Attack’s Nick Suzuki named OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack is the 2017-18 recipient of the William Hanley Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year.

Suzuki earns the award a second straight season after finishing fourth in league scoring with 100 points including 42 goals and 58 assists along with a plus-minus rating of plus-30 in 64 games.  He recorded just 18 penalty minutes in 2017-18 which was tied for second fewest among the league’s top-10 scorers incurring just three minor penalties during his final 38 games of the regular season.  Now the fourth player in league history to win the award in back-to-back years, Suzuki became the first ever Owen Sound player to receive the award last season and went on to claim CHL Sportsman of the Year honours.

Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

“It’s an honour to win this award for the second year in a row,” Suzuki said. “I couldn’t do it without the support of my teammates, coaches, and family.”

An 18-year-old from London, Ont, Suzuki was chosen by the Golden Knights with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.  He returned to the Bayshore and became the franchise’s fifth member since 1989 to reach the century mark for points in a season and first since Bobby Ryan in 2006-07.  He also became the club’s first back-to-back 40-goal scorer since Wes Goldie during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.  He recorded 28 multi-point performances and was recognized in the annual Western Conference Coaches Poll where he was voted third Best Playmaker, third Best Stickhandler, and tied for second Best Shot.  Suzuki joined the Attack as the 14th overall pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection and in three years has accumulated 234 career points in 192 games.

“For any player to win an OHL award two years in a row is extremely impressive,” said Attack General Manager Dale DeGray. “The entire organization couldn’t be prouder of Nick and what he’s been able to accomplish in his three years in the league. Earning the William Hanley Trophy again just shows how Nick approaches the game, his dedication to playing the right way, and his integrity as a player.”

The William Hanley Trophy is awarded each year based on a selection by the 20 General Managers of the Ontario Hockey League.  All 20 teams submit a nominee but are not permitted to vote for their own candidate with players receiving five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.  The trophy is presented by the OHL to commemorate William Hanley, former Secretary-Manager of the Ontario Hockey Association for over 25 years.

Suzuki led the process with 58 voting points, just ahead of Ottawa Senators prospect and league top scorer Aaron Luchuk of the Barrie Colts who finished in second place with 57 voting points.  Linus Nyman of the Kingston Frontenacs finished in third place with 25 voting points.

Fellow back-to-back winners of the William Hanley Trophy include Dale McCourt (Hamilton 1976 and St. Catharines 1977), Sean Simpson (Ottawa 1979 and 1980), and Brad Boyes (Erie 2001 and 2002).  Since it was first presented in 1961, the list of recipients also includes Wayne Gretzky (Sault Ste. Marie 1978), Kirk Muller (Guelph 1983), Brian Campbell (Ottawa 1999), Jeff Carter (Sault Ste. Marie 2005), and Connor McDavid (Erie 2014).

Suzuki will be formally presented with the William Hanley Trophy at the 2017-18 OHL Awards Ceremony set for Wednesday June 6 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  He will again be the OHL’s nominee for Sportsman of the Year at the annual CHL Awards held as part of the Mastercard Memorial Cup festivities on Saturday May 26 in Regina.

Storm’s Ryan Merkley named OHL Rookie of the Year

OHL Announces First and Second All-Rookie Teams

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that defenceman Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm is the 2016-17 recipient of the Emms Family Award presented to the OHL’s Rookie of the Year.

Merkley led all OHL rookies with 55 points in 62 games played scoring 12 goals and 43 assists positioning him eighth overall among all OHL defenders.  He became the first rookie in franchise history to lead the team in scoring, and is the first OHL defenceman since London’s Rick Corriveau in 1987-88 to lead all rookies in scoring.

Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL  Images.
Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

“It is an honour to be selected as the OHL Rookie of the Year,” said Merkley. “Knowing that there are so many talented first year players, makes the award extra special.  I would like to thank my teammates and the Storm organization for all their help and support.”

The 16-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., selected first overall by the Storm in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, is just the second member of the organization to earn the award following fellow Storm first overall pick Jeff O’Neill during the 1992-93 season.  Merkley’s 55 points are the most by a Storm 16-year-old since O’Neill’s 79 during his first campaign.

“Being selected as OHL Rookie of the Year is a special honour, but one that Ryan richly deserves,” said Mike Kelly, Guelph’s departing General Manager. “Even as a 16-year-old, Ryan was a critical part of a very young Guelph Storm Hockey team, and he provided our fans, and fans throughout the OHL with some spectacular hockey memories.  As good as Ryan was this past year, he will be even more special in upcoming seasons.”

Merkley joined the OHL after earning GTHL Player of the Year honours with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and made an immediate impact with recognition as the OHL’s Rookie of the Month for October and December and represented Team Canada Red at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie.  He recorded 16 multi-point performances during 2016-17 and was voted third in both the Best Playmaker and Best Stickhandler categories in the Western Conference Coaches Poll.

