ECHL All-First and Second Teams Announced

Stacey Grubich/InsideTheRink

Today, the ECHL announced the first and second teams for the 2023-24 season. The recipients were named after a vote by the coaches, media, broadcasters, media relations directors, and media. They had to select two defensemen, three forwards, and a goaltender.

Toledo Walleye forward Hawkins named to All-First team

Named to the All-First team was Wheeling Nailers goaltender Taylor Gauthier, Idaho Steelheads defenseman Patrick Kudla, Cincinnati Cyclones defenseman Jalen Smereck, Kansas City Mavericks forward Patrick Curry, Toledo Walleye forward Brandon Hawkins, and Maine Mariners forward Alex Kile.

Representing the All-Second team are goaltender Matt Vernon of the Jacksonville Icemen, Utah Grizzlies defenseman Kyle Mayhew, defenseman Matt Register of the Idaho Steelheads, forward Erik Bradford of the Kalamazoo Wings, Fort Wayne Komets forward Jack Dugan, and South Carolina Stingrays forward Austin Magera.

Gauthier has been sensational this season, posting a record of 24-16-2, a goals-against-average of 2.23, a .923 save percentage, and four shutouts. His four shutouts and .923 save percentage are both tied for the league lead, while he leads all goaltenders with a 2.23 GAA. He ranks fifth with 1,104 saves and ranks second in appearances with 42. Wheeling has a record of 37-38-4-1 for 79 points and are third in the Central Division.

Kudla has been solid in all areas of the ice all season and has 10 goals and 50 assists for 60 points in 58 games. His 50 assists place him third among defensemen. His +21 is tied for 10th in the league, and his 136 shots on goal place him 13th in the league. Idaho has a record of 46-20-2-2 for 96 points but remains second in the Mountain division behind the Kansas City Mavericks.

Smereck of the Cyclones leads all ECHL defensemen in scoring with 14 goals and 57 assists for 71 points in 70 games. His 14 goals are tied for fifth in the league among defensemen, but his 28 power-play assists lead the league. His 32 power-play points are also leading defensemen but are second in the league.

Curry of Kansas City has been on fire all season on the score sheet. He has posted 39 goals and 48 assists for 87 points, placing him second in league scoring. His +32 rating and eight game-winning goals are both tied for second in the league, while his 255 shots on goal place fourth. His offensive production has led the Mavericks all season, as they won the Brabham Cup for the most points by a team during the season.

Hawkins of the Walleye leads the league in scoring by scoring 40 goals and 52 assists for 92 points, thus earning All-ECHL First-team honors for the second year in a row. He has 34 power-play points and 355 shots on goal, while his 15 power-play goals are tops in the league and his 52 assists ties him for fifth.

Mariners forward Kile has contributed in all areas of the ice, but his offensive stats stand out. He has 34 goals and 44 assists for 77 points in 64 games this season. His 34 goals are fourth in the league, while his 226 shots on goal are eighth.

Stingrays forward Magera is one of the consistent forwards in terms of production. His totals for South Carolina this season are 29 goals and 45 assists for 74 points in 68 games. His play has been recognized by the league as he was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team, ranking second with 74 points, third with 29 goals, and third with 45 assists. His 21 power-play points are tied for fifth in the league, and his 14 power-play assists rank fifth among rookies.

Fort Wayne’s Dugan has 20 goals and 57 assists for 77 points in 67 games as the Komets are seventh in the Western Conference. His 57 assists are tied for the league lead, his 23 power-play assists are tied for sixth, he is fifth in the league with 77 points, and he is sixth with 26 power-play points.

Bradford of the Wings, a veteran, has been excellent this season. He has 29 goals and 56 assists for 85 points in 70 games. His 85 points are the most by a Kalamazoo player since they joined the ECHL in the 2009-10 season. Kalamazoo will miss the playoffs this season with a 37-30-3 record for 77 points and sixth in the Western Conference.

Register of Idaho remains one of the most consistent defensemen in scoring in ECHL history. This season, he has 10 goals and 51 assists for 61 points in 69 games. This honor is the eighth in his career, being named to the First-team five times and the Second-team twice before.

Grizzlies defenseman Mayhew is third in team scoring with 15 goals and 42 assists for 56 points in 69 games. Utah’s record is 31-35-4 for 66 points and is 10th in the Western Conference. Mayhew has accounted for 25% of the team’s offense this season and leads teammate Josh Wesley by 14 points for the lead in scoring among defensemen.

Vernon of the Icemen has been outstanding in his rookie season, being named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team this season. He has posted a record of 25-9-2 with a 2.59 GAA, a .912 save percentage, and one shutout. His .667 save percentage in the shootout, 2,110 minutes, and 1,044 saves, leading all Jacksonville goaltenders. Vernon is the son of NHL Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Vernon, who won two Stanley Cups, one with the Detroit Red Wings and one with the Calgary Flames.

The ECHL this season is loaded with talent but these 12 players are the best of the best. Good, solid production across the board, and the league has two elite goaltenders between the pipes for years to come. The league continues to do an excellent job of developing young players and bringing in veteran players to produce in more ways than one. A good group of players this season for the ECHL All-First- and Second-Teams as the league continues to grow.

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