2013 AHL All Star Classic Eastern Conference Roster Breakdown

The Eastern Conference roster for Monday's AHL All Star Classic in Providence, Rhode Island, features 17 first-time all stars, 6 first round draft picks, 799 games of NHL experience and 1 Stanley Cup winner.

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, LW, Springfield Falcons
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
42 16 29 45 15 136 36

In only his second professional season, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault is making his second AHL All Star appearance. Last season, signed as an undrafted free agent by the Connecticut Whale, Audy-Marchessault led the Whale in scoring with 64 points (24 G – 40 A). Signed to an entry-level contract in the offseason by Columbus, Audy-Marchessault has continued to display his scoring touch, leading all current AHL players in scoring at the all star break.

Marc Barberio, D, Syracuse Crunch
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
41 6 18 24 -2 118 22

Picked in the 6th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mark Barberio is making his second AHL All Star Classic appearance. He made his debut with the Norfolk Admirals in 2010. Last season, Barberio racked up 61 points (13 G – 48 A) in Norfolk’s roll to the Calder Cup, earning a first team spot on the postseason All Star Team. He also won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s best defenseman. This season, the Lightning moved their affiliation to Syracuse, but Barberio has continued to excel from the blue line.

Bobby Butler, LW, Albany Devils
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
36 16 10 26 11 104 8

Bobby Butler is appearing in his second AHL All Star Classic, having taken home the MVP honors in 2011 while a member of the Ottawa Senators organization. Over the past three seasons, Butler appeared in 94 NHL games with Ottawa, scoring 37 points (16 G – 21 A) and spent the entire 2011-12 season on the NHL roster. This offseason, he signed a one-year two-way contract with the New Jersey Devils and has netted 15 goals in his half-season with Albany.

Matt Donovan, D, Bridgeport Sound Tigers
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
41 6 14 20 4 40 67

Matt Donovan was drafted by the New York Islanders in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, his first professionally, Donovan played 3 games with the Islanders and earned a spot on the AHL’s All Rookie Team. 2012 marks his first appearance in the AHL All Star Classic.

Tim Erixon, D, Springfield Falcons
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
40 5 24 29 9 80 38

Tim Erixon was drafted by the Calgary Flames 23rd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. This season marks his first appearance in the AHL All Star Classic. Last season was his first professional season in North America, where he split time between the Connecticut Whale and the New York Rangers, appearing in 18 NHL games. Prior to that, he spent 3 full seasons in the Elitserien in Sweden. Included in the Rick Nash trade between the Rangers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, Erixon has spent this year on the blue line in Springfield, racking up 29 points so far this season.

Eric Gryba, D, Binghamton Senators
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
32 5 4 9 23 57 55

A third round pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Eric Gryba is making his first appearance in the AHL All Star Classic in his third full AHL season. After finishing last season with a -13 +/-, Gryba has made a turnaround of 36, with a 23 +/- at the All Star break, second-best in the league.

Radko Gudas, D, Syracuse Crunch
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
38 3 10 13 23 82 138

A third round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, Gudas is in his third professional season and is making his first AHL All Star Classic appearance. He was a part of the Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals prior to the Lightning moving their affiliation to Syracuse for the 2012-13 season. His +23 +/- is currently tied for second-best in the league at the All Star break.

Tyler Johnson, C, Syracuse Crunch
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
40 20 19 39 17 110 23

Tyler Johnson is in his second professional season and is making his first AHL All Star Classic appearance. Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, Johnson was a key factor in the Norfolk Admirals’ march to the Calder Cup, scoring goals in 9 straight games in March and points in 11 straight, earning AHL Player of the Month honors. After a 68 point season (31 G – 37 A), Johnson was named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team. Currently, he leads the AHL’s current players in goal scoring.

Bracken Kearns, C, Worcester Sharks
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
38 10 11 21 2 67 45

Bracken Kearns is in his 8th professional season and is making his first AHL All Star Classic appearance. Undrafted out of college, Kearns has seen time in the ECHL and is currently with his 6th AHL squad. In October of 2011, he made his debut with the Florida Panthers, spending 5 games with the NHL squad. After scoring 20 goals in each of the last 2 seasons, Kearn signed with the San Jose Sharks this past offseason.

Chad Kolarik, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
43 17 19 36 2 135 38

Making his first All Star appearance, Chad Kolarik was traded from the New York Rangers to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday in exchange for Benn Ferriero. After spending the season with the Connecticut Whale, Kolarik netted a goal in his first appearance with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 7th round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Kolarik has seen action in 6 NHL games – 2 with the Columbus Blue Jackets and 4 with the Rangers.  He missed the entire season last year with an ACL he tore in training camp.

Robin Lehner, G, Binghamton Senators
GP GAA SV% W L SOL SO
23 1.80 .948 16 5 1 2

Drafted in the second round of the 2009 NHL  Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators, Lehner is making his first AHL All Star Classic appearance. In 2011, Lehner was the Jack Butterfield Award winner as the most valuable player in the Calder Cup Playoffs, earning 3 shutouts in Binghamton’s run to the championship. Over the past two seasons, he has played 13 games with Ottawa. His 16 wins this season are already a career high, while his .948 save percentage is tops in the league.

