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San Jose, CA – The San Jose Barracuda (@SJBarracuda), proud American Hockey League (@TheAHL) affiliate of the San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks), announced today the individual team award winners for the 2021-22 season as selected by the players.
Barracuda Most Valuable Player: John Leonard
In his second professional season, John Leonard finished tied for first on the Barracuda in shorthanded goals (2) and shots (148), tied for third in goals (17) and power-play goals (7), and fifth in points-per-game (.71). After notching just seven points (three goals, four assists) in his first 20 games, Leonard would collect 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in his final 25 outings. The Amherst, MA native also skated in 14 contests with the Sharks, scoring one goal and adding one assist. The other winners of the team’s MVP award include Alex True (2020-21, 2018-19), Maxim Letunov (2019-20), Antoine Bibeau (2017-18), Troy Grosenick (2016-17) and Ryan Carpenter (2015-16).
Barracuda Rookie of the Year: Nick Cicek
Among team rookies, Cicek finished second in assists (20) and third in points (25), shots (72), penalty minutes (62) and points-per-game (.47). The Winnipeg, MB native signed a two-year contract with the Sharks on April 11, 2022. He joins Brinson Pasichnuk (2020-21), Joachim Blichfeld (2019-20), 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: Nick Cicek
Among team defensemen, Cicek ranked second in points, assists, shots, games played (52) and third in goals, power-play goals (1) and penalty minutes. Cicek even served as an alternate captain in select games and becomes the first player to win both the team’s Rookie of the Year award and Top Defenseman award. Cicek joins Jake Middleton (2020-21) and Trevor Carrick (2019-20) as winners of the Top Defenseman award which was established in 2019-20.
John McCarthy Leadership Award: Sasha Chmelevski
Following the trade of forward Dylan Gambrell to the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 24, 2021, Sasha Chmelevski took over as one of the team’s two alternate captains. Chmelevski ranked first on the club in assists (25), third in points (37), and fifth in goals (12), power-play goals (5), and shots (120). The Huntington Beach, CA native collected his first pro hat trick on Jan. 8, 2022, which also was Roy Sommer’s 800th career win. Chmelevski joins Jaycob Megna (2020-21) and Jeff Viel (2019-20) as winners of the award which was established in 2019-20. The John McCarthy Leadership Award is 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 was selected by the Sharks in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL Draft and now serves as a Development Coach for the Barracuda. He holds all major Barracuda franchise records including games played (275), goals (62), assists (76), points (138), and shorthanded goals (5). He was the captain of the Barracuda from 2016 to 2019 before his retirement and also served as captain of the Worcester Sharks for the 2012-13 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 in December of 2019 after suffering an Ischemic stroke.
Roy Sommer Most Inspirational Award: Adam Raska
A seventh-round pick in 2020, Raska spent most of the season with the Barracuda, appearing in 49 games while collecting 14 points (five goals, nine assists), 57 penalty minutes, 65 shots, one power-play goal, and one shorthanded goal. The Barracuda were the youngest team in the AHL in 2021-22 and Raska, 20, was the team’s youngest player. The Koprivnice, Czech Republic native joins Brandon Coe (2020-21), Manny Wiederer (2019-20), Jeff Viel (2018-19) and John McCarthy (2017-18, 2016-17) as winners of the award, which was implemented following the 2016-17 season. In 2020, the Most Inspirational Award was renamed for Sommer, who has held the role of head coach for the Sharks AHL affiliate for 24 seasons.
Roy Sommer is the all-time leader in games coached and wins in AHL history, posting a 807-721-48-165 (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-present). He also served as an assistant coach with the Sharks during the 1997-98 season under Darryl Sutter and an Associate Coach for the Sharks in 2019-20. In his time as head coach in the AHL, Sommer has promoted more than 150 players to the NHL.
Three Stars Award: Joachim Blichfeld
Presented to the player who accumulates the most points through three-star nominations at home games during the season, Joachim Blichfeld joins Joel Kellman (2020-21), Josef Korenar (2019-20), Francis Perron (2018-19), Rudolfs Balcers (2017-18), Troy Grosenick (2016-17) and Aaron Dell (2015-16) as winners of the team’s Three Stars Award.