Budaj earns first team AHL All-Star honors

Reign goalie Peter Budaj has been named a first team AHL All-Star, the league announced on Thursday afternoon.

The 33-year-old netminder holds a 39-14-0 record this season and leads the league going into Thursday in nearly every important goaltending statistical category.

The Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, native tops the AHL in wins (39), shutouts (9), goals against average (1.75; no other goalie has under 2.00) and save percentage (.931; tied for first with two others). He has more victories than 22 of the 30 AHL teams this season.

It’s been a rebound affair of epic proportions for Budaj, who’s in his first year with the Kings organization. A season ago in net for the St. John’s IceCaps, Budaj went winless at 0-9-6 in 19 contests. Now, he’s on the cusp of a 40-win season with the chance to earn that victory as soon as Friday when the Reign host Bakersfield at 7 p.m. in their final regular season home game.

For his efforts in Ontario, the Kings rewarded him with a one-year contract extension on March 2. Earlier in the season he was also selected to participate in the AHL All-Star festivities to represent the Pacific Division.

Behind Budaj, the Reign (41-18-4-1, .680 winning percentage) have clinched playoff berth and most recently the Pacific Division title with his season-high 46-save performance in a 4-1 win at Stockton on Wednesday.

Budaj has appeared in 297 NHL games with Los Angeles, Colorado and Montreal, posting a 125-107-36 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.

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