Saros and Carrier Named to 2017 AHL All-Star Classic

(Photo Credit: Sara Stathas)
(Photo Credit: Sara Stathas)

The American Hockey League has announced the participants for this year’s 2017 AHL All-Star Classic and Milwaukee Admirals defenseman Alex Carrier and goaltender Juuse Saros have been selected. The AHL All-Star festivities take place later this month on January 29-30th at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania which is the home to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Press Release via AHL:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the playing rosters for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, to be held January 29-30 at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Each of the AHL’s four divisions will be represented by 12 players. Rosters were determined by committees of AHL coaches, and all 30 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.

The 2017 rosters feature 37 first-time AHL All-Stars, 12 rookies and seven former first-round draft choices. In addition, 27 of the All-Stars named have been recalled to the National Hockey League already this season, including standouts Jake Guentzel of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh), Zane McIntyre of the Providence Bruins (Boston), Juuse Saros of the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville) and Brendan Perlini of the Tucson Roadruners (Arizona).

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli, Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Todd Nelson and Ontario Reign head coach Mike Stothers will serve as coaches for the event.

The 2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by Giant Food Stores and Velaspan on Jan. 29 (7:30 p.m. ET) will pit the All-Stars from the two Eastern Conference divisions against those from the two Western Conference divisions in seven skills events.

In the 2017 AHL All-Star Challenge on Jan. 30 (7 p.m. ET), the four teams will participate in a round-robin tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each, played entirely at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship, a six-minute game also played at 3-on-3.

Starting at just $26 each, single-event tickets are now on sale for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, featuring the AHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by Giant Food Stores and Velaspan and the AHL All-Star Challenge. To purchase event tickets, please visit phantomshockey.com, call 610-347-TIXX or visit the PPL Center box office.

The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross will be preceded by a Phan Fest on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by a Tailgate Party beginning at 6 p.m. Both events will take place at the PPL Center and tickets for both the Phan Fest ($5) and Tailgate Party ($10) are also available now at phantomshockey.com.

The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: since 1995, more than 93 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the National Hockey League, including Jake Allen, Artem Anisimov, Patrice Bergeron, Ben Bishop, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan, Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Braden Holtby, Tyler Johnson, Martin Jones, Chris Kunitz, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, P.K. Subban and Mats Zuccarello, as well as former Lehigh Valley Phantoms representatives Nick Cousins, Brandon Manning and Anthony Stolarz.

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, trainers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of NHL players last season were AHL graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers. In 2015-16, over 7.1 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America, the highest total attendance in league history.

To view the full 2017 AHL All-Star Classic roster please view the AHL Press Release linked above.

Carrier is the youngest member of the Admirals current active roster. You would never be able to tell that if you’ve watched him play in what is his first pro season. The Québec native has been the Admirals top defenseman this season and, since the arrival and subsequent pairing with veteran Adam Pardy, has seen his all-around play get even better. Carrier has 20 points (4 goals, 16 assists) in 31 games with a plus/minus rating of +6 and 14 penalty minutes.

Saros has done so incredibly well in the AHL this season that, actually, he isn’t in the AHL anymore. The 21-year old from Forssa, Finland arrived to the North American pro scene last season with a ton of hype surrounding him. He met it in 2015-16. I believe he has surpassed it in 2016-17. The work Saros was able to provide for the Admirals this season saw him win 11 games from 13 starts with a 1.76 goals against average, 0.938 save percentage, and one shutout. He has continued this high level of performance for the Predators at the NHL level as well by winning half of his starts from 6 appearances to go with an astonishingly better 1.16 goals against average, 0.957 save percentage, and -also- a shutout. The NHL All-Star break overlaps this stretch of time so -hopefully- Saros is able to participate in the AHL’s All-Star festivities.

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