The American Hockey League announced today that Brad Thiessen of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has been named the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2010-11 season, as voted by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.
Thiessen has posted a sparkling record of 34-7-1 in 44 appearances and ranks first in the AHL with his franchise-record 34 wins, second with a 1.93 goals-against average, ninth with a .922 save percentage and tied for first with seven shutouts while helping the Penguins to the top-ranked defense in the AHL. The 2010-11 First Team AHL All-Star was twice named the Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month this season – sharing the honor in October 2010 with Penguins teammate John Curry – and was the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 13. He was also voted the starting Eastern Conference goaltender at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic but missed the event due to injury. Thiessen, whose record includes an 18-3-1 mark on the road, has not lost back-to-back decisions all season.
Thiessen win total is not the only new franchise record. In blanking the Norfolk Admirals on February 18, he set a new mark for shutouts in a single season (six), when he passed Marc-Andre Fleury’s five clean sheets recorded in 2004-05. Thiessen’s 26 saves against the Abbotsford Heat on March 11 then set a new mark for career shutouts (11), achieved in just under two full seasons, as he overtook Sebastien Caron’s ten put up during a five-year career.
A second-year pro from Aldergrove, B.C., Thiessen signed with Pittsburgh on Apr. 8, 2009, following three seasons at Northeastern University. He becomes the second Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender to win the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien. Bastien played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury, and would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship.
Previous winners of the award, first presented in 1984, include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Manny Legace (1996), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Dany Sabourin (2006), Michael Leighton (2008), Cory Schneider (2009) and Jonathan Bernier (2010).
Celebrating its historic 75th anniversary season in 2010-11, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2010-11 season ends on Apr. 10, and 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.