Jung Cleans Up at Team Awards

Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) goalie and Lightning prospect Torrie Jung was the the main reason for the club's first playoff run this season, and his efforts were recognized with a trio of team awards over the weekend.

According to the Edmonton Sun, the 19-year-old was named team Most Valuable Player and earned the three-stars award as well as the humanitarian award.

Jung started the year as a member of the Kelowna Rockets, and was expected to be their leader in net for an expected run at the league title. Kelowna got cold feet and thought otherwise, and released the former 7th round draft pick who had never been a true No.1 prior to this season. Jung sat at his home in Nanaimo, B.C. for weeks before the Lethbridge Hurricanes decided to take a chance on him as a back-up option, but he never made it out of the Lethbridge practice rink.

In what was described as more or less an act of goodwill to a fellow conference team, Lethbridge dealt Jung to Edmonton, who was floundering at the basement of the Central Division and battling injuries in net. They were in desperate need for some stability in goal.

Jung provided that - and then some - in earning a .500 won-loss record and leading the 2007 expansion franchise to the post-season.

For the year, Jung finished with 20 wins (15th in the league), a 2.56 GAA (7th), a .912 save percentage (tie-5th), and 3 shutouts (tie-10th). All four stat lines blew away his previous career bests with Kelowna (13 wins, 2.80, .896, 1 SO).

He was exceptional in an overtime tie-breaker game for Edmonton in Prince Albert, stopping 35 of 36 shots to help the Oil Kings to their first playoff birth. In the playoffs, his fine play continued, keeping Edmonton competitive against the highly favored Calgary Hitmen. His save percentage of .917 was 6th after the first round, and his 166 saves in 4 games were remarkable. Jung was THE story of that series.

Jung is eligible to return to the Oil Kings as an overager (one of three 20 year olds allowed) next year - something for which the Edmonton media, at least, is hoping. However, he also may have played himself into an AHL tryout contract this year, and/or a pro contract next year, where he could play with the Lightning's ECHL or AHL affiliate and provided organizational depth at that position.