OHL WRITER’S DRAFT ELIGIBLE PLAYER OF THE MONTH FOR NOVEMBER 2021

Kyle Jackson of the North Bay Battalion. Photo by Terry Wilson, OHL Images

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to be back in an arena and watching live hockey. There just isn’t anything like it in the sports world.

In prior years, we here have done a draft eligible player of the month. However, just like we did for October, because of the sheer number of players re-entering the draft we have expanded it to include the draft eligible player of the month at forward position, defence and goaltending. So here we go…

FORWARD

It was an easy decision up front and that was Kyle Jackson of the North Bay Battalion. Jackson recorded eleven goals and eleven assists in just eleven games in November and now sits with fourteen goals and twenty-one assists in twenty-two games to lead all draft eligible players in scoring. Jackson was held off the scoresheet just once in November and produced seven multi-point games. He was recognized by the OHL as the top performer of the month.

We did consider Nolan Dann of the Sarnia Sting briefly. Dann played in twelve games and scored ten goals and assisted on six.

DEFENCEMAN

This could have gone any number of ways but we went with Gavin White of the Hamilton Bulldogs. White scored twice while adding eleven assists in ten games in the month of November. The reason we chose White over the others was his consistency through the month. He was only held pointless twice in those ten games and he only had two multi point games in the remaining eight. You can’t get much more consistent than that for a blueliner. White is a draft re-entry.

Also considered were a pair of Saginaw Spirit defencemen. Pavel Mintyukov had two goals and eight helpers in twelve games while Roberto Mancini had three goals and eight assists. Spencer Sova of the Erie Otters was also given consideration with his three goals and eight assists in eleven contests.

GOALTENDER

Patrick Leaver gets the nod here and it’s a token nod since he will not get the playing time, he has gotten through the first two months with the return of Oshawa Generals number one netminder from an injury. It’s not like he is not deserving though. Leaver posted a 4-2-1 record through November and a .902 save-percentage.

Of course, Brett Brochu of the London Knights was also considered. Brochu had a 6-4-1 record and a .904 save-percentage.

FORWARDS

November – Kyle Jackson – North Bay Battalion

October – Tucker Robertson – Peterborough Petes

DEFENCEMEN

November – Gavin While – Hamilton Bulldogs

October – Ty Nelson – North Bay Battalion

GOALTENDERS

November – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals

October – Brett Brochu – London Knights

OHL ANNOUNCES TOP PERFORMERS OF THE MONTH FOR NOVEMBER

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for regular season games played in November 2021, including North Bay Battalion teammates Kyle Jackson and Joe Vrbetic, Hamilton Bulldogs defenceman Nathan Staios and Mississauga Steelheads forward Owen Beck.

OHL Player of the Month – Kyle Jackson (North Bay Battalion):
North Bay Battalion forward Kyle Jackson is the OHL Player of the Month for November, recording 22 points including 11 goals and 11 assists over 11 games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-7. Jackson recorded points in 10 of his 11 outings to help the Battalion ascend to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 7-2-1-1 over the course of the month. The 6-foot-2, 191Ib. centreman scored his first career hat trick on Nov. 5th in Kingston, finishing with four points (3-1–4) in a 5-4 road win. He took centre stage with a first star performance on Nov. 18th against Ottawa, scoring a pair of goals to go with an assist in a 3-0 win over the 67’s. Jackson struck for the game winner and earned second star honours a night later in Oshawa as the Battalion doubled-up the Generals 4-2. He posted his third four-point performance of the season (2-2–4) on Nov. 26th in Kingston, garnering first star recognition as the Troops skated to a 5-2 win. Jackson is the Battalion’s first OHL Player of the Month recipient since Justin Brazeau earned the distinction in October 2018.

