Colts’ Andrei Svechnikov named OHL Rookie of the Year

OHL Announces First and Second All-Rookie Teams

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that forward Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts is the 2017-18 recipient of the Emms Family Award presented to the OHL’s Rookie of the Year. 

Svechnikov led all OHL rookies with 40 goals and 32 assists in just 44 games for a point total of 72 that ranked 25th overall in league scoring and a points-per-game mark of 1.64 that was fifth best. 

Andrei Svechnikovof the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

“I am extremely happy to accept this award as the OHL’s Rookie of the Year,” Svechnikov said. “I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates for all of the help they have given me this year to achieve this goal. I am very excited.” 

The 18-year-old from Barnaul, Russia, is the top ranked prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft among North American skaters as listed by NHL Central Scouting.  He joined the Colts as the first overall pick in the 2017 CHL Import Draft and becomes the club’s fourth player to receive Rookie of the Year honours following Aaron Ekblad (2011-12), Bryan Little (2003-04), and Sheldon Keefe (1998-99). 

“We are really proud of Andrei for the season he had with our club,” said Colts General Manager Jason Ford. “He came into the lineup and made an immediate impact. We feel that the composure he showed on and off the ice, really excelled his game to this level, which ultimately earned himself this award. We could not be more proud of him for what he did this past year and we wish him the best of luck at the NHL Draft this June in Dallas.” 

Svechnikov was an OHL star from start to finish in 2017-18 beginning with a two-goal performance in his debut against the Ottawa 67’s on September 21, right through to season’s end where he carried the league’s longest point-streak at 23 games from January 18 through the final game of the regular season on March 17.  He recorded 24 multi-point games including a stretch of nine-straight in January and was named OHL Rookie of the Month four of the six times the award was announced.  The Russian National Junior Team member was also recognized in the annual Coaches Poll where he was voted Best Skater and second Best Shot in the Eastern Conference.  His 72 points are the most by a Colts rookie since Mark Scheifele produced 75 in 66 games back in 2010-11, while his 1.64 points-per-game mark is the best among OHL rookies since London Knights Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner posted 2.50 and 2.23 figures respectively in 2006-07. 

First presented in 1973, Emms Family Award recipients include Wayne Gretzky (Sault Ste. Marie 1977-78), Joe Thornton (Sault Ste. Marie 1995-96), Rick Nash (London 2000-01), John Tavares (Oshawa 2005-06), Taylor Hall (Windsor 2007-08), Connor McDavid (Erie 2012-13), Travis Konecny (Ottawa 2013-14), Alex DeBrincat (Erie 2014-15), Alexander Nylander (Mississauga 2015-16), and Ryan Merkley (Guelph 2016-17). 

The Emms Family Award was donated by Leighton “Hap” Emms, former owner of the Barrie, Niagara Falls, and St. Catharines OHL franchises.  The award is selected by all 20 member club General Managers.  Teams were asked to submit only one nominee from their own club for consideration on the ballot and were not permitted to vote for the player from their own hockey club.  Voting was conducted in two stages beginning with a Conference only vote followed by a Final ballot that included the top three candidates from the initial Conference phase.  Players received five points for a first vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote. 

Svechnikov earned 86 of a possible 95 voting points ahead of forward Cam Hillis of the Guelph Storm who finished second with 37 voting points and forward Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs who finished in third place with 31 voting points. 

The Emms Family Award will be formally presented to Svechnikov at the OHL’s annual Awards Ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Wednesday June 6.  He will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Rookie of the Year to be announced at the Mastercard Memorial Cup on Saturday May 26 

Svechnikov was also announced to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team at right wing along with Hillis at centre and fellow NHL Draft eligible forward Blade Jenkins of the Saginaw Spirit at left wing.  Rasmus Sandin of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Alec Regula of the London Knights comprise the First Team defence corps, with Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack between-the-pipes.  Kaliyev was among the Second Team honourees voted behind Svechnikov at right wing and joined up front by first overall Priority Selection pick Ryan Suzuki of the Colts at centre, and Maxim Golod of the Erie Otters at left wing.  Oshawa Generals Mitchell Brewer and Nico Gross were both voted Second Team defenders, with the Knights’ Jordan Kooy in goal. 

