Barberio Named AHL's Top Defenseman

(Norfolk Admirals press release) The American Hockey League announced today that Mark Barberio of the Norfolk Admirals has been named the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman for the 2011-12 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

Barberio leads all AHL defensemen in assists (47) and points (60) and is tied for second among blueliners with a plus-25 rating in 71 games this season, helping Norfolk to the AHL’s top-ranked offense, third-ranked defense and best overall record. Barberio, who has set a single-season franchise record for scoring by a defenseman, is also first among AHL rearguards in power-play scoring, notching 30 assists and 37 points as Norfolk ranks second in efficiency with the man advantage (21.9 percent). Voted to the Eastern Conference starting lineup for the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic back in January and named a First Team AHL All-Star last week, the 22-year-old native of Montreal is the youngest winner of the Eddie Shore Award since 1981 (Craig Levie).

Barberio, a sixth-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 2008, established franchise records for a rookie defenseman when he totaled nine goals, 22 assists and 31 points in 68 games in 2010-11.

Barberio is the first Admiral to win the Eddie Shore Award.

This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1959, honors the late Eddie Shore, a member of both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the American Hockey League Hall of Fame who is widely regarded as one of hockey’s greatest defensemen. Shore won a total of five Calder Cups in his career, including two as the general manager of the Buffalo Bisons and three as the longtime owner of the Springfield Indians. Previous winners of the Eddie Shore Award include Steve Kraftcheck (1959), Al Arbour (1965), Noel Price (1970, ’72, ’76), Brian Engblom (1977), Terry Murray (1978, ’79), Brad Shaw (1987), Dave Fenyves (1988, ’89), Eric Weinrich (1990), Darren Rumble (1997), John Slaney (2001, ’02), Curtis Murphy (2003, ’04), Niklas Kronwall (2005), Sheldon Brookbank (2007), Johnny Boychuk (2009) and Marc-Andre Gragnani (2011). (Jon Wright/Norfolk Admirals photo)