A 19-year-old from Ottawa, Ont., Jackson is enjoying a breakout season in his third tour of duty with the Battalion, sitting tied for second in OHL scoring with 35 points (14-21–35) across 22 games. Jackson’s 27.5 percent shooting percentage is currently second-best in the OHL among players with at least 50 shots on goal. He’s recorded 60 career points (24-36–60) over 96 career regular season games with North Bay since being the club’s third round (49th overall) pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.

OHL Defenceman of the Month – Nathan Staios (Hamilton Bulldogs):
Hamilton Bulldogs blueliner Nathan Staios is the OHL Defenceman of the Month for November, posting 12 points including three goals and nine assists over 10 games with a plus/minus rating of plus-9. The overage defenceman logged big minutes, helping push the Bulldogs to the top of the East Division standings with a November record of 6-2-1-1. Staios picked up a pair of assists in a 6-3 win over the Sudbury Wolves on Nov. 6th, found the back of the net as Hamilton fell to the Barrie Colts 4-3 a night later, and collected two more helpers on Nov. 12th as the Bulldogs defeated the Peterborough Petes 4-2. Staios matched a career-high on Nov. 18th with four points (0-4–4) in a 10-6 road win over the Petes. He struck for the game winner on Nov. 25th in Niagara as the Bulldogs beat the IceDogs 6-3, crossing the 100 career point threshold in the process. Staios becomes the first rearguard in Bulldogs history to earn Defenceman of the Month honours.

A 20-year-old product of Oakville, Ont., Staios sits tied for third in scoring among OHL defencemen with 19 points (4-15–19) over 20 games this season. The fourth-year defender’s 70 shots on goal are the second-most at his position Leaguewide. The son of long-time NHL defenceman, OHL graduate and Bulldogs president and general manager Steve Staios, he’s put up 101 points (22-79–101) over 198 career OHL regular season games between Hamilton and Windsor. Staios, who made his pro debut in six games with the AHL’s Utica Comets last season, was Windsor’s first round (17th overall) pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. He represented the St. Louis Blues at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament this past fall.

OHL Rookie of the Month – Owen Beck (Mississauga Steelheads):
Mississauga Steelheads centreman Owen Beck has been named OHL Rookie of the Month for November, producing 11 points including five goals and six assists over 11 games to go with a plus/minus rating of plus-5. Beck found the scoresheet in nine of his 11 November contests as the Steelheads played to a record of 8-2-0-1, holding down second place in the Central Division. The 6-foot, 180Ib. Beck earned second star honours on Nov. 5th, scoring while adding an assist in a 3-0 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs. He recorded another multi-point effort on Nov. 21st, chipping in a goal and an assist as the Steelheads defeated the Sudbury Wolves 7-2. Beck was excellent in the faceoff circle with a 57.5 percent rate at the dot in November. He’s the first Steelheads player to receive Rookie of the Month honours since Alexander Nylander earned the award three times during the 2015-16 season.

A 17-year-old native of Port Hope, Ont., Beck sits third in Steelheads scoring with 16 points (7-9–16) across 19 games. His 59 percent success rate in the faceoff circle is the League’s second-highest among centremen who have attempted at least 200 draws this season. Beck was assigned a ‘B’ rating on NHL Central Scouting’s November Players to Watch List released on Nov. 19th. He was Mississauga’s second round (29th overall) pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.

OHL Goaltender of the Month – Joe Vrbetic (North Bay Battalion):
Montreal Canadiens prospect Joe Vrbetic of the North Bay Battalion is the OHL Goaltender of the Month for November after posting a 6-0-1-1 record, 2.09 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and two shutouts across eight games. The 6-foot-6 Vrbetic went undefeated in regulation to help the Battalion surge to the top of the Central Division standings in a month of November that saw him string together 203 minutes and four seconds of consecutive shutout hockey. Vrbetic recorded back-to-back shutouts, making 14 saves on Nov. 14th in a 4-0 win over the Sudbury Wolves and an additional 23 in a 3-0 blanking of the Ottawa 67’s on Nov. 18th. He proceeded to pickup victories with a 23-save performance on Nov. 21st, defeating the Niagara IceDogs 7-3 and 24 stops on Nov. 26th as the Troops beat the Kingston Frontenacs 5-2. Vrbetic is the first Battalion netminder to claim the monthly honour since Patrick Killeen last did so as a member of the Brampton Battalion in February 2010.

