Mike Kostka(21) Norfolk Admirals

Unlikely hero award: undrafted, 4th year Norfolk Admirals’ defenseman Mike Kostka(21) scored both the game 3 and game 4 Calder Cup Championship series’ winning goals, which certainly makes it an odd AHL playoff stat I’m sure.

He managed just 7 goals in 52 games during the regular season, yet in 18 postseason contests he had 6 goals and added 6 assists, good enough for first in scoring among defenseman in the playoffs.

When Tampa Bay Lightning traded for him back in December (along with Evan Oberg), then definitely saw some point-scoring potential from the 26-year d-man (he put up 16 goals and 39 assists in 80 games with Rochester Americans in 2010/2011, which led the team) but were picking him up mostly for some added depth in their own zone.

Signed to a one-year, two-way deal by Florida Panthers, he was a bit surprisingly one of the last roster cuts before being reassigned to their AHL affiliate San Antonio Rampage.

Originally signed to a 2-year entry level deal out of college with Buffalo Sabres, the 6’1″ 210 lbs. blue liner will in all likelihood be rewarded with at least a two-year extension to stay in the system and a taste of some NHL playing time can’t be far behind.

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