Abbotsford Canucks defenceman Christian Wolanin has been named the 2022-23 winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the American Hockey League’s most outstanding defenceman.
The AHL revealed the winner on Tuesday (April 18) and the award was voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 32 cities.
Wolanin is the first-ever member of the Abbotsford Canucks to receive a year-end award. He was also named an AHL first team all-star last week.
Wolanin had an excellent first season in Abbotsford and has also spent time, including the past few months, with the Vancouver Canucks. He has not played in Abbotsford since Feb. 15.
In Abbotsford he was an integral part of the team’s power play and collected 55 points in 49 games to lead all defenceman in scoring. It was a true breakout offensive season for Wolanin, as his previous AHL career scoring high was 31 points with the Belleville Senators in 2018-19.
His 1.12 points-per-game average was the highest by a defenseman playing at least half of his team’s games since John Slaney (1.22) in 1999-2000, and he was the first defenseman since Ron Wilson in 1979-80 to average at least one assist per game.
The best of the best 🏆— X - Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) April 18, 2023
Congratulations to Christian Wolanin on winning @TheAHL Eddie Shore Award for Most Outstanding Defenceman 👏
Click here for the full Press Release 👉https://t.co/fGz4X1uFyg https://t.co/xsjNNIbdve pic.twitter.com/yKToR0sppn
Wolanin had a 13-game scoring streak from Nov. 10 to Dec. 9, matching the longest by an AHL blueliner in the last 15 years, and also finished with a career-best plus/minus rating of plus-12.
One of the highlights of his season was a four-assist performance on Dec. 4 against the Laval Rocket. He also represented the Abbotsford Canucks at the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic event – the first player ever to do so.
Wolanin last dressed for Vancouver on March 23 after suffering what the team is calling a lower body injury. He did clear waivers over the weekend and is eligible to play for Abbotsford in the playoffs if he is deemed healthy. Abbotsford’s first round playoff series against the Bakersfield Condors is set for April 19, 21 and 23 (if necessary) at the Abbotsford Centre.
Wolanin was signed to a one-year contract by the Canucks on July 14, 2022 and then re-signed with the organization on a two-year deal on March 23.