NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season: B, November: C, Mid-term: 15 North American goalies
Owen Sound Attack and Knoxville Tennessee native Mack Guzda is a product of the Honeybaked Under-16 program where he played during the 2016-2017 season prior to the Attack selecting him in the middle of the second round at the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. Guzda has both American and Canadian citizenship and he attended Canada’s Under-17 development camp last season. Guzda is the cousin of former NHL’er Jeff Woywitka.
Guzda appeared in 30 games for the attack last season and posted a goals-against-average of 3.20 and a save-percentage of .879. Coming into this season he was widely considered the top goaltending prospect from the OHL eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia.
But it’s been a disappointing season of sorts for Guzda. As we enter the final week of the OHL season, Guzda has appeared in 46 games for the Attack posting a 3.59 goals-against-average and a save-percentage of .879. For a brief time, he lost the crease to fellow draft eligible netminder Andrew MacLean.
When breaking down Guzda’s save percentage by zone, it paints a better picture. With shots from the high danger zone area he has a save-percentage of .800. From the mid danger zone area however, it drops to .779. And from the low danger zones it sits at where he should be with a .909 save-percentage.
First and foremost, Guzda has the physical attributes that NHL scouts are enamored with when it comes to netminders. He stands 6’5” tall and at 218 pounds, he takes up a lot of net. Despite the size, he is incredibly athletic. He uses that size to his advantage to see over players and track pucks. However, he sometimes loses pucks in his feet and I believe it’s just a matter of continuing to learn to play with his size.
I wouldn’t call Guzda a pure butterfly netminder but more of a hybrid. His size and athleticism allow him to use whatever it takes to stop pucks. He gets to the top of the paint quickly and with ease and squares up to shooters. He has shown that he is capable of excellent rebound control, but at times he can stumble with control and give up second chance opportunities.
Giving up bad goals is sort of a two-faced sword. He has shown he can rebound from shots he’d like to have over again. Then other times he seems to get rattled by them.
I would say the biggest negative impact with Guzda has been the inability to find consistency. Good coaching can solve the issues he’s facing. But the Attack have a very good goaltending coach in Greg Redquest who has worked with the likes of Jordan Binnington and Michael McNiven in Owen Sound. It may be an issue where Guzda was thrown to the wolves too early and didn’t have the luxury of watching and learning from the beginning of his OHL career.
Whatever the case may be, I believe Guzda has the tools and the willingness. He’ll just have to find consistency and fine tune some aspects of his game.
Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the OHL Academic Players of the Month for December 2018, including defenceman Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads, goaltenders Tye Austin of the Peterborough Petes and Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack as well as forward Jordan Frasca of the Windsor Spitfires.
East Division: Peterborough Petes rookie goaltender Tye Austin is the OHL East Division Academic Player of the Month for December. The 16-year-old from Dunrobin, Ont. is currently excelling in his Grade 11 studies at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School, posting a 90% average over university level Chemistry, Visual Arts and Environmental Science courses. “Tye is highly motivated to succeed and he is invested in his school work,” said Petes academic advisor Kim Driscoll. “His ability to balance his academic and hockey commitments is a direct result of his work ethic and determination. Peterborough’s third round (43rd overall pick) in 2018, Austin has played in eight games this season, going 1-2-0-0 with a 4.51 goals-against average and .876 save percentage. He earned his first career OHL victory on Nov. 25th in Hamilton.
Central Division: Draft eligible Mississauga Steelheads defenceman Thomas Harley is the OHL Central Division Academic Player of the Month for December. The 17-year-old from Syracuse, NY, has maintained an 81.25% average in his Grade 12 studies at Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School, taking on a course load that includes English, Kinesiology, Physics and Co-op programs. The 6-foot-3, 183Ib defender has 29 points (6-23–29) over 36 games this season and has been selected to compete in the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game later this month in Red Deer, Alta. Harley was Mississauga’s first round (14th overall) pick in 2017 from the Vaughan Kings Minor Midgets.
