-scoring rookie in the AHL, having notched 22 goals and 38 assists for 60 points in 70 games for the league-leading Stars. The CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for December has registered 15 multiple-point games, and he tied a Texas franchise record with four assists in one contest on Jan. 17 at Charlotte. McKenzie also has 32 power-play points on the year - most among AHL rookies - helping the Stars to the top-ranked unit in the league. A native of Golden, B.C., McKenzie was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2009 and played four seasons at Miami University.
2013-14 AHL All-Rookie Team
Goaltender - Joni Ortio, Abbotsford Heat (34gp, 24-8-0, 2.37gaa, .924vs%, 2so)
Defenseman - Brenden Kichton, St. John's IceCaps (71gp, 10+35=45pts., +5, 3 GWG)
Defenseman - Ryan Sproul, Grand Rapids Griffins (70gp, 10+21=31pts., 4 PPG, 2 GWG)
Forward - Curtis McKenzie, Texas Stars (70gp, 22+38=60pts., 9 PPG, 4 GWG)
Forward - Teemu Pulkkinen, Grand Rapids Griffins (67gp, 30+25=55pts., +18, 9 PPG, 2 GWG)
Forward - Ryan Strome, Bridgeport Sound Tigers (37gp, 13+36=49pts., +16, 21 PP pts.)
Each player will receive a custom-designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the 2013-14 AHL All-Rookie Team. This is the second time in franchise history that a Texas Stars player has received a year-end AHL award. The first came last season when left wing Matt Fraser was selected to the 2012-13 AHL Second All-Star Team.