The ECHL on Wednesday announced its All-Rookie Team for 2017-18 as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media, who were asked to select a goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards.
A rookie is defined as a player who has played in less than 25 professional games prior to the start of the current season.
2017-18 ECHL All-Rookie Team
G – Mitch Gillam, Worcester Railers (40 gp, 22-14-2, 2.18 GAA, .924 save pct.)
D – Aaron Irving, Kalamazoo Wings (57 gp, 15g, 32a, 47 pts.)
D – TJ Melancon, Norfolk Admirals (58 gp, 15g, 28a, 43 pts.)
F – Grant Besse, Norfolk Admirals (62 gp, 30g, 32a, 62 pts.)
F – Justin Danforth, Cincinnati Cyclones (44 gp, 28g, 31a, 59 pts.)
F – Reid Gardiner, Wheeling Nailers (56 gp, 28g, 26a, 54 pts.)
Since the ECHL began naming the All-Rookie Team in 2000-01, 18 players selected have gone on to play in the National Hockey League: Simon Gamache (2001-02); Mike Glumac, Vern Fiddler, Adam Hauser, Jason Jaffray and Zenon Konopka (2002-03); Kevin Doell and Brian Fahey (2003-04); Joey Tenute (2004-05); Cedrick Desjardins (2006-07); David Desharnais and Anton Khudobin (2007-08); Richard Bachman (2009-10); Kael Mouillierat and Ben Street (2010-11); Philipp Grubauer (2011-12); Laurent Brossoit (2013-14) and Roman Will (2014-15).
The ECHL will announce its First-Team All-ECHL and Second-Team All-ECHL teams on Thursday.
Mitch Gillam of the Worcester Railers is 22-14-2 in 40 appearances this season. He leads the ECHL with five shutouts, leads rookie goaltenders – and is fifth overall – with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage, and is fifth with 2,340 minutes played.
Aaron Irving of the Kalamazoo Wings is tied for first among first-year defensemen with 15 goals and leads rookie blueliners with 47 points in 57 games. He also leads rookie defensemen, and is fifth overall, with 184 shots on goal.
TJ Melancon of the Norfolk Admirals is tied for first among rookie defensemen with 15 goals while ranking second among first-year defenders with 43 points. His 11.6 percent shooting percentage (15-for-129) is fourth overall among ECHL blueliners.
Grant Besse of the Norfolk Admirals leads ECHL rookies with 30 goals and 62 points in 62 games. He is tied for fifth among first-year players with 16 power-play points (5g-11a) and is tied for first among rookies with three shorthanded goals.
Justin Danforth of the Cincinnati Cyclones is second among rookies with 59 points and tied for second with 28 goals despite being recalled to Rochester of the American Hockey League since Feb. 13. Danforth is tied for second among rookies with eight power-play goals and is third with 18 power-play points.
Reid Gardiner of the Wheeling Nailers is tied for second among first-year players with 28 goals and is fourth with 54 points. Gardiner’s 16 power-play points (7g-9a) are tied for fifth among rookies while his eight-game winning goals are tied for the rookie lead and are tied for second overall in the league.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 30th season in 2017-18. There have been 641 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 18 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2017-18 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 31 NHL teams in 2017-18, marking the 21st consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.