Midwest Division: Draft eligibleOwen Sound Attack sophomore netminder Mack Guzda is the OHL Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month for December. The 17-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn. carries an overall average of 97% in Grade 12 studies at K12 International Academy, a course load that includes British & World Literature, Government & Politics, Trigonometry, Criminal Justice and Environmental Science. The OHL’s Ivan Tennant Award winner in 2017-18, Guzda currently holds a 100% average in his British & World Literature course. “Mack continues to demonstrate the remarkable commitment to education that won him last year’s Ivan Tennant Award,” said Attack academic advisor Sarah Rowe. “He is to be commended for the incredible success he has achieved in his full load of academic courses. He is the epitome of the student athlete.” Now in his second OHL season, Guzda is 11-9-1-1 with a 3.42 goals-against average and an .883 save percentage with two shutouts over 25 games.
West Division: Windsor Spitfires forward Jordan Frasca is the OHL West Division Academic Player of the Month for December. The 17-year-old from Caledon, Ont. carries an 85% average in his Grade 12 studies at St. Anne High School in Windsor. Frasca is currently studying university level Chemistry, Functions, Business Leadership and English. In 29 games this season, the 6-foot-1, 176Ib left-winger has 15 points (6-9–15). Frasca was Windsor’s seventh round pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection from the Mississauga Senators Minor Midgets. He spent last season with the Chatham Maroons Jr. B club, recording 38 points (12-26–38) over 43 games.
2018-19 OHL Academic Players of the Month:
East Division: December – Tye Austin (Peterborough Petes) November – Will Cranley (Ottawa 67’s) October – Nick Wong (Oshawa Generals)
Central Division: December – Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads) November – Peter Stratis (Sudbury Wolves) October – Jonah De Simone (Niagara IceDogs)
Midwest Division: December – Mack Guzda (Owen Sound Attack) November – Gerard Keane (London Knights) October – Isaac Langdon (Kitchener Rangers)
West Division: December – Jordan Frasca (Windsor Spitfires) November – Cole MacKay (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) October – Colton Kammerer (Sarnia Sting)
Last season, the OHL Centrally Administered Scholarship Program facilitated scholarships for 321 OHL Alumni at 66 different academic institutions across North America with a total scholarship payment in excess of $3.2 million. Since the 2007-08 season, OHL Scholarship payments have totaled more than $22 million.
Click here for more information about ‘OHL Players First’ programs.
It was supposed to be a two-horse race between Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs, two OHL’ers expected to go in the first round of the 2019 National Hockey League Draft in June from Vancouver, British Columbia.
It’s still early, just passing the one-third mark of the season, so there is still a lot of hockey remaining to be played, but Kaliyev has put a little distance between himself and Suzuki – for the moment. But the gap between the points leader – Kaliyev (40 points in 26 games) and Suzuki (32 points in 24 games) is greater then the gap between Suzuki and third place Cole MacKay of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (27 points in 27 games).
It’s also no surprise that Kaliyev, the best pure scorer in the draft class, leads in goals with 21. What may surprise some people is that Connor McMichael of the London Knights is just 4 behind the goal scoring leader. There’s a drop off to the third-place skater, Philip Tomasino of the Niagara IceDogs with 11 goals.
Among defencemen, Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads and Billy Constantinou of the Kingston Frontenacs continue to be offensive sparkplugs. Harley leads defender with 22 points in 27 games while Constantinou comes in second with 19 points in 26 games. They are trailed by four defencemen with 12 points.
In the crease, Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes leads netminders in goals-against-average, save percentage, games played, minutes played, wins and tied with Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack in shutouts.
Here are the statistical leaders in a variety of categories. Always refer to the OHL website for official stats.
At the 2018 National Hockey League Draft, the Los Angeles Kings selected JacobIngham of the Mississauga Steelheads in the sixth round, 175th overall, while the Las Vegas Goldens Knights chose London Knights puck stopper JordanKooy in the seventh round, 208th overall.
At the 2017 Draft, the Vancouver Canucks selected MichaelDiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires in the third round, 64th overall. Also selected in the third round was Sault Ste Marie netminder MatthewVillalta, 72nd overall by the Los Angeles Kings. KadenFulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs and KyleKeyser of the Oshawa Generals were signed as free agents by the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins respectively before the start of the 2017-2018 season.
