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Bolts farmhand Taormina wins AHL d-man of the year

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders

UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 06: Matt Taormina #55 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 6, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Lightning 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Matt Taormina, the 30-year-old journeyman that’s spent the last two seasons with the Lightning organization, scored a nice accolade on Friday by capturing the Eddie Shore Award, given annually to the AHL’s most outstanding defenseman.

More, from the AHL:

[Taormina] established career highs in goals (14), assists (42) and points (56) in 66 games with Syracuse thus far. He is tied for the league lead in scoring among defensemen and is first in power-play points (29), and shows a plus-9 rating for a Crunch team that has been battling for the top spot in the North Division all season.

Taormina was named a 2016-17 First Team AHL All-Star earlier this week, and played in his third consecutive AHL All-Star Classic back in January.

Undrafted out of Providence College, Taormina has appeared in 59 career NHL contests with the Bolts and Devils. He’s also spent time with the Senators and Sharks organizations.

Several AHLers have used the Shore award to catapult themselves to the next level. Chris Wideman, who won it with Binghamton in 2015, has spent the last two years playing in Ottawa. Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz won it in ’13, and the Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk captured it in 2009.

Last year’s winner, T.J. Brennan, appeared in seven games for the Leafs during the ’15-16 campaign, and has played all of this year with Philly’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.