Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for regular season games played in October 2015, including Erie Otters forward Alex DeBrincat, Flint Firebirds defenceman Vili Saarijarvi, Mississauga Steelheads rookie Alexander Nylander and Kingston Frontenacs goaltender Lucas Peressini.
OHL Player of the Month – Alex DeBrincat (Erie Otters):
2016 NHL Draft prospect Alex DeBrincat is the OHL Player of the Month for March after he tallied 16 goals, seven assists and 23 points in 12 games. DeBrincat recorded points in 10 of his 12 outings, with seven multi-point performances and set a new Erie Otters regular season franchise record on October 1st, scoring five goals in a 6-1 win over the Niagara IceDogs. A week later, DeBrincat buried four more goals against the IceDogs in a 7-2 win on October 9th. He earned first star honours on four separate occasions last month and was named the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the week ending October 5th after he led the league with five goals in two games.
DeBrincat, a 17-year-old from Detroit, Michigan, earned OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year honours in 2014-15 after scoring 51 goals and 53 assists for 104 points in 68 games. He has recorded 17 goals, eight assists and 25 points through his first 13 games this season and was one of seven OHL players listed as first round candidates by NHL Central Scouting in their September ‘Players to Watch’ list. DeBrincat was a three-time OHL Rookie of the Month recipient in 2014-15, receiving the honours in October, November and March.
OHL Defenceman of the Month – Vili Saarijarvi (Flint Firebirds):
Flint Firebirds 18 year-old blueliner Vili Saarijarvi is the OHL Defenceman of the Month. The Detroit Red Wings prospect put together an outstanding first full month in the OHL, scoring two goals along with 9 assists for 11 points in 11 contests to go with a plus/minus rating of plus-9. The Finnish rearguard registered points in seven of his 11 October appearances, scoring his first OHL goal as part of a two-goal effort against the Ottawa 67’s on October 16th. Saarijarvi had three multi-point performances, including three assists against the Peterborough Petes on October 11th. Saarijarvi is currently tied for the lead in scoring among OHL defencemen with two goals, 14 assists and 16 points in 14 games.
A native of Rovaniemi, Finland, Saarijarvi was Flint’s first round, ninth overall selection in the 2015 CHL Import Draft. A third round pick by the Detroit Red Wings at the 2015 NHL Draft, Saarijarvi was named best defenceman of the 2015 World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Switzerland after he paced Finland to a fourth place finish with three goals, six assists and nine points in seven games.
OHL Rookie of the Month – Alexander Nylander (Mississauga Steelheads):
Mississauga Steelheads winger Alexander Nylander is the OHL Rookie of the Month for October after recording nine goals, nine assists and 18 points in 13 games. Nylander’s big month included points in 11 of his 13 contests, recording six multi-point outings in the process. The 17 year-old son of former NHL forward Michael Nylander received star of the game recognition on four occasions and enjoyed a 10-game point streak from October 4-29 when he compiled eight goals and seven assists. Quickly developing a reputation for scoring highlight reel goals, Nylander was part of the Tip Top Tailors OHL Plays of the Week on two different occasions in October.
A native of Södertälje, Sweden, Nylander was Mississauga’s first round, 12th overall pick in the 2015 CHL Import Draft. He helped Sweden claim silver at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this past summer, scoring two goals, four assists and six points in five contests. He is eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft and was one of seven OHL players listed as first round candidates by NHL Central Scouting in their September ‘Players to Watch’ list. Nylander currently leads the Steelheads, as well as all OHL rookies in scoring with 10 goals, 11 assists and 21 points in 16 games.
Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month – Lucas Peressini (Kingston Frontenacs):
Lucas Peressini of the Kingston Frontenacs is the Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month for October. The Nobleton, ON, native played to a 7-1-0-0 record supported by a 1.85 goals against-average and a .944 save percentage with one shutout. Peressini made 35 savesto blank the Oshawa Generals in a 1-0 victory on October 18th, recording his sixth career OHL shutout after setting a Frontenacs franchise record with five last season. Peressini made a season-high 37 saves in a 3-2 overtime win over the Erie Otters on October 23rd, handing them their first loss of the season while earning second star honours. The 20 year-old rattled off six straight wins from October 7-25 helping establish the Frontenacs as one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams.
Peressini comes off a remarkable 2014-15 campaign, setting new Frontenacs single-season franchise records for goals against-average (2.32) and save percentage (.922) to be named OHL Goaltender of the Year. The 6’2″, 188Ib netminder attended training camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs this past September and has gone 7-3-1-1 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage through 12 games this season.