In 2016, TylerParsons of the London Knights was selected in the second round, 54th overall, by the Calgary Flames. The New Jersey Devils would nab EvanCormier from the Saginaw Spirit in the fourth round, 105th overall. DylanWells of the Peterborough Petes was selected in the fifth round. 123rd overall, by the Flames neighbours the Edmonton Oilers. while the Carolina Hurricanes would take JeremyHelvig of the Kingston Frontenacs in the fifth round, 134th overall.
In 2015, MacKenzieBlackwood would be the only Ontario Hockey League goaltender selected at the draft. The New Jersey Devils would select Blackwood in the second round, 42 overall.
Ask around in hockey circles and many would tell you that goaltending is an area of weakness in the OHL when it comes to the NHL Draft. 2017 looks good at the moment, but Fulcher and Keyser were never drafted which means all 31 NHL Clubs passed on them seven times.
So why would 2019, which takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 21-22 be any different? Well the simple answer is: I don’t know. I don’t have some magic crystal ball that helps predict the future. Just the sheer number of goaltenders entering their draft year adds some intrigue. Add to them a couple of undrafted goaltenders that will be re-entering the draft adds another dimension.
During the 2016-2017 OHL season, an undrafted (in the OHL) Villalta drew my attention very early on. And as the season progressed, his draft stock began to rise. All the way to number 72 in the draft. So, is there another Matthew Villalta knocking at the door in 2018-2019?
When NHL Central Scouting released it’s players to watch list earlier this month, five OHL goaltenders were found on the list. They include MackGuzda of the Owen Sound Attack as a B prospect, LukeCavallin of the Flint Firebirds, HunterJones of the Peterborough Petes, NicholasDaws of the Guelph Storm, and KariPiiroinen of the Windsor Spitfires, all as C prospects. (a B prospect is considered a second or third rounder while a C prospect is considered a fourth, fifth or sixth round prospect).
It was no surprise to see Guzda at the top of Central’s list as he already had the benefit of an OHL season under his belt. During the 2017-2018 season, Guzda appeared in 30 games for the Attack posting a 3.20 goals-against average and .879 save percentage. But it has been a less-then-expected start for Guzda and his Attack Team. In seven games he boasts a 2-5-0-0 record with a save percentage at just .859 and a goals-against average of 4.11. But I have no doubt that he will improve on those stats as the season progresses.
Much like Villalta during the 2016-2017 season, if you haven’t started paying attention to the Petes’ Hunter Jones, then you should probably start now before you lag behind. He leads all OHL goaltenders in appearances (10), minutes played (539), shots faced (323), saves (303) and wins (8). Among puck stoppers who have played in four or more contests, he trails only Kooy in goals-against average (2.22 versus 2.01) and leads all netminders in save percentage (.938).
In eight of the complete games Jones has started this season, he has faced under 35 shots just twice. He had one poor start, allowing 6 goals against the Hamilton Bulldogs in two periods on September 29, 2018. His other starts would be a record setting pace.
Speaking of the Bulldogs, not making Central Scouting’s opening list is Hamilton netminder ZacharyRoy. One has to wonder if things keep going the way they are in the Steel City, if there will be a goaltending controversy in the crease. NickDonofrio, who went undrafted in 2018 and re-enters the draft, was the backup last season to Fulcher and the incumbent starter for this season.
It’s been a slow start for Donofrio, posting a 3-3-1-0 record with a 3.74 goals-against average and .881 save percentage. Roy was given his first OHL start on October 10 and put in a brilliant 42 save performance in a 5-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires. A week later, Roy was given the start against the Mississauga Steelheads stopping 29 of 30 shots and getting the 5-1 victory. He was rewarded for his performance and started in back-to-back games and getting a 6-5 overtime victory on the road against the Oshawa Generals. Roy now has a 2.61 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.
Perhaps the goaltender that is going to be the toughest to get a read on is Flint Firebirds’ Luke Cavallin. The Firebirds are off to a dismal start at 0-9-0-0 having allowed the most goals (53) and scoring the fewest (17) so wins are going to be tough to come by in Flint.
