SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Hockey League (AHL) announced today that Norfolk Admirals defenseman Sami Vatanen (VAH-tah-nihn) has been named a First-Team AHL All-Star, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.
Vatanen, 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, has appeared in 59 games for Norfolk in 2012-13, scoring eight goals and 44 points with 44 penalty minutes. He leads all club defensemen in goals, assists and points, and leads all club rookies in assists and points. He also ranks second overall in scoring for Norfolk, trailing team scoring leader Patrick Maroon by only one point.
Among all AHL defensemen, Vatanen is tied for first in assists, is second in points and is tied for first in power play assists (19). Among all AHL rookies, Vatanen is tied for second in assists, is tied for eighth in points and is first in power play assists. Among all AHL players, Vatanen is tied for 11th in assists and tied for first in power play assists.
The 21-year-old native of Jyväskylä, Finland, made his NHL debut on Feb. 1st with the Anaheim Ducks vs. Minnesota. In three games with Anaheim, Vatanen was scoreless with a plus-1 rating and 15:19 of average ice time.
Vatanen is skating in his first North American professional season after three years playing in the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga). He was selected by Anaheim in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Vatanen was named the SM-liiga defenseman of the year and was named to the league’s postseason All-Star team in both 2010-11 and 2011-12. In 156 career games with JyP Jyväskylä in the SM-liiga, Vatanen posted 32 goals and 103 points with 144 penalty minutes.
Vatanen is just the third Admiral to be named a First-Team AHL All-Star. Prior Admirals to be named First or Second Team AHL All-Stars are Martin St. Pierre (First Team, 2006-07), Troy Brouwer (Second Team, 2006-07), Dustin Byfuglien (Second Team, 2006-07), Mark Barberio (First Team, 2011-12) and Cory Conacher (Second Team, 2011-12).
A complete list of the First and Second 2012-13 AHL All-Star teams may be found at theahl.com.
The Admirals embark on a season-ending six-game road trip beginning with contests on Friday and Saturday nights against the Worcester Sharks. The puck drops on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. All games can be heard on 102.1-FM, 1490-AM or 1021TheGame.com. You may also watch at AHLLive.com.
Don’t miss a minute of Admirals action by purchasing your season tickets today. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime.