It was somewhat surprising when the American Hockey League announced the playing roster for the AHL All-Star Game later this month in Atlantic City and Brayden McNabb was listed as representing the Amerks. That’s not meant to take anything away from McNabb. The obvious choice was Derek Whitmore but that was without looking at statistics around the league. McNabb has been playing with the Sabres since November 26th and is making a big case for himself to stay up there as long as possible.
Brayden McNabb played in the first 19 games of the season for the Amerks scoring one goal and putting nine assists on the scorecard. There’s a reason the rookie was called up to the Sabres and has stayed up there, he’s a good defenseman. Well, the other reason was that no one else was ready so he got the call and he proved himself. TJ Brennan was already called up and Joe Finley didn’t have an NHL deal at the time.
Will McNabb play in the game? If he’s back in Rochester by January 28th, yes he will. If he’s still with the Sabres he will not. Well, that’s my guess at least. It’s doubtful a team would send a player down just to play in a showcase. It doesn’t benefit him or the Sabres in any way.
The reason Whitmore was not picked was because his numbers don’t match up to the leaders around the Western Conference. He’s the leading scorer on the Amerks and one of the leaders of the team but there are plenty of players ahead of him playing at a higher level. You can’t disagree with that.
TJ Brennan could have also been a choice having played in six more games and scored five goals more than McNabb but Brennan is a third year pro and considering their similar numbers the league would prefer the rookie. That won’t be spoken about officially anywhere but All-Star games are a big showcase for the league to show off some veteran leaders but also the rookies who are the future of the NHL.
If McNabb can’t make it the next choice would have to be TJ Brennan.. assuming they want a defenseman. The Amerks will be in Toronto the day before the game so it could also depend on who wants to make the long trip.
The American Hockey League All-Star Classic will be held on January 29 and 30 in Atlantic City New Jersey.
Here’s the complete roster:
2012 AHL Eastern Conference All-Star Team
Michael Leighton, Adirondack Phantoms
Tyson Sexsmith, Worcester Sharks
Jeff Zatkoff, Manchester Monarchs
Cam Atkinson, Springfield Falcons
Keith Aucoin, Hershey Bears
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Connecticut Whale
Chris Bourque, Hershey Bears
Carter Camper, Providence Bruins
Cory Conacher, Norfolk Admirals
Boyd Kane, Hershey Bears (“C”)
Corey Locke, Binghamton Senators
Colin McDonald, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Andy Miele, Portland Pirates
Kyle Palmieri, Syracuse Crunch
Trevor Smith, Norfolk Admirals
Mats Zuccarello, Connecticut Whale
Mark Barberio, Norfolk Admirals
Calvin de Haan, Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Simon Despres, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Thomas Hickey, Manchester Monarchs
Matt Irwin, Worcester Sharks
Paul Postma, St. John’s IceCaps
Zach Redmond, St. John’s IceCaps
Matt Taormina, Albany Devils
2012 AHL Western Conference All-Star Team
Yann Danis, Oklahoma City Barons
Cedrick Desjardins, Lake Erie Monsters
Matt Hackett, Houston Aeros
Joe Colborne, Toronto Marlies
Philippe Cornet, Oklahoma City Barons
Jon DiSalvatore, Houston Aeros
Matt Fraser, Texas Stars
Darren Haydar, Chicago Wolves (“C”)
T.J. Hensick, Peoria Rivermen
Nazem Kadri, Toronto Marlies
Krys Kolanos, Abbotsford Heat
Jon Matsumoto, Charlotte Checkers
Chris Mueller, Milwaukee Admirals
Gustav Nyquist, Grand Rapids Griffins
Brandon Pirri, Rockford IceHogs
Jerome Samson, Charlotte Checkers
Kevin Connauton, Chicago Wolves
Ryan Ellis, Milwaukee Admirals
Cade Fairchild, Peoria Rivermen
Brayden McNabb, Rochester Americans
Alex Plante, Oklahoma City Barons
Colby Robak, San Antonio Rampage
Frederic St. Denis, Hamilton Bulldogs
Clay Wilson, Abbotsford Heat