EmanuelVella is the number one goaltender in Flint. Cavallin has only appeared in two complete games this season, five in total. He’s come on in relief of Vella twice, not allowing a goal on both occasions. But he was also given the hook on one occasion in a game everyone would like to forget, a 12-1 drubbing by the Erie Otters.
The only way to get a good read on Cavallin is to hope he plays and plays a lot and to constantly have eyes on his performance and not paying attention to the outcome. Because the outcome may not be pretty.
Kari Piiroinen of the Windsor Spitfires is in kind of a similar situation. Not that the Spits are the Firebirds, but that you need to have eyes on Piiroinen constantly as you never know when he will make his next appearance. At least that is what one would think when you are backing up the best netminder in the OHL in Micheal DiPietro.
However, the Finnish born Piiroinen has started three of the Spits nine games and came on in relief of DiPietro in another. He boasts a 2-2-0-0 record with a goals-against average of 2.70 and a save percentage of .913, all of which are better then DiPietro’s stats. It’s possible the Spitfires might consider trading DiPietro in order to recoup some assets and that could benefit Piiroinen and his draft stock.
In Sault Ste Marie, Villalta is the incumbent for the Greyhounds. They began the season with OHL veteran TylerJohnson as his backup, but he has since made the jump to the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League. In comes EthanTaylor, who was not on Central Scouting’s list.
Taylor has gotten 2 starts in the last ten days and has come on in relief of Villalta where he stopped all 15 shots he faced in a 6-2 loss the Ottawa 67’s handed the Greyhounds. Taylor has exceptional numbers: a 1-0-1-0 record to go along with his 1.65 goals-against average and .973 save percentage. There was a lot of intrigue surrounding Taylor, and with Johnson moving on, a window of opportunity has opened up for him. Now he has to make the best of his chances when his number is called upon.
The Guelph Storm’s Nicholas Daws did make Central Scouting’s list. He appeared in 14 games for the Storm a season ago posting a goals-against average of 4.06 and a save percentage of .880 and a 1-7-1-1 record. He has started three games for the Storm this season and his stats have regressed from a year ago with his 4.25 goals-against average and .843 saver percentage and a 2-1-0-0 record.
Daws is backing up veteran AnthonyPopovich and will likely see more starts then the other backups who are draft eligible. The Storm currently lead the Midwest Division, second overall in the league, with a 6-2-1-0 record but with the league’s eighth worst goals allowed (33). There is a real opportunity here for Daws and the Storm if he can put it all together and improve on his early season start.
RyanDugas of the 3-7-0-0 Kingston Frontenacs is another netminder not on Central Scouting’s list. The Fronts occupy the basement of the East Division and are third from the bottom in the entire league. Although he is backing up veteran BrendanBonello, Dugas has been a bright spot of sorts for Kingston.
Dugas has appeared in 4 games, one of those being in relief of Bonello, and has a 2-1-0-0 record. His first OHL game was a 27 save shutout performance on September 29 against the Erie Otters. He holds a 2.52 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He is Kingston’s goalie of the future and if he can steal some starts – and wins – he will draw some attention.
Finally, we have to give a mention to Barrie Colts netminder JetGreaves. Currently behind veteran KaiEdmonds and 2017 Vegas Golden Knights draft pick MaksimZhukov who the Colts selected in the 2018 Import Draft, I really like Greaves coming into the season if not for name alone.
The fact is that Edmonds and Zhukov were not getting it done for the Colts, who sit second to last in the Central Division and Greaves got a chance and has outperformed his partners. Although he has a 1-1-0-0 record, his loss came against the Mississauga Steelheads in which he stopped 28 of 30 shots and his teammates could only score once.
Greaves holds a 1.52 goals-against average with a .949 save percentage. It could be in the Colts best interest to give him more starts right now and see if he can run with it.
With all that said and out of the way, 2019 is not the best draft class to come out of the OHL. In fact, it could be one of the worst ever for the OHL. And that could bode well for a goaltending class that is better then usual – at least in sheer numbers.
