The American Hockey League announced Friday that Chicago Wolves left wing Daniel Carr has won the Les Cunningham Award as the league’s Most Valuable Player for the 2018-19 season. Carr earned the honor based on a vote by the coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 31 cities.
Carr produced a career-high 30 goals, 71 points and a +35 plus/minus rating in 52 games this season for the Wolves. The 27-year-old Sherwood Park, Alberta, native led the AHL in all three categories on March 5, the day he was the victim of an illegal hit by San Antonio’s Jordan Nolan that caused an injury that kept him out for the final 18 games of the regular season.
Carr has been working diligently to try to return during the Calder Cup Playoffs that start tonight at Allstate Arena — which comes as no surprise to Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. Carr has been laser-focused on excellence since Day 1 and finished the regular season averaging 1.37 points per game — the best showing in the AHL since Keith Aucoin in 2011-12.
“His work ethic was just undeniable,” Thompson said. “You could see it at Vegas’ (preseason) camp. Now, everybody works hard when you’re there, and sometimes there’s dropoff when you come to the American Hockey League. There was no dropoff. There was a focus within him and he made his teammates better because of how hard he was working and preparing in practice every day. It was a great form of leadership.”
Carr joined forces with center Gage Quinney and right wing Brooks Macek early in the season to become the most prolific and efficient line in the AHL. In the Wolves’ home opener on Oct. 13, Carr assisted on all three of Macek’s goals. On Nov. 7 at Milwaukee, Carr became the first AHL player this season to score four goals as Macek assisted on all four. Carr (2G, 2A), Macek and Quinney combined for 10 points in a 4-1 win on Dec. 26 at Milwaukee. All along the way, there were highlight goals such as this game-winner on Oct. 26 at Texas:
Carr earned a spot in the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic and then stayed hot after the All-Star Break. He received AHL Player of the Month honors in February for amassing 8 goals and 9 assists in 11 games. He shared the AHL’s longest point streak of the regular season (12 games from Feb. 1 to March 1) and he joined 2018 Wolves captain Paul Thompson (now with Springfield) as the only players to score four goals in one game this season.
The Central Division champion Wolves open the Central Division Semifinals against the fourth-seeded Grand Rapids Griffins at 7 p.m. today at Allstate Arena. The Wolves also host Game 2 of the best-of-five series at 7 p.m. Saturday and Game 5, if necessary at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28.