For the second time in four years, a Newfoundlander has been named the American Hockey League’s rookie of the year.
Four years after St. John’s native Teddy Purcell was named the league’s top freshman for the 2007-08 season, Kilbride’s Luke Adam took home the AHL’s Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award on Thursday.
The award was voted by the league’s coaches, players and media.
Adam was in the locker room watching Masters coverage with teammates when Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen dropped by with the good news.
“I was never expecting to win something like that, especially with so many other great rookies in this league,” Adam told the Telegram.
To be named to the all-rookie team last week was a huge honour, so to win rookie of the year is pretty thrilling.”
Adam, the Buffalo Sabres’ second-round draft pick in 2008, has a rookie-best 28 goals plus 33 helpers for a 61 points in 54 games.
With three games left on Portland’s regular-season schedule, Adam is second in AHL rookie scoring to Rhett Rakhshani of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who has 63 points. However, the 20-year-old former St. John’s Fog Devil’s numbers would certainly be higher were it not for the 19 games he’s played with the Sabres this season. He’s scored three goals and picked up an assist during his time in Buffalo,
“I was never expecting to win something like that, especially with so many other great rookies in this league.” - Luke Adam
Adan is a plus-22 on the season.
The 20-year-old blasted out of the gate notching two goals and two helpers in an opening night win over the Manchester Monarchs. Sixteen of his 54 games to date have been multi-point contests and his 11-game point streak from this February and March was the longest by an AHL rookie foward since 2005.
“I didn’t come into this season with too many expectations,” Adam says. “If someone told me at the beginning of the year that I would have played one NHL game, or if I had half the amount of points I have, I’d have been happy.”
Adam is the third straight Portland Pirate to be named the AHL’s top rookie; Nathan Gerbe picked up the award for 2008-09 season, while Tyler Ennis won 2009-10.
The Pirates have already clinched top spot in the Atlantic Division, and are poised to enter the post-season later next week with home ice advantage. The Buffalo Sabres are also headed to the NHL’s playoffs, but Adam isn’t thinking about being called up to the big club.
“I’m not focused on that right now, I’m focused on the Pirates and trying to take this team to the Calder Cup.”