Brandon Manning, D, Adirondack Phantoms
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
39 5 7 12 -19 92 70

Picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Flyers, Brandon Manning is making his first AHL All Star Classic appearance. Last season, his first professionally, he spent 4 games at the NHL level with the Flyers.

Curtis McElhinney, G, Springfield Falcons
GP GAA SV% W L SOL SO
27 2.28 .926 17 7 2 6

A veteran of 69 NHL games over the past 5 seasons with the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes, McElhinney is making his second AHL All Star Classic appearance – his first was in 2007. In parts of the 5 AHL seasons that he has participated in, McElhinney has won 91 games with 19 shutouts. Signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets this past offseason, McElhinney has already broken the Springfield Falcons’ single season shutout record with 6 after picking up zero last season.

Derek Meech, D, St. John’s IceCaps
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
39 3 15 18 -8 83 32

Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 7th round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Derek Meech is making his second AHL All Star Classic appearance, the last being in 2007. A veteran of 126 NHL games with the Red Wings and 2 with the Winnipeg Jets, Meech is the only member of the Eastern Conference squad with his name engraved on the Stanley Cup, an honor he was given with Detroit in 2008.

J.T. Miller, C, Connecticut Whale
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
35 7 10 17 -9 52 27

Drafted 15th overall by the New York Rangers in 2011, J.T. Miller is making his first AHL All Star Classic appearance. Earlier this month, Miller scored 2 goals and added 9 assists as he won a gold medal with Team USA in the World Junior Championships.

Nino Niederreiter, LW, Bridgeport Sound Tigers
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
41 19 17 36 -1 128 26

The New York Islanders selected Nino Niederreiter 5th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. This season marks his first AHL All Star Classic apperance. In 2010, Niederreiter appeared in 9 games with the Islanders before being returned to the Portland Winterhawks. Last season, he spent the majority of the season with the Islanders, appearing in 55 games but scoring just one goal. This year, Niederreiter was not invited to Islanders training camp despite being among the AHL’s top 12 scorers.

Richard Panik, RW, Syracuse Crunch
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
38 19 13 32 17 75 75

Selected in the second round by Tampa Bay in 2009, Richard Panik is making his first AHL All Star Classic appearance. In his second full AHL season, Panik has already equalled his goal total from last season and is currently sixth in the league in goal scoring.

Chris Summers, D, Portland Pirates
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
39 2 8 10 4 39 43

Making his first AHL All Star Classic appearance, Chris Summers was the Phoenix Coyotes first round selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Over the past 2 seasons, he has appeared in 23 NHL games with the Coyotes.

Niklas Svedberg, G, Providence Bruins
GP GAA SV% W L SOL SO
27 2.34 .921 18 6 2 1

Signed as a free agent by the Boston Bruins, Svedberg is playing in his first North American season and, thus, in his first AHL All Star Classic. Currently, he is second in the league in victories.

Jeff Taffe, C, Hershey Bears
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
40 9 29 38 -1 71 19

One of the most veteran players appearing in this year’s AHL All Star Classic, Jeff Taffe is making his third appearance, having played in the 2003 and 2007 AHL All Star Classics. Currently under contract to the Hershey Bears, Taffe has appeared in over 500 AHL games in his career, scoring over 400 points. Drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, he has also appeared in 180 NHL games with the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild. His 29 assists this season are second in the league, first among current players.

Jamie Tardif, RW, Providence Bruins
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
38 20 9 29 4 115 31

A veteran of over 400 AHL games, Tardif is making his first career appearance in the AHL All Star Classic. His 20 goals this season are tied for the league lead among current players (and second overall behind Jordan Eberle’s 25). In addition, this season is only the second time in his AHL career that he has eclipsed the 20 goal mark. Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by Calgary, Tardif has yet to appear in the NHL, but is currently under contract to Boston.

Tyler Toffoli, RW, Manchester Monarchs
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
41 20 13 33 15 125 12

Drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Kings in 2010, Tyler Toffoli is playing in his first professional season and in his first AHL All Star Classic. His 20 goals are tied for the league lead among active skaters. In 2011, Toffoli was the OHL’s leading scorer while with the Ottawa 67′s. He joined the professional ranks this season after back-to-back 100 point seasons in junior.

Trent Whitfield, C, Providence Bruins
GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
17 1 3 4 -3 29 4

The most experienced player on the Eastern Conference squad, Trent Whitfield is the captain of the Eastern Conference All Stars in his second AHL All Star Classic appearance, the first having been in 2003. Drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fourth round in 1996, Whitfield has appeared in nearly 800 AHL games, scoring over 500 points. Whitfield has also appeared in 194 NHL games with the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. Despite his low production this season, the Providence captain was the first player named to the 2013 AHL All Star Classic at his team’s home arena.

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A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of PuckScene.com. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.