The American Hockey League has announced that the 2019-20 AHL regular season will be paused for the safety of its players, employees, and fans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
San Jose, Ca - The San Jose Barracuda (@SJBarracuda), proud American Hockey League (@TheAHL) affiliate of the San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks), today announced individual team award winners for the 2019-20 season as selected by the San Jose Barracuda Hockey Operations Department.
Barracuda Most Valuable Player: Maxim Letunov
In his second professional season, Maxim Letunov collected a team-best 40 points and 28 assists. He also finished tied for second on the team in power-play goals (4) and first in power-play assists (10). On Feb. 4, 2020, Letunov made his NHL debut at Calgary and two nights later, he scored his first NHL goal at Edmonton. In total, he appeared in three games with the Sharks, posting one goal. Letunov joins Alexander True (2018-19), Antoine Bibeau (2017-18), Troy Grosenick (2016-17) and Ryan Carpenter (2015-16) as winners of the team's Most Valuable Player award.
Barracuda Rookie of the Year: Joachim Blichfeld
An AHL All-Star in 2019-20, Joachim Blichfeld finished the season first on the Barracuda in power-play goals (5), third in points (32), second in goals (16) and fourth in shots (114). Among AHL rookies, the Denmark native ranked ninth in goals, tied for seventh in power-play goals, tied for 12th in points, 12th in shots and tenth in points-per-game (.73) among skaters who appeared in at least 40 games. Blichfeld also dressed in three contests with the Sharks, making his NHL debut on Dec. 12, 2019 against the New York Rangers. Blichfeld joins Josef Korenar (2018-19), Rudolfs Balcers (2017-18), Danny O'Regan (2016-17) and Nikolay Goldobin (2015-16) as winners of the team's Rookie of the Year award.
Barracuda Top Defenseman: Trevor Carrick
After helping the Charlotte Checkers capture the Calder Cup in June, the Carolina Hurricanes shipped blueliner Trevor Carrick to San Jose in August in exchange for defenseman Kyle Wood. In his first year in teal, the 25-year-old skated in 48 games with the Barracuda, finishing fourth among all AHL defenseman with ten goals and, on Dec. 3, 2019, he became the first Barracuda d-man to record a hat-trick in a 6-2 win over Bakersfield. The hatty was the first for a Barracuda skater since John McCarthy scored three times in a win against Cleveland on March 9, 2018. In addition, among Barracuda d-men, Carrick finished first in goals, plus/minus (+17), penalty minutes (55), power-play goals (3), shorthanded goals (1), shots (108), shooting percentage (9.3%), first goals (3) and game-winners (4). Carrick, who also skated in three games with the Sharks, becomes the team's inaugural winner of the Top Defenseman award.
John McCarthy Leadership Award: Jeffrey Viel
In 2019-20, sophomore Jeff Viel surpassed his rookie point, goal and assist totals in 14 fewer games. Viel racked up 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 54 games, finishing fourth on the club in goals, third in assists, tied for fourth in points, and first in insurance goals (3). In addition, his 103 penalty minutes and seven major penalties ranked eighth and tied for fifth in the AHL respectively. The 22-year-old also wore an "A" as an assistant captain for the team. Viel becomes the team's inaugural winner of the John McCarthy Leadership award. The John McCarthy Leadership Award will be annually presented to the player who displays incredible leadership qualities on the ice, amongst his teammates and within the community, through his preparation, hard work, character and inclusivity.
McCarthy, who was selected by the Sharks in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL Draft, holds all major Barracuda franchise records including games played (275), goals (62), assists (76), points (138), power-play goals (17), and shorthanded goals (5). He served as the Barracuda team captain since 2016 and also served as captain of the Worcester Sharks for the 2012-2013 season.
In total, McCarthy appeared in 640 regular season games with San Jose's NHL and AHL franchises. In 2018, McCarthy was selected to the United States Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Team, appearing in five games at the Pyeongchang Olympics. McCarthy retired last December after suffering an Ischemic stroke.
Roy Sommer Most Inspirational Award: Manuel Wiederer
The Barracuda's winner of IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his contributions to the San Jose community during the 2019-20 season, Manny Wiederer, entered this season with something to prove, having torn his ACL the year prior. Wiederer managed to skate in 35 games, totaling 12 points (three points, nine assists). He also, he finished fourth on the team in plus/minus (+6). Wiederer was one of four skaters to be given an "A" as an assistant captain for the team at the beginning of the season. Wiederer joins McCarthy (2016-17, 2017-18) and Viel (2019-19) as winners of the award, which was implemented following the 2016-17 season. This season, the Most Inspirational Award was renamed for Sommer, who held the role of head coach for the Sharks AHL affiliate for 22 seasons before joining the coaching staff of the Sharks midway through last season.
Sommer is the all-time leader in games coached and wins in American Hockey League history, posting a 772-664-48-153 (W-L-T-OTL/SOL) record. Each of those wins has come behind the bench of San Jose's AHL affiliate (Kentucky 1998-01, Cleveland 2001-06, Worcester 2006-15, San Jose 2015-19). He also served as an assistant coach with the Sharks during the 1997-98 season under Darryl Sutter.
In his time as head coach in the AHL, Sommer has promoted more than 130 players to the National Hockey League.
Three Stars Award: Josef Korenar
Presented to the player who accumulates the most three-star nominations at home games during the season, Josef Korenar joins Francis Perron (2018-19), Rudolfs Balcers (2017-18), Troy Grosenick (2016-17) and Aaron Dell (2015-16) as winners of the team's First Star Award. In 2019-20, Korenar earned three first-star honors and two second-star honors during home games, going 9-9-1 on home ice during the 2019-20 season.