GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith has been selected to play for the Western Conference AHL All-Star Team at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, which will be held Jan. 30-31 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.
Watch Smith's GriffVision interview
The first rookie defenseman in Griffins history to be chosen for an all-star game, Smith currently ranks among the league’s leaders with eight goals (T5th among defensemen) and 22 points (T9th among rookies, T14th among defensemen) despite missing the last four games due to injury. In addition, his 14 assists through 36 games tie for fourth on the club, while his plus-four rating places sixth.
The 21-year-old Smith, who has already enjoyed five multi-point outings and a pair of four-game point streaks this season, joins a distinguished list of defensemen who’ve represented the Griffins in all-star games: Jakub Kindl (2009), Jonathan Ericsson (2008), Derek Meech (2007), Niklas Kronwall (2005 and 2004), Travis Richards (2004 and 2001 IHL), John Gruden (2002 and 2000 IHL), Joel Kwiatkowski (2001 IHL) and Kerry Huffman (1998 IHL).
A native of Mimico, Ontario, Smith was the Detroit Red Wings’ first choice (27th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, he capped off a spectacular three-year collegiate career at Wisconsin with selections to the WCHA First All-Star Team, the NCAA West First All-American Team, and the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. Also chosen as the WCHA Defensive Player of the year and a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, Smith helped lead the Badgers to an appearance in the championship game of the NCAA Frozen Four in Detroit, following a regular season in which he paced all NCAA defensemen and tied for second overall in the WCHA with 52 points (15-37—52) in 42 games.
Smith will be joined on the ice in Hershey by four former Griffins: forwards Alexandre Giroux (Oklahoma City) and Jeremy Williams (Connecticut), and defensemen Garrett Stafford (San Antonio) and Clay Wilson (Rochester). In addition, former Griffins defenseman and current Peoria head coach Jared Bednar will serve as a co-coach for the Western Conference squad.
Both the 2011 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Jan. 30 (3 p.m.) and the 2011 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, Jan. 31 (7 p.m.) will be televised live nationally in the United States and Canada.
2011 AHL All-Star Classic Presented by Capital BlueCross
Jan. 30-31 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.
2011 AHL All-Stars – Western Conference
Abbotsford – D T.J. Brodie
Chicago – F Spencer Machacek, x-D Paul Postma
Grand Rapids – D Brendan Smith
Hamilton - x-F David Desharnais, F Max Pacioretty, G Curtis Sanford
Houston – D Maxim Noreau
Lake Erie – F Ryan Stoa
Manitoba – F Sergei Shirokov
Milwaukee – F Linus Klasen, G Mark Dekanich
Oklahoma City - x-F Alex Giroux ("C"), F Linus Omark
Peoria – D Nathan Oystrick, x-G Jake Allen
Rochester – D Clay Wilson, F Michal Repik
Rockford – D Brian Connelly
San Antonio - x-D Garrett Stafford, F Brett MacLean
Texas - x-F Travis Morin
Toronto – F Joey Crabb
Co-Coaches: Jared Bednar, Peoria; John Hynes, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
2011 AHL All-Stars – Eastern Conference
Adirondack – D Erik Gustafsson
Albany – F Matt Anderson
Binghamton - x-F Corey Locke, F Bobby Butler
Bridgeport - x-D Mark Wotton ("C"), F Rhett Rakhshani
Charlotte – F Jerome Samson, D Bryan Rodney
Connecticut – F Jeremy Williams
Hershey - x-F Andrew Gordon, x-D Lawrence Nycholat, G Braden Holtby
Manchester – D Viatcheslav Voynov, G Martin Jones
Norfolk – F Johan Harju
Portland – F Luke Adam, D Drew Schiestel
Providence – D Steven Kampfer
Springfield – D John Moore
Syracuse – F Kyle Palmieri
Wilkes-Barre/Scratnon – F Dustin Jeffrey, x-G Brad Thiessen
Worcester - x-F Jonathan Cheechoo
Head Coach: Mark French, Hershey
Assistant Coach: Troy Mann, Hershey
x-starters, as determined by fan balloting