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), Taylor Hall (Windsor 2007-08), and most recently Alex DeBrincat (Erie 2014-15), and Alex Nylander (Mississauga 2015-16).  Merkley is the eighth player to earn the Emms Family Award after also earning the Jack Ferguson Award as the first overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection beginning with O’Neill, Patrick O’Sullivan (Mississauga 2001-02), Rob Schremp (Mississauga 2002-03), John Tavares (Oshawa 2005-06), Aaron Ekblad (Barrie 2011-12), Connor McDavid (Erie 2012-13), and Travis Konecny (Ottawa 2013-14).

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.  Players received five points for a first vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.

Merkley earned 75 of a possible 95 voting points ahead of forward Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs who finished second with 44 voting points and forward Allan McShane of the Oshawa Generals who finished in third with 24 voting points. 

The Emms Family Award will be formally presented to Merkley at the OHL’s annual Awards Ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Thursday June 8.  He will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Rookie of the Year to be announced at the Mastercard Memorial Cup on Saturday May 27.

Merkley was also announced to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team alongside NHL Draft prospect Eemeli Rasanen of the Kingston Frontenacs on defence, and goaltender Jacob Ingham of the Mississauga Steelheads.  First team forwards include McShane at centre, Thomas at right wing, and Kingston’s Linus Nyman at left wing.  Second team honours went to NHL Draft prospects Adam Ruzicka of the Sarnia Sting, Alex Formenton of the London Knights, and Greg Meireles of the Kitchener Rangers at forward, while 16-year-olds Giovanni Vallati of Kitchener, and Owen Lalonde of the Sudbury Wolves comprise the defence.  Second team goaltending honours went to Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

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. 

2016-17 OHL All-Rookie Teams (voting points in brackets):

First Team:
Centre – Allan McShane, Oshawa Generals (85)
Left Wing – Linus Nyman, Kingston Frontenacs (73)
Right Wing – Akil Thomas, Niagara IceDogs (93)
Defence – Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm (91)
Defence – Eemeli Rasanen, Kingston Frontenacs (74)
Goaltender – Jacob Ingham, Mississauga Steelheads (73)

Second Team:
Centre – Adam Ruzicka, Sarnia Sting (51)
Left Wing – Alex Formenton, London Knights (38)
Right Wing – Greg Meireles, Kitchener Rangers (39)
Defence – Giovanni Vallati, Kitchener Rangers (44)
Defence – Owen Lalonde, Sudbury Wolves (39)
Goaltender – Matthew Villalta, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (70)

Linus Nyman – Kingston Frontenacs – Player Profile

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 160 pounds

Date of birth: July 11, 1999

Hometown: Helsinki, Finland

Position: Left Wing/Right wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 53rd overall, 2016 CHL Import Draft

First off, let’s get the proper pronunciation for the Finland native and Kingston Frontenacs forward Linus Nyman: I’m told by people in the Fronts organization that it’s Noo-man. But I’ve heard a variety of pronunciations. Michael Nyman, the English composer, is usually pronounced as Nie-man. In Swedish, it’s Nee-man.  Ask a Finn and you get Neye-man. So, take your pick!

Linus Nyman of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Linus Nyman of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Last season, Nyman played for Jonkerit U-20 in Sweden’s Jr A SM-liiga where he scored 13 goals and 23 assists and was a plus 30 in 43 games. He previously represented Finland at the Under-16, the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 and was Finland’s top forward at Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August where he scored 4 goals to go along with 3 assists in 4 games.

Once you get past the fact that he is 5’10” and just 160 pounds and watch highlights of his goals, you’ll find a player with a willingness to get to the dirty area in front of the goal. Nyman is a very good skater, a speedster but lacks that elite level speed you hope a player of his stature would have. Yet, he’s just quick enough when combined with his smarts he is able to get into lanes or create lanes and be effective in the cycle game. Don’t read that as saying he’s slow. He’s not.

Nyman possesses dangerous (for the opposition) puck skills. He maintains possession while quickly surveying the ice and making split second decisions about his options. He keeps his head up and on a swivel whenever he’s in possession of the puck. He is an excellent passer and is considered in many circles as a playmaker first, but make no mistake, he can finish as well.

Nyman currently sits third in rookie scoring with 41 points, trailing only Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm (47) and Adam Ruzicka of the Sarnia Sting (43). His 22 goals trail only Ruzicka (24).

Nyman has the skill set to produce at the National Hockey League level. Adding muscle, gaining strength and hopefully having a growth spurt will go a long way into achieving success. As it stands now, he loses too many board battles and can get knocked off the puck to easily in both zones. But give him credit: He gets right back on his horse and will not shy away from the physical areas.  At times, you get the impression that the coaching staff tries to shield him from the tough matchups.

And he is versatile. Nyman can play both wings.

Nyman is the fourth ranked Kingston Frontenac on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January. He was ranked 102 among North American skaters. Jason Robertson (34), Eemeli Rasanen (57), and Jacob Paquette (90) are the others.