A 19-year-old from Dunvegan, Ont., Vrbetic owns a record of 11-2-1-1 on the season with a 2.59 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and two shutouts over 15 games. Now in his second full season with the Battalion, he’s compiled an overall record of 25-27-2-1 with a 3.78 goals-against average and .887 save percentage in 58 regular season games since being a second round (31st overall) pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. The Montreal Canadiens selected Vrbetic with their seventh round (214th overall) pick this past summer.

2021-22 OHL Performers of the Month:

Player of the Month:
November – Kyle Jackson (North Bay Battalion)
October – Sasha Pastujov (Guelph Storm)

Defenceman of the Month:
November – Nathan Staios (Hamilton Bulldogs)
October – Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves)

Rookie of the Month:
November – Owen Beck (Mississauga Steelheads)
October – Calum Ritchie (Oshawa Generals)

Goaltender of the Month:
November – Joe Vrbetic (North Bay Battalion)
October – Brett Brochu (London Knights)

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

OHL WRITERS’ DRAFT ELIGIBLE PLAYER OF THE MONTH: OCTOBER

Brett Brochu of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda / OHL Images

This season will be unlike any other for the players eligible for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft that are playing in the Ontario Hockey League.

As you know, the pandemic wiped out the entire 2020-2021 OHL season and NHL scouts didn’t have an opportunity to scout the talent in the OHL with the exception of those that played in Europe or the Under-18 or the showcase tournament in Erie. We are basically combining two drafts into one and there are over 200 players eligible for the draft for the first time or re-entering the draft.

In a normal season here at OHL Writers, we look only at the players eligible for the NHL Entry Draft for the first time, but because of the number of players eligible for 2022 we have decided to include first time eligible players and players entering the draft for the second time which is why you will see some players born after September 15, 2002 throughout the season talked about here.

Also, a little different this season will be our Draft Eligible Player of the Month. Normally, we pick the player who had the best month but again, because of the volume of players available for the draft for this season we are breaking it down by position.

Our draft eligible player of the month for October up front is Tucker Robertson of the Peterborough Petes. To say Robertson had a fantastic month would be an understatement. In 9 games he notched 6 goals and 10 assists to lead all draft eligible players in scoring with 16 points. He was also 140 for 238 on the faceoff dot for a 58.8 winning percentage.

Robertson was kept off the scoresheet just twice in October while also compiling 4 multi point games and two games with 3 assists.

Also considered was North Bay Battalion’s Kyle Jackson who scored 3 goals to go along with 10 helpers in 11 games.

On defence, our choice is Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion. Nelson had 2 goals and 8 assists in 11 games and leads all draft eligible defensemen in scoring with 10 points and is fourth among all OHL defensemen in scoring. Nelson was held off the scoresheet just 4 times and had 4 multi-point games. He also finished with a very impressive plus-7.

Also considered was Hamilton Bulldogs defenseman Gavin White. He notched 7 helpers through 10 games and was a steadying influence at both ends of the ice. It took some time for White to find his stride, but he finished the month off with 6 helpers in Hamilton’s final 6 games of the month.

In the net Brett Brochu of the London Knights gets the nod. He’s played in every game and has a perfect 8-0-0 record. He also boasts the leagues best save-percentage if .935 and best goals-against-average of 2.07 (goalies with more than two starts).

Also considered was Oshawa Generals netminder Patrick Leaver, If it wasn’t for Brochu’s outstanding numbers, Leaver would have been the obvious choice with his .925 save-percentage and 2.49 goals-against-average.