Coming in to the 2019-20 campaign, Jacob Bryson was just one of five rookies that would see playing time with the Rochester Americans this past season. Being a newcomer to the AHL, Bryson wasted no time showing what he was made of as this Amerks rookie saw time in 61 of the team’s 62 games, notched four goals in his last 10 outings, was voted the team’s Most Improved Player and more. You guessed it, it’s time to take a dive into Bryson’s top five moments from the 2019-20 season during his first year in the pros.
1. MAKING HIS PRO DEBUT
It seems like forever ago that the Amerks set out to embark on their 64th season in the American Hockey League, and for Bryson, it would be his first of his pro career.
Back on Oct. 4, 2019, the Amerks faced off against the Syracuse Crunch with a 7:05 pm puck drop at The Blue Cross Arena. On the strength of a pair of goals from forward Tage Thompson, including the game-winner with 43 seconds left in overtime, the Amerks opened the 2019-20 campaign with a 3-2 win over their North Division foe that Friday night.
Along with Thompson, Rasmus Asplund and Zach Redmond each added two assists. Second-year forward Andrew Oglevie completed the scoring for Rochester while goaltender Andrew Hammond earned the victory as he made 27 saves in his Amerks debut. Jarrett Burton, Curtis Lazar, Jean-Sebastien Dea all wore the Rochester jersey for the first game while Bryson dressed in his first professional contest.
2. GETTING THE GOALS GOING
For Bryson, it would take 51 games into his rookie campaign to finally get that sweet feeling of lighting the lamp at the professional level.
With what we now know as the last 10 games of the 2019-20 season, Bryson came out on fire. From Feb. 19 to Mar. 11, the rookie defenseman notched four goals over his final 10 games of the year while adding five assists over that span.
Of those four goals, one would be the overtime winner back on Feb. 21 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the third of five overtime matchups that the Amerks had seen over a six-game span during that time. Another would be a shorthanded tally during the Amerks back-to-back weekend against the Belleville Senators.
3. ON-ICE OPPORTUNITIES
The Amerks seem to always have a great mix of veterans and rookies on their roster, giving younger players ample time and opportunity to display their skillset.
Bryson was one of five rookies that saw time with the Amerks this past season, playing most of the season paired with two-time AHL All-Star and Eddie Shore Award winner Zach Redmond. Of those five rookies, Bryson saw the most time on ice as he appeared in 61 of the 62 games that the Amerks played in 2019-20.
Taking a step back and looking at the entire Amerks roster, Bryson was one of just three players that appeared in 61 games on the year. The other two players were Will Borgen and Eric Cornel, both of which have been in Rochester for three or more seasons.
4. ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
After discussing how Bryson was one of five rookies on the Amerks in 2019-20, it should come as no surprise that the first-year blueliner who played in all but one game was named the Amerks Rookie of the Year.
Bryson led all Amerks rookies and ranked second in scoring among team defensemen with 27 points (4+23), more than justifying his selection as the team’s top newbie for this past season.
5. MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
On top of being voted Amerks Rookie of the Year, Bryson was also voted the Amerks’ Most Improved Player.
Being that he appeared in all but one game for Rochester, there was ample playing time for the rookie defenseman to sharpen up his skillset by the end of the year. Bryson finished the season on fire with 16 points (4+12) over his final 21 games, leading all Amerks defensemen in scoring over that span. The Amerks rookie also had five points on two goals and three assists in his last five appearances.