The OHL All-Rookie Teams were also selected by the OHL’s General Managers.  Players were voted on initially by position within their conference receiving five points for a first place vote, three for a second place vote, and one for a third.  Top vote getters in each position made up the final ballot that was then circulated to all 20 teams. 

2017-18 OHL All-Rookie Teams (voting points in brackets): 

First Team:

Centre – Cam Hillis, Guelph Storm (68)

Left Wing – Blade Jenkins, Saginaw Spirit (84)

Right Wing – Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (95)

Defence – Rasmus Sandin, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (87)

Defence – Alec Regula, London Knights (57)

Goaltender – Mack Guzda, Owen Sound Attack (55) 

Second Team:

Centre – Ryan Suzuki, Barrie Colts (53)

Left Wing – Maxim Golod, Erie Otters (36)

Right Wing – Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs (59)

Defence – Mitchell Brewer, Oshawa Generals (34)

Defence – Nico Gross, Oshawa Generals (32)

Goaltender – Jordan Kooy, London Knights (50)

 

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Alec Regula – London Knights – Player Profile

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 200 pounds

Date of birth: August 6, 2000

Hometown: West Bloomfield, Michigan

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 4, 74th overall, 2016 Priority Selection – Round 2, 22nd overall, 2016 USHL Futures Draft

NHL Central Scouting pre-season: B Prospect

NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 43rd North American Skaters

NHL Central Scouting final rank: Not available at present

When it comes to London Knights’ defenceman Alec Regula, there are two things we know for certain: 1) When you spend a lot of time on the ice with Evan Bouchard, there will be plenty of scout’s eyes on you, and 2) When you spend a lot of time on the ice with Evan Bouchard, you don’t have to be as concerned about offence.

That is by no means suggesting that Regula is riding the coattails of Bouchard. On the contrary. Regula has made a name for himself.

Alec Regula of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Alec Regula of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

After graduating from playing high school hockey with Cranbrook-Kingswood Upper School where he scored 6 goals and 25 assists in 54 games over two seasons, Regula jumped to the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League a season ago. In 53 USHL games, he scored once and added four assists. He would add one helper in five playoff games as the Steel captured the Clark Cup as USHL Champions.

The path to the Ontario Hockey League had its hiccups. In August of 2016, Regula had given a verbal commitment to attend the University of Michigan. To maintain his NCAA eligibility, the OHL wasn’t an option for Regula, so he chose the USHL.

At the time of his commitment, Regula told MIHockey “I picked U of M because it’s close to home and it has really always been a dream of mine. I value academics greatly and Michigan really brings the best of both worlds. After visiting I realized there’s honestly nothing like it. I can’t express how excited I am to be committed to Michigan.”

It’s a debate in the hockey world that will never end, NCAA or CHL. But when a young teenager has a change of heart, as Regula did, one can not hold it against them.

Regula obviously possesses very good size. He is a very good skater with excellent acceleration. As the season progressed, he looked more comfortable in leading the rush. He is very capable of making an excellent pass to elude the forecheck, but he is also capable of skating the puck out of danger.

Regula can more then handle the tough defensive assignments. He thinks the game very well with great anticipation and plays a positionally sound game. His skating allows him to keep gaps close. He plays with a very active stick and knows how to close lanes. He’s tough to beat one-on-one and rarely gets beat to the outside.

Regula also has some very good offensive qualities. He finished the season with 7 goals and 18 assists in 67 games, second only to Rasmus Sandin in points by a rookie defenceman. He played minimal time with the man advantage – that’s no surprise when you have a guy like Bouchard who can play the full two minutes on the powerplay.

Regula can play in any situation however. With an August 6, 2000 birthdate, he makes the cut for the 2018 National Hockey League Draft by just over a month. There’s plenty of time and room for Regula to grow as a hockey player.

You’ve got to like defencemen that come from the Dale Hunter group in London. The future is certainly looking bright for him.

Stat page for Alec Regula from Elite Prospects