It’s happening more and more when the National Hockey League Draft takes place in late June. Grandsons, sons, brothers and cousins of former NHL’ers and other professional leagues from around the world look to carve their own niche and it all begins with hearing their names called on the draft floor, which takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 21-22, 2019.
There is no shortage of Ontario Hockey League players that will be in that position. A total of 17 players eligible for the draft for the first time have had a relative play in the NHL, drafted by an NHL squad, or played some form of professional hockey.
Today, we take a look at those players beginning with the Barrie Colts. The Colts have 3 players with bloodlines. Defenceman Victor Hadfield is the grandson on former NHL’er Vic Hadfield who appeared in 1002 NHL games with the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Center Ryan Suzuki is the younger brother of Nick Suzuki, a first round pick of the Vegas Golden Knights, selected thirteenth overall in 2017 and later traded to the Montreal Canadiens. Finally, goaltender Luke Cavallin is the son of Mark who played professional hockey in Germany and represented Canada internationally in 25 contests. He also has a younger brother Adam playing Bantam Hockey.
The Guelph Storm also have a trio with hockey in their blood and hockey fans will certainly recognize two of the names. Centreman Mason Primeau is the son of Wayne Primeau and nephew of Keith Primeau. Wayne played in 774 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs. Keith appeared in 909 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers.
Left Winger Tag Bertuzzi is the son of former NHL’er Todd Bertuzzi. His NHL career consisted of 1159 games with the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings. He is also the cousin of Tyler Bertuzzi who has thus far played in 58 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings.
German born Hamilton Bulldogs’ forward TimFleischer has a brother Marc, who is just three years older and trying to make Germany’s top league.
Kitchener Rangers’ blueliner JackYork is the son of former NHL’er Jason York, who played a total of 757 games for Detroit, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators and Boston. The elder York also spent the lockout year in the Swiss League. Jack also has a younger brother Matthew playing in the CCHL.
For the London Knights, defenceman AndrewPerrott is the son of Nathan Perrott, a forward with 89 NHL games experience, who also played 266 American Hockey League games and 168 International Hockey League games.
Also from the Knights, is centreman Matvey Guskov. His father Alexander never played in the NHL but competed in 294 Kontinental Hockey League games and 468 games in the top Russian League (prior to the formation of the KHL). He also appeared in 54 international contests for the Russians.
Oshawa Generals right wing DanilAntropov is the son of former NHL’er Nik Antropov, a veteran of 788 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets. Nik also played in 168 KHL games over his career.
MackGuzda is a goaltender with the Owen Sound Attack and the son of a former goaltender Brad Guzda. The elder puck stopper never did play in the NHL but spent his career bouncing around the AHL, ECHL and IHL. He is also the cousin of Jeff Woywitka who played in 278 NHL games as well as 355 AHL games and a couple of seasons in Germany.
Peterborough Petes centreman NickRobertson is the younger brother of Kingston Frontenacs scoring star and the 37th overall pick at the 2017 NHL draft Jason Robertson. They also have an older brother Michael currently playing at the University of Southern California.
That brings us to NathanStaios, a defenceman with the Windsor Spitfires and the son of the current General Manager of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Steve Staios. Steve had a long career, appearing in 1001 NHL games with the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, Atlanta Thrashers, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and New York Islanders. He also appeared in 64 AHL games and 104 IHL games.
If you are a fan of the Ontario Hockey League and the National Hockey League Draft is your thing, you might want to wait until day two of the two day event to be held June 21 and 22 from Vancouver, British Columbia.
The 2019 draft is considered to be a strong and deep draft with strength at every position. While it is still very early, the fact that this could be a down year for the OHL as it pertains to the draft is proving to be just that.
Just two OHL’ers, Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs are listed on NHL Central Scouting’s players to watch list as “A prospects.” An A prospect is considered to have first round potential.
It gets slightly better for “B prospects”, typically considered to have second and third round potential. That list includes goaltender Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack, widely considered the top goaltender available from the OHL.
The OHL could be hard pressed to reach the 35 players selected from their league in 2018 and might be closer to the all time low of 31 selected at the 2015 NHL Draft. It’s a far cry from the 56 drafted in 1999. In the past 28 years, on average, 43 players have been drafted from the OHL.
