OHL ANNOUNCES 2019-20 ALL-STAR AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAMS

All Star Teams

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the First, Second and Third All-Star Team selections along with the First and Second All-Rookie Team selections for the 2019-20 season.

The OHL All-Star Teams were selected by the OHL’s General Managers, with voting conducted in two stages beginning with a Conference ballot followed by a final ballot that integrated the top selections from both the Eastern and Western Conference results.

Headlining the First Team is Red Tilson Trophy recipient and OHL scoring leader Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s who becomes the first 67’s player to be selected to the League’s First All-Star Team since Tyler Toffoli in 2011-12. The top 2020 NHL Draft prospect led the entire Canadian Hockey League with 120 points, producing at a 2.14 point-per-game clip for the OHL’s first place team. Joining Rossi in the forward ranks was OHL goal-scoring leader Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect who lit the lamp 55 times in just 46 games. Flanking the right side is Los Angeles Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs who scored 48 goals and posted 98 points in 57 games. OHL Defenceman of the Year Noel Hoefenmayer of the Ottawa 67’s stands out on the