The Afternoon Shift – Nov. 29

Gather 'round to honor the Griffins' top performers. / Photo by Bobby Pulte

Nineteen games — exactly a quarter of the AHL’s reduced 2011-12 schedule — have already passed for the Griffins, and based on production totals thus far, several players are on an early pace to make their marks among the franchise’s all-time single-season statistical leaders.

To no surprise, leading scorer Chris Conner is poised to stage the largest assault on the record books, with three team records and two other top-10 rankings in his sights. Most notably, Conner’s 16 assists put him on track for 64, which would break Jiri Hudler’s six-year-old standard of 60.

Jamie Johnson already has scored 10 goals, just two shy of his 78-game production last season. If he can sustain his lamp-lighting prowess, he would join Donald MacLean (56 in 2005-06) and Michel Picard (46 in 1996-97) as the only Griffins to tally 40 goals in a season. Along the way, he could also set a team record for shooting percentage, as his current 27.8 rate is a full seven percentage points north of MacLean’s 20.7 mark from his MVP campaign.

Goaltender Joey MacDonald has missed the last three and a half weeks with a concussion after being freight-trained by Charlotte’s Chris Terry on Nov. 5, and his return is still likely a couple of weeks away. The injury has forced an unfortunate intermission into one of MacDonald’s best seasons ever, as his 2.17 GAA and 0.930 save percentage each rank fifth in the AHL. If maintained, both figures would place within the Griffins’ top 10, while with two shutouts in just nine appearances, MacDonald could shatter the single-season record of six achieved by him and four others if he can get healthy and return soon.

Also worth mentioning is Gustav Nyquist, whose 56-goal and 80-point paces would each fall within the top 10 in team history. Nyquist’s 20 points tie him for second among AHL rookies and leave him only 12 points shy of cracking the Griffins’ top-10 single-season rookie scoring list. Even more incredible, his projected 80 points would obliterate the franchise record for a rookie (55), set by Glen Metropolit way back in 1997-98.

Without further ado, here’s the Griffins’ honor roll for the first quarter:

Player Current Total Projected Total Projected Rank
Chris Conner 16 assists 64 1st
  23 points 92 3rd
  2 shorthanded goals 8 1st
  2 first goals 8 T5th
  2 unassisted goals 8 1st
Garnet Exelby 89 penalty minutes 356 3rd
Jamie Johnson 10 goals 40 3rd
  3 power play goals 12 T7th
  3 first goals 12 1st
  27.8 shooting percentage 27.8 1st
Joey MacDonald 2.17 goals against average 2.17 7th
  0.930 save percentage 0.930 T2nd
  2 shutouts 8 1st
Gustav Nyquist 14 assists 56 2nd
  20 points 80 T9th
Tomas Tatar 65 shots 260 3rd

Today’s Griffins links:

AHL link:

Alumni news and notes:

NHL alumni goals:

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