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Springfield Thunderbirds hand out annual team awards

The Blues AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, handed out their annual team awards last week.

NHL: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Last week as the regular season came to a close, the St. Louis Blues American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds handed out their annual team awards.

Team MVP - Matthew Peca

St Louis Blues v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

Forward Matthew Peca, who was originally a seventh-round (201st overall) pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning had 23 goals and 37 assists for 60 points in 68 games played for the Thunderbirds this season along with playing five games for the Blues in early December 2021, recording one point.

Jim Denver Good Guy Award - Tommy Cross

The veteran blueliner has been a career AHLer since being selected by the Boston Bruins in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Cross just surpassed 500 AHL games earlier this season and is just three points away from 200 for his career.

Cross has also never missed the playoffs in any full AHL season that he has been a part of.

Good Sportsmanship Award - Sam Anas

AHL: MAR 07 Springfield Thunderbirds at Laval Rocket Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The forward became the first player born in the Washington D.C. area to sign in the NHL when he signed his entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild on April 15, 2016, Anas is also of Greek descent.

Anas won the AHL’s scoring title during the 2019-20 season but was unable to crack the Wild’s roster and eventually decided to leave as a free agent before signing with the Blues on October 10, 2020.

Dick Casey True Grit Award - Will Bitten

NHL Prospects Tournament Day-5 Chicago vs Minnesota Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

William “Will” Bitten was originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and spent the past four seasons with the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate before being acquired by the Blues in exchange for Nolan Stevens on December 29, 2021.

Bitten recorded 32 points this season split between Iowa and Springfield.

Unsung Hero Award - Hugh McGing

AHL: MAR 07 Springfield Thunderbirds at Laval Rocket Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

McGing is a 2018 fifth-round draft pick by the Blues and joined the Blues then AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets as a rookie in 2020-21, scoring three goals after serving as captain of Western Michigan University, who are coached by former Blues head coach Andy Murray the year prior.

The 5’8” native of Chicago had 34 points (14 goals and 20 assists) in 67 games played with the Thunderbirds this season.

Best Defensive Player Award - Calle Rosen

NHL: APR 29 Golden Knights at Blues Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Rosen is currently with the Blues and scored his first two goals with them in a game against the Nashville Predators on Easter Sunday and has a total of seven points in 18 games played this season.

After bouncing around to several teams after leaving Sweden to pursue his NHL dreams in May 2017, Rosen signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues on July 30, 2017.

Rosen also had four goals and 24 assists in 40 games with the Thunderbirds this season.

Booster Club MVP - Charlie Lindgren

St. Louis Blues v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The goalie who became affectionately known to Blues fans as “Chucky Sideburns” after he was recalled from Springfield while Jordan Binnington was in COVID protocols and he was called into action after Ville Husso was injured in a game against the Florida Panthers on December 7, 2021. Lindgren entered the game with the score tied 3-3 and was credited with the win when the Blues won 4-3 in overtime.

Over 34 games with the Thunderbirds this season, Lindgren went 24-7-1 with a .925 save percentage.

Lindgren’s brother also plays in the NHL as he is Ryan Lindgren of the New York Rangers.

As the Blues prepare to begin their first-round playoff series with the Minnesota Wild the Thunderbirds are also in the playoffs and will either face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Pittsburgh Penguins affiliate or the Hershey Bears, the Washington Capitals affiliate.