GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The American Hockey League announced on Thursday that Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Chad Billins, left wing Gustav Nyquist and goaltender Petr Mrazek have been selected to play for the Western Conference AHL All-Star Team at the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held Jan. 27-28 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.
Grand Rapids is just one of three teams in the league to send a trio of players to the event, marking the first time since 2006 (Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler and Donald MacLean) the team has done so. Additionally, it’s the first time the Griffins have sent a forward, defenseman and goaltender since 2002 (F Chris Bala, F Kip Miller, F Petr Schastlivy, D John Gruden, G Martin Prusek) and the first time the team has ever sent two rookies.
Billins, 23, needed no time to transition to the professional ranks after a four-year career at Ferris State University, racking up 16 points (1-15—16) in his first 16 AHL games. The Marysville, Mich., native has 19 points (1-18—19) in 37 games this season, owning a team-best four-game assist streak (Oct. 19-28) and a pair of three-assist games among his six multipoint outings.
Nyquist, 23, is the first Griffin since Niklas Kronwall (2004 and 2005) to appear in the event in back-to-back seasons after debuting last year en route to capturing the Griffins’ rookie scoring record (22-36—58 in 56 games). The Halmstad, Sweden, native leads the Griffins with 36 points (13-23—36) in 37 games this season, which ties for sixth in the AHL. He also holds the longest point streak of any Griffin this season, racking up 11 points (4-7—11) over eight games from Dec. 28-Jan. 11.
Mrazek, 20, is the Griffins’ first-ever rookie goaltender and first netminder since Daniel Larsson in 2009 to be selected, ranking among the AHL’s leaders with a 2.24 goals against average (8th), a 0.916 save percentage (T18th),13 wins (T10th) and a 0.711 winning percentage (5th). The Ostrava, Czech Republic, native set a franchise record this season when he won his first six starts from Nov. 3-23, and he also put together a five-game winning streak from Dec. 19-Jan. 4.
Both the 2013 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Jan. 27 (7 p.m.) and the 2013 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, Jan. 28 (7 p.m.) will be televised live nationally in the United States and Canada.
2013 AHL All-Stars – Western Conference
Abbotsford – G Barry Brust, F Quintin Laing, (“C”)
Charlotte – D Michal Jordan, G Justin Peters
Chicago – F Brett Sterling
Hamilton – F Brendan Gallagher
Houston – F Jason Zucker
Lake Erie – F Andrew Agozzino, F Mike Sgarbossa
Milwaukee – D Victor Bartley
Oklahoma City – F Mark Arcobello
Peoria – D Mark Cundari
Rochester – D Brayden McNabb, F Kevin Porter
Rockford – D Adam Clendening, F Martin St. Pierre
San Antonio – F Drew Shore
Texas – F Matt Fraser, D Jamie Oleksiak
Toronto – F Ryan Hamilton, F Mike Kostka
Coaches: Dallas Eakins, Toronto; Jeff Daniels, Charlotte
2013 AHL All-Stars – Eastern Conference
Adirondack – D Erik Gustafsson
Albany – F Bobby Butler
Binghamton – D Andre Benoit, G Robin Lehner
Bridgeport – D Matt Donovan, F Nino Niederreiter
Connecticut – F Chad Kolarik
Hershey – D Tomas Kundratek
Manchester – F Tyler Toffoli
Norfolk – F Peter Holland
Portland – F Alexandre Bolduc, D David Rundblad
Providence – F Chris Bourque, G Niklas Svedberg, F Trent Whitfield (“C”)
Springfield – F Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, D Tim Erixon, G Curtis McElhinney
St. John’s – D Zach Redmond
Syracuse – D Mark Barberio, F Tyler Johnson, F Richard Panik
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – F Beau Bennett
Worcester – F Tim Kennedy
Coaches: Luke Richardson, Binghamton; Jon Cooper, Syracuse
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