Spring is getting closer! But first, we have some business to take care of. Each month, OHL Writers has a Draft Eligible Player of the Month. This season, due to the number of players eligible for the draft mostly because of the lost season a year ago thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we changed it up a little and give you our choice for draft eligible player of the month for a forward, a defenceman and a goaltender.
So, here we go.
For the first time this season, projected number one overall pick at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft tops the list. Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs was an offensive force for the month of February. Appeared in 12 games and scored 6 goals and 13 assists in those contests. He was held off the scoresheet just three times and only two other games were a 1-point game.
Strangely enough, he was named the game’s first star twice and second star once in the month of February.
David Goyette of the Sudbury Wolves also received consideration. Goyette scored 7 goals and 8 assists in just 10 games in February. Also considered was Luca Del Bel Belluz of the Mississauga Steelheads. DBB appeared in 12 games scoring 6 times while assisting on 7 others.
Some will say Goyette was more deserving and an argument could be made for him. But what tipped the scales for us was Wright’s defensive play. Wright finished the month a plus 10 while Goyette was even. While that could be considered a team stat, Wright on most nights was getting key minutes going up the opposition’s best lines.
Just like the forwards this was a tossup between Michael Buchinger of the Guelph Storm and Christian Kyrou of the Erie Otters, who would have been the first back-to-back choice at any position on the season.
However, we went with Buchinger because he was the definition of consistency in February. He appeared in 12 games, scored twice and added 15 assists. The consistency part: He was held pointless just once during the month.
Kyrou had 4 goals and 11 assists in 13 games. He wasn’t quite as consistent as Buchinger as he was kept pointless in 3 contests.
When it came to goaltenders, it wasn’t a very good month to be honest. Patrick Leaver of the Oshawa Generals posted a .912 save percentage, Michael Simpson of the Peterborough Petes had a .911 save percentage and Jacob Oster of the Guelph Storm posted a .911 save percentage.
Leaver appeared in 8 games (one was in relief) and posted a 4-2-1 record and had a 31 save shutout. Simpson appeared in 4 games (one was in relief) and posted a 2-1-1 record. Oster appeared in 4 games and posted a 1-1-2 record.
So, we are going with Leaver. He becomes our first back-to-back choice and our first three-time choice.
On the season:
February – Shane Wright – Kingston Frontenacs
January – Matthew Maggio – Windsor Spitfires
December – Luca DelBelBelluz – Mississauga Steelheads
November – Kyle Jackson – North Bay Battalion
October – Tucker Robertson – Peterborough Petes
February – Michael Buchinger – Guelph Storm
January – Christian Kyrou – Erie Otters
December – Kirill Kudryavtsev – Soo Greyhounds
November – Gavin While – Hamilton Bulldogs
October – Ty Nelson – North Bay Battalion
February – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals
January – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals
December – Pavel Cajan – Kitchener Rangers
November – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals
October – Brett Brochu – London Knights