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)



Blade Jenkins – Saginaw Spirit – Player Profile

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 195 pounds

Date of birth: August 11, 2000

Hometown: Jackson, MI

Position: Left Wing/Center

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 4th overall, 2016 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting pre-season: C Prospect

NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 24th – North American Skaters

NHL Central Scouting final rank: Not available at this time

One season ago, Saginaw Spirit left winger Blade Jenkins was playing for Team USA in the United States Hockey League with well-known names such as Brady Tkachuk, Quinn Hughes, and Oliver Wahlstrom. He scored once and added 4 assists in 34 games, one season after the Saginaw selected him with the 4th overall pick at the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.

Prior to his OHL draft, Jenkins played for the Compuware Under-16 squad in which he scored 15 goals and 21 assists in 22 games.

Jenkins has made an impression in this, his rookie OHL season. He has 18 goals and 20 assists in 58 games and his 38 points are good for fifth on the Spirit. He sits fourth among OHL rookies in goals and points and fifth in assists.

Jenkins’ 18 goals come on just 115 shots, good for a 15.7 shooting percentage. He’s won 118 of 238 faceoffs, or 49.8% of his draws. That’s not bad for an OHL rookie.

Internationally, Jenkins has represented Team USA on two occasions. A season ago, he appeared in 5 games with the Americans at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 scoring once. In August of 2017, he was on the American Squad at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament but was held off the scoresheet in 4 games.

Fans on both sides of the 49th parallel get a little annoyed when a player commits one way and then decides to head the other way.

Which brings us to this Blade Jenkins tweet:

Jenkins had committed to play in his home state of Michigan for the NCAA Michigan Wolverines. There is no doubt it was a massive gamble for the Spirit to use the fourth overall pick to select a player that had already committed to going the NCAA way. But Saginaw is less than a two-hour drive from his home and maybe management knew something the rest of us didn’t. I just want to say “Get over it. It happens both ways and players and their families will do what they believe is best for their careers.”

There is no doubt that Blade is among the elite of hockey names. But names do not a hockey player make. So, who exactly is Jenkins the hockey player?

Jenkins got off to a very slow start on the season with just a goal and two assists in his first dozen games. Since then, he’s posted 17 goals and 18 assists in 46 games. There were questions raised about his skating coming in, and the slow start reinforced those concerns for some.

Personally, I don’t think it was a skating issue and it was more about getting comfortable with the OHL speed and game. That’s not to say he couldn’t use a better first few strides or better top end speed or even a separation gear – he certainly could, but I don’t think it hinders his ability.

At 6’1”, 195 pounds and still room to grow, Jenkins possesses decent size. He uses that size to his advantage and battles well along the walls and in front of the opponent’s net. He’s learning how to be dominant with each passing shift. He drives the net hard with or without possession and he’s extremely strong playing the cycle game.

Jenkins also possesses good hockey sense. He has shown that he can be elusive and make himself open for teammates to find. He can also play patient and wait for lanes to open up when he has puck possession. He can play the playmaker game, but at the same time, he can beat you with a very heavy shot.

Defensively, Jenkins’ game is a work in progress. On a lot of nights, you will walk away knowing he was one of the most noticeable players on the ice. Evidence that he will put the work in where he requires it.

Blade Jenkins

Stat page of Blade Jenkins from Elite Prospects


OHL Top Performers of the Month for November

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for regular season games played in November 2017, including Sarnia Sting forward Jordan Kyrou, London Knights defenceman Evan Bouchard, Saginaw Spirit rookie Blade Jenkins and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds goaltender Matthew Villalta. 

OHL Player of the Month – Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)

For the second consecutive month, St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting is the OHL Player of the Month. The 19-year-old led all players with 24 points including six goals, 18 assists in 11 games. Kyrou’s November included points in 10 of his 11 games headlined by a six point effort to start the month on Nov. 2nd in Peterborough. Kyrou’s six points (2-4–6) are the most by a Sting player in a single game since Charles Sarault registered six in February 2013. Other prominent performances included a four point output (1-3–4) on Nov. 17th against Windsor. In total, Kyrou received star of the game recognition four times including one first star nomination, two second star nominations as well as one third star nomination. His continued excellence has helped the Sting hold down top spot in the weekly CHL Top 10 Rankings throughout the month as Sarnia holds an overall record of 21-4-1-0. 

Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

A 6-foot, 185Ib. right-winger from Toronto, Ont., Kyrou currently leads OHL scoring by a 10-point margin, registering 52 points including a league-leading 34 assists along with 18 goals in 24 games. His 2.17 points-per-game and 21 power play points are also league highs. The second round pick of the St. Louis Blues in the 2016 NHL Draft is currently in his fourth OHL season, producing a career regular season stat line of 78 goals, 155 assists and 233 points over 218 games. Last season, Kyrou recorded the OHL’s longest point streak since 2008 when he recorded points in 30 straight contests from Jan. 1st to Mar. 12th, four games shy of a Sting club record. He attended Hockey Canada’s Summer Showcase this past summer in Plymouth, Mich. and represented the OHL in the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series. 

OHL Defenceman of the Month – Evan Bouchard (London Knights):

Draft eligible London Knights rearguard Evan Bouchard is the OHL Defenceman of the Month for November. The 18-year-old third-year blueliner led all defencemen with 18 points including five goals, 13 assists and a plus/minus rating of plus-11 over 10 contests. Bouchard recorded points in eight of his 10 November outings, headlining the month with a career-high four point (1-3–4) showing on Nov. 3rd against Saginaw. He also registered a pair of three point efforts, collecting three assists on Nov. 10th against Flint as well as a goal and two assists on Nov. 26th in Guelph. Bouchard helped the Knights play to a record of 7-2-1-0 in November. 