Here are the OHL players listed on Central Scouting list:
Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the recipients of the league’s three Academic Player of the Year awards for the 2017-18 season.
Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is the recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy as Scholastic Player of the Year, with Stephen Gibson of the Mississauga Steelheads earning the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the Top Post-Secondary School Student, and Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack named the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award recipient for Top High School Student.
All three players will be formally presented with their awards at the annual OHL Awards Ceremony on Wednesday June 6. Hayton will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Scholastic Player of the Year which will be announced on Saturday May 26 as part of the events at the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Regina.
Bobby Smith Trophy (OHL Scholastic Player of the Year) – Barrett Hayton, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds:
Barrett Hayton earns OHL Scholastic Player of the Year honours for his achievements as a Grade 12 student at Superior Heights combined with his on-ice excellence for the Greyhounds. This season he obtained an overall average of 87% studying University level courses in Math – Advanced Functions, Math – Data Management, Biology, Chemistry, English, and Recreation & Healthy Active Living Leadership, while producing 60 points in 63 regular season games.
“It is an incredible honour to win this award,” said Hayton. “It would not have been possible without the support of the Soo Greyhounds organization and Superior Heights School. I take pride both on and off the ice to develop not only as a player but also as a person.”
The 17-year-old from Peterborough, Ont., scored 21 goals and 39 assists this season contributing to a banner season in Sault Ste. Marie where the club finished atop the OHL’s regular season standings with a record 55 wins and 116 points. The first round pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection won gold with Canada at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup and is now a projected first round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and was listed ninth among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings.
“We wish to congratulate Barrett on being awarded the Bobby Smith Trophy,” said Greyhounds General Manager Kyle Raftis. “As an organization, we couldn’t be more proud of Barrett. He embodies all of the qualities you wish for in a Greyhound. Known for his dedicated and disciplined personality, Barrett’s academic work ethic is synonymous with his devotion to the game. Barrett demonstrates that you can have tremendous success on the ice, and still maximize your academic potential.”
Each year the Bobby Smith Trophy is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence. The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, a former Ottawa 67’s star who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas. First presented in 1980, Hayton is the third member of the Greyhounds to receive the award following Darnell Nurse (2013) and Jake McCracken (1997). Past recipients include three-time winner Dustin Brown (Guelph 2001-03), Steven Stamkos (Sarnia 2007), Matt Duchene (Brampton 2009), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2011), back-to-back winner Connor McDavid (Erie 2014-15), Nicolas Hague (Mississauga 2016), and Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 2017).
Runner-up for the award this season was fellow 2018 NHL Draft prospect Ty Dellandrea of the Flint Firebirds, with finalists that include top prospects Kevin Bahl of the Ottawa 67’s and Aidan Dudas of the Owen Sound Attack.
Roger Neilson Memorial Award (Top Post-Secondary Student) – Stephen Gibson, Mississauga Steelheads:
Stephen Gibson earns his second straight academic honour for his post-secondary studies at Ryerson University excelling once again in his Business courses that include Business Information Systems, Business Law, Business Statistics, Intro to Global Management, Intro to Professional Communication, and Public Relations Principles. This also marks the third straight season the award has been earned by a Steelheads player with Damian Bourne receiving the honour in 2016.
“I am very honoured to once again be the recipient of the Roger Neilson Memorial Award,” said Gibson. “I would like to thank Elliott Kerr, James Richmond, and the entire Mississauga Steelheads organization for allowing me to pursue my hockey goals while supporting my academic endeavours. I would also like to thank the Ontario Hockey League for creating an environment that allows players to further their education while they are playing in the league. The OHL is the best developmental hockey league in the world, while providing players every resource needed to be successful off the ice.”
The 21-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., finished his five-year OHL tenure with the Steelheads as the club’s leader in career games played with 263 after being chosen in the seventh round of the 2013 OHL Priority Selection. The overage defenceman recorded one goal and nine assists for 10 points playing in all 68 regular season games in 2017-18.
