First off, I want to begin by saying I hope you are all safe and healthy in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. We all have to do our part to keep our families, our friends, our neighbours and ourselves from catching and spreading this terrible virus.
We don’t know when hockey will return, and for this piece here, we don’t know when the National Hockey League Draft will take place and how exactly the NHL will conduct the draft or how the draft order will be set. But here at OHLW, we will continue to bring you the usual content regarding the draft as we will get through this and it will eventually take place.
Our draft eligible player of the year isn’t always a reflection of the player we believe should be the first Ontario Hockey League player selected at the draft, but rather the player that performed the best from the first drop of the puck to the final horn of the season.
This year, for us, that player is Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s.
Rossi led the entire OHL in assists (81) and points (120) and finished tenth in goals (39) en route to capturing the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy for most points on the season. He also led the entire league in plus/minus with a plus-69, and finished second in powerplay assists (31).
Rossi was named in the recent Coaches Poll as the Eastern Conference’s smartest player, best playmaker and best shootout shooter. He finished second in the voting as best on face-offs and defensive forward. He was voted as the third best penalty killer by the coaches.
On three occasions, November, December and February, Rossi was selected our draft eligible player of the month. The quest for perfection was interrupted twice by a player we gave consideration here to: Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit.
Perfetti finished second only to Rossi in the OHL scoring race with 111 points and assists (74). It’s the first time since the 2014-2015 season when teammates Dylan Strome and Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters that draft eligible players finished one-two in the OHL scoring race. Prior to those two accomplishing the feat, you’d have to go back to 2009-2010 when Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin both finished with 106 points and went one-two respectively at the NHL Draft.
We also gave some quick consideration to London Knights’ netminder Brett Brochu. In a season where there were more questions then answers coming into the season, Brochu took to the crease and ran with it. He set an OHL record with 32 wins for a first year netminder on lost just 6 games on the year. Not bad for a goaltender not ranked on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch Lists or mid-term rankings!