Brendan Smith of the Grand Rapids Griffins (March 30, 2011)
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Updated: Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011, 5:23 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011, 5:23 PM EDT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Highly touted Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith claimed yet another award Wednesday, when he was named to the American Hockey League's All-Rookie Team.
"It's a great honor," Smith said. "Anytime you get recognized for something, especially being a rookie, it's an honor."
Despite missing 17 games due to injury, Smith ranks among the AHL's top defensemen with 12 goals (1st for rookies and 6th overall) and 32 points (4th for rookies and 25th overall). In fact, only two rookie defensemen in Griffins history have registered more points than Smith's 32 in a single season and both are now playing in the NHL. Florida Panther defenseman Clay Wilson posted 37 points, while former Red Wing and now Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey posted 33 points for Grand Rapids, both during the 2005-06 season.
"That's a great honor for Brendan," said Griffins head coach Curt Fraser. "He's got a bright future ahead of him with the Detroit Red Wings. He's done a great job for us."
The 22-year-old Smith is also just the third Griffins player ever named to the AHL ALL-Rookie Team, joining current Red Wings Justin Abdelkader (2008-09) and Jimmy Howard (2005-06).
"Obviously, I work off and have been playing a lot with Janny (veteran Doug Janik) this year and he's been helping me," Smith said. "All of the vets have been helping me, encouraging me and giving me words of wisdom, so I think I gotta give them all the credit."
Smith, a first round draft pick of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings in 2007, was also named to the AHL All-Star Team earlier this year.
With just six games to play in the regular season, Brendan and the Griffins continue their playoff push Friday night in British Columbia, Canada with the first of back to back, must win games, against the Abbotsford Heat.