“Our Steelheads family are very proud of Stephen and this prestigious accomplishment,” said Steelheads General Manager and Head Coach James Richmond. “He is a super person both on and off the ice and we’re happy that he is once again being recognized for his dedication to not only his athletic performance but also for his academic achievements. Congratulations Stephen and we wish you continued success!”
The Roger Neilson Memorial Award is named in honour of the Hall of Fame Coach who served behind the Peterborough Petes bench in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Neilson, a former high school teacher, was a pioneer in stressing the importance of education to all of his players. First presented in 2005, fellow two-time winners include Danny Battochio (Ottawa 2005-06) and Derek Lanoue (Windsor 2010-11).
Finalists for the award include William Sirman of the Windsor Spitfires and Jonathan Yantsis of the Kitchener Rangers.
Ivan Tennant Memorial Award (Top Academic High School Student) – Mack Guzda, Owen Sound Attack:
Owen Sound rookie goaltender Mack Guzda achieved a 94% average during the 2017-18 academic season studying Algebra, Chemistry, English, Law and Order, Sport Marketing, and U.S. History through online programs with the K12 International Academy.
“It is a great honour to be the recipient of this year’s Ivan Tennant Award,” said Guzda. “I’m extremely thankful for our education consultant, coaches, management, and for the ownership group that supply any extra help we might need to grow academically. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to excel in the classroom while competing in the Ontario Hockey League.”
The 17-year-old from Knoxville, Tennessee, played 30 games between-the-pipes for the Attack this season after being chosen by the club in the second round of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. Named to the First All-Rookie Team, Guzda carried an overall record of 14-6-2-2 with one shutout along with a goals-against-average of 3.20 and save percentage of .879. His 14 victories set a new Attack mark for 16-year-old netminders.
“Mack’s worth ethic in the classroom this year was second to none and we couldn’t be prouder that he’s being honoured for his academic excellence,” said Attack General Manager Dale DeGray. “The Attack have always placed a premium on education, and this is a testament to Mack, our education consultant Sarah Rowe, and the fantastic team of tutors that we have to help our players become well rounded student athletes.”
The Ivan Tennant Memorial Award is given to the Top Academic High School Player and is named in honour of Ivan Tennant, who spent a lifetime combining hockey and education. He was the Kitchener Rangers’ Education Consultant for 20 years and a key figure on the OHL’s Education Consultant’s Committee. First presented in 2005, Guzda is the second member of the Attack to receive the award following Andrew Shorkey in 2007. Past recipients also include brothers Matt and Adam Pelech (Sarnia 2005 and Erie 2012), Freddie and Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2009 and 2010), and recent winners Stephen Dhillon (Niagara 2015), Kyle Keyser (Flint 2016), and Quinn Hanna (Guelph 2017).
Finalists for the award include Billy Moskal of the London Knights and Isaac Walker of the Mississauga Steelheads.
All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for each award with the Bobby Smith Trophy nominees representing the 2017-18 OHL Scholastic Team:
2017-18 OHL Scholastic Team: Barrie Colts – Nathan Allensen Erie Otters – Maxim Golod
Flint Firebirds – Ty Dellandrea* Guelph Storm – Owen Lalonde*
Hamilton Bulldogs – Jake Murray Kingston Frontenacs – Ted Nichol Kitchener Rangers – Riley Damiani* London Knights – Billy Moskal Mississauga Steelheads – Jacob Ingham Niagara IceDogs – Ben Jones* North Bay Battalion – Travis Mailhot Oshawa Generals – Allan McShane Ottawa 67’s – Kevin Bahl Owen Sound Attack – Aidan Dudas Peterborough Petes – Zach Gallant** Saginaw Spirit – Damien Giroux* Sarnia Sting – Colton Kammerer Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – Barrett Hayton Sudbury Wolves – Peter Stratis Windsor Spitfires – Curtis Douglas
*member of 2016-17 OHL Scholastic Team
**member of 2015-16 OHL Scholastic Team
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.
“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):
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)
Centre – Ryan Suzuki, Barrie Colts (53)
Left Wing – Maxim Golod, Erie Otters (36)
Right Wing – Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs (59)