Linus Nyman

This is the profile page of Linus Nyman at Elite Prospects

 

OHL Announces 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 2016, including Erie Otters forwards Alex DeBrincat and Taylor Raddysh, Otters blueliner Darren Raddysh, Kingston Frontenacs rookie Linus Nyman and London Knights goaltender Tyler Parsons.

OHL Co-Players of the Month – Alex DeBrincat, Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters):
Erie Otters forwards in Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh have been named OHL Co-Players of the Month for November. Both with 27 points over 12 games, DeBrincat and Raddysh steered the Otters to a 9-2-1-0 mark in the month of November.

DeBrincat recorded 14 goals, 13 assists and 27 points over 12 contests, producing points in 10 of those games. His month was headlined by a pair of five point efforts with the first coming in a 7-3 win over the Kitchener Rangers on November 5th that included three goals and two assists. DeBrincat capped off the month on Tuesday, producing three goals and two assists in a 9-2 win over the Mississauga Steelheads. The Farmington Hills, Mich. native was named first star of the game on three different occasions in November and currently leads the league in goals with 26 along with 25 assists for 51 points in 23 games this season. He was Chicago’s second round (39th overall) pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Raddysh, who was also the OHL Player of the Month in October, registered 12 goals, 15 assists and 27 points over 12 games to go with a plus/minus rating of plus-13. The Caledon, Ont. native produced points in 11 of his 12 outings, highlighted by back-to-back four-point performances on November 4th and 5th in wins over Mississauga and Kitchener. He finished the month of November with five points (3-2–5) in a 9-2 win over Mississauga on Tuesday. The 18-year-old currently leads the OHL in scoring with 23 goals, 32 assists and 55 points over 24 games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-34. He was Tampa Bay’s second round (58th overall) pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

OHL Defenceman of the Month – Darren Raddysh (Erie Otters):
Veteran Erie Otters rearguard Darren Raddysh is the OHL Defenceman of the Month for November after leading OHL blueliners with four goals, 16 assists and 20 points over 12 contests. Raddysh’s outstanding month continued a 16-game point streak, tying his own Otters franchise record for defencemen while surpassing Adam Pelech (129, 2010-14) for fourth in Otters all-time points by a defenceman in the process. The older of the Raddysh brothers on the Otters, Darren’s month was headlined by a career-high four point (1-3–4) effort in a 7-4 win over Mississauga on November 4th. Five of his 12 November contests were multi-point efforts, capped by a three-point (1-2–3) outing in Tuesday’s 9-2 win over the Mississauga Steelheads.

A 20-year-old native of Caledon, Ont., Raddysh is currently in his fifth season with the Otters after being a fifth round (84th overall) pick by the club in 2012. He attended training camp with the San Jose Sharks this past September. Raddysh is currently tied for the OHL lead in scoring among defencemen with six goals, 22 assists and 28 points over 20 games.

 OHL Rookie of the Month – Linus Nyman (Kingston Frontenacs):
Draft eligible Kingston Frontenacs forward Linus Nyman is the OHL Rookie of the Month for November after recording eight goals, two assists and 10 points over 11 contests. The 17-year-old Finnish winger had points in seven of his 11 November contests including three different two-goal efforts. Nyman scored twice in a 4-1 win over the Guelph Storm on November 6th before doing so against the Sarnia Sting in a 5-4 road win on November 12th. Nyman earned second star honours, scoring twice in a 5-3 loss in Sudbury on November 20th.

A native of Helsinki, Finland, Nyman was Kingston’s first round (53rd overall) selection in the 2016 CHL Import Draft. He is third in Frontenacs team scoring and is currently second among OHL rookies with 14 goals, five assists and 19 points in 25 games.

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Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month – Tyler Parsons (London Knights):
Calgary Flames prospect Tyler Parsons of the London Knights is the Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month for November after going 6-0-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against-average and a .939 save percentage over seven games. Parsons’ standout November was headlined by a 30-save shutout performance in a 7-0 win over Kingston on November 11th. He was solid once again on November 23rd, earning second star honours with 34 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss in Owen Sound.

A native of Chesterfield, Mich., Parsons is currently 8-1-1-1 on the season, sitting second in the OHL with a 2.39 goals-against-average to go with a .917 save percentage and two shutouts over 11 games. The 19-year-old was a second round (54th overall) pick by the Calgary Flames this past summer.

2016-17 OHL Performers of the Month:

Player of the Month:
November – Alex DeBrincat/Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters)
October – Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters)

Defenceman of the Month:
November – Darren Raddysh (Erie Otters)
October – Mathieu Henderson (Flint Firebirds)

Rookie of the Month:
November – Linus Nyman (Kingston Frontenacs)
October – Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm)

Vaughn Goaltender of the Month:
November – Tyler Parsons (London Knights)
October – Troy Timpano (Erie Otters)