The yearly annual award for the AHL’s rookie of the year was announced on Thursday and Ottawa Senators fans will be thrilled with the result. Josh Norris of the Belleville Senators took home the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the league’s most outstanding rookie.
Norris got his first taste of professional hockey after making the jump from the NCAA to the AHL this season. Norris could not have asked for a better rookie season as he led not only his team in points, but was one of the highest scorers in the league. Recording 31 goals and 30 assists for 61 points, Norris finished third in league goal scoring and tied for third place league-wide in points.
His breakout rookie season played a key role in helping Belleville reach first place in the North Division standings. The Belleville Senators were a scoring machine this year with Norris helping lead the pack. Norris guided his team to a league leading 234 goals which was 23 higher than the second highest scoring team.
Norris’s accomplishments were not only impressive by rookie standards. His outstanding season earned him a spot on the AHL First All-Star Team. Additionally, Norris was named to the First All-Rookie Team and finished the season with the most goals (31) and most points (61) by a rookie. His play in the AHL caught the eyes of Ottawa’s management and as a result, Norris was called up to the big stage where he played in three games when the team had a spot to fill. Although he failed to record a point in his short stint in the NHL, Norris looks ready to crack the Senators roster full-time next season.
Norris was a first-round pick by the San Jose Sharks at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The Sharks selected the American center 19th overall after a stellar season with the United States National U18 Team. After leaving the USNTDP, Norris joined the University of Michigan of the NCAA before making the jump pro. He played two seasons with the Wolverines before making it pro with the Belleville Senators. The Sharks traded their 2017 first-round pick as part of a major package that brought Erik Karlsson to San Jose.