You’ll have to trust me when I say “this was no easy decision” especially since for this year only, we are including players re-entering the draft for the second time (thanks to the lost COVID Season). But we also expanded it so that instead of picking one player, we are picking one forward, one defenceman and one goaltender. So, here we go!
It took some time for consensus number 1 pick Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs to reach the top of the lists in statistical categories, but he got there. At the turn of the calendar year, Wright was fifth among draft eligible players in points and assists and ninth in goals. But by the time the season had ended, he led in points, assists and fifth in goals.
There was a point in the season where some pundits were wondering out loud if there was anyone who could challenge Wright as the first overall pick and he did nothing but silence that crowd in the second half of the season.
Consideration was also given to our draft eligible player of the month in January and March (separated only by Wright in February): Matthew Maggio of the Windsor Spitfires. Not ranked by NHL Central Scouting on their mid-term rankings, the draft re-entry finished second in goals, assists, points and powerplay goals among draft eligible players. Maggio will certainly draw some interest from NHL scouts with the only thing left to be determined is whether that interest will come in the form of a draft pick or a development camp invite.
I can’t recall a decision that was as difficult to make as this one. It came down to two defenders: 1) In our opinion the top ranked defenceman out of the OHL and 2) a defenceman that wasn’t even on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings. They are: Pavel Mintyukov of the Saginaw Spirit and Christian Kyrou of the Erie Otters and we decided that is the order they would finish.
What Mintyukov did on the second last place Saginaw squad was just simply amazing. He led all draft eligible defencemen in points and was second in goals and assists. He finished third among all defencemen in the OHL just 4 points off the leader and led the Spirit in scoring. To put it simply, the offence ran through him. He was named the OHL defenceman of the month for March.
Kyrou finished first among draft eligible defencemen in goals, second in points and third in assists. He was fourth among all OHL defencemen in scoring. Kyrou’s Otters also missed the playoffs (9 points better then Saginaw) and Kyrou finished third on the Otters in scoring. Here’s to hoping Kyrou opened some eyes and he should be one of the biggest risers in draft rankings.
In the crease we gave the nod to Patrick Leaver of the Oshawa Generals. Leaver was named our draft eligible goaltender of the month in November, January and February and was our only repeat winner among goaltenders.
Among draft eligible goaltenders, Leaver finished fifth in goals-against-average, second in save-percentage, third in wins, second in minutes played, and second in shutouts. He was named the OHL’s goaltender of the week on three occasions and the runner up twice. You could regularly find Leaver in the OHL’s Save of the Week highlights throughout the season.
Leaver was not listed on NHL Central Scouting’s players to watch list at the start of the season. He did crack Central Scouting’s mid-term list as the 29th ranked goaltender among North Americans.
Consideration was also given to Michael Simpson of the Peterborough Petes. While his numbers on the season won’t blow your socks off, on many nights Simpson was the Petes best player. It’s hard to imagine where the Petes would have been without him and he saved the best for last as he was named the OHL’s goaltender of the month for April and helping the Petes secure a playoff spot.
Statistically speaking, the nod probably should have gone to Dom DiVincentiis of the North Bay Battalion. But we felt his 27 games played didn’t match up to Leaver’s 49 games played or Simpson’s 45 games played.
Our monthly choices throughout the season were as follows:
March – Matthew Maggio – Windsor Spitfires
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
March – Pavel Mintyukov – Saginaw Spirit
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
March – Dom DiVincentiis – 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