Evan Bouchard of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Evan Bouchard of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

A 6-foot-2, 191Ib. native of Oakville, Ont., Bouchard sits fourth in scoring among OHL defencemen with 30 points (8-22–30) in 25 games while his 95 shots on goal rank second among blueliners. A veteran of 136 OHL regular season games, Bouchard has 91 points (21-70–91) in his OHL career. He was London’s first round pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection and was an ‘A’ rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting’s November ‘Players to Watch’ List. Bouchard represented the OHL in the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series this past month. 

OHL Rookie of the Month – Blade Jenkins (Saginaw Spirit):

Draft eligible Saginaw Spirit forward Blade Jenkins is the OHL Rookie of the Month for November. The 17-year-old led all rookies with 14 points including nine goals, five assists and a plus/minus rating of plus-10 in 12 games. Jenkins had points in eight of his 12 November outings, with a pair of three-point performances headlining his stat line. He recorded his first career OHL hat-trick on Nov. 4th against North Bay before scoring twice and adding an assist on Nov. 22nd in Flint. Jenkins, whose 14 points all came at even strength, helped the Spirit to a 9-2-1-0 month of November. 

Blade Jenkins of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Blade Jenkins of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

A 6-foot-1, 195Ib. left-winger from Jackson, Mich., Jenkins sits second in OHL rookie scoring with 18 points (11-7–18) in 25 games. Formerly Saginaw’s first round (4th overall) pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, Jenkins was included on NHL Central Scouting’s November ‘Players to Watch’ List. 


Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month – Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds):

Los Angeles Kings prospect Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is the OHL Goaltender of the Month for November. The 18-year-old played to a perfect 9-0-0-0 record with an OHL-best 2.22 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage with one shutout over nine November appearances, helping the Greyhounds climb into the West Division lead on a 12-game winning streak. Villalta backstopped the Hounds to a perfect month, putting together back-to-back one-goal performances on Nov. 4th against Niagara and Nov. 5th against North Bay. He registered his first shutout of the season on Nov. 17th with a 16-save showing in Sudbury. 

Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

A 6-foot-3, 183Ib. native of Godfrey, Ont. outside of Kingston, Villalta is second among OHL goaltenders with a 2.53 goals-against average along with a 16-2-1-0 record, a .907 save percentage and one shutout. He holds an impressive career record of 41-5-1-0 over 52 career regular season games to go with a 2.45 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and two shutouts. A free agent addition by the Greyhounds out of Training Camp in 2016, Villalta was a third round pick by the Los Angeles Kings this past summer.

2017-18 OHL Performers of the Month:

Player of the Month:
November – Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)
October – Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)

Defenceman of the Month:
November – Evan Bouchard (London Knights)
October – Sean Durzi (Owen Sound Attack)

Rookie of the Month:
November – Blade Jenkins (Saginaw Spirit)
October – Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts)

Vaughn Goaltender of the Month:
November – Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
October – Justin Fazio (Sarnia Sting)

Steelheads’ Albert Michnac named OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that forward Albert Michnac of the Mississauga Steelheads is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the week ending November 5 after scoring eight goals in three games with a plus-minus rating of plus-3.

Albert Michnac of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Albert Michnac of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Michnac recorded a trio of multi-goal performances for the surging Steelheads contributing to nearly half of the team’s total offensive output and earning first star honours in three straight contests.  On Friday night he scored his first career hat-trick despite a 5-4 shootout loss to the Owen Sound Attack, then scored twice including the game-winner in Saturday’s 4-3 road win over the Sudbury Wolves.  His week wrapped up Sunday with another hat-trick, this time against the Eastern Conference leading Peterborough Petes, helping the Steelheads to a 9-2 victory.  The Trout have now earned 11 of a possible 12 points over the past two weeks and are currently tied for eighth place in the East with an overall record of 7-9-0-1. 

Michnac, a 20-year-old from Prague, Czech Republic, is now tied for tenth overall in league scoring with 23 points in 17 games including 12 goals and 11 assists.  He joined the Steelheads as the club’s first round pick (37th overall) in the 2017 CHL Import Draft after competing last season as a member of the Guelph Storm where he tallied 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in 65 games.

Watch video highlights of Michnac and the Steelheads against the Petes. 

Also considered for the award this week was St. Louis Blues prospect and OHL top scorer Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting who led the league with nine points in three games including three goals and six assists, while 2017 NHL Draft prospect Blade Jenkins helped the Saginaw Spirit win three straight games collecting five goals and one assist.  In goal, Carolina Hurricanes prospect Jeremy Helvig backstopped the Kingston Frontenacs to a 3-0-0-0 record making 76 stops for a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .962

2017-18 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week:

Oct. 30 – Nov. 5: Albert Michnac (Mississauga Steelheads)
Oct. 23 – Oct. 29: Aaron Luchuk (Windsor Spitfires)
Oct. 16 – Oct. 22: Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)
Oct. 9 – Oct. 15: Brady Hinz (Sarnia Sting)
Oct. 2 – Oct. 8: Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack)
Sept. 25 – Oct. 1: Jonathan Ang (Peterborough Petes)
Sept. 21 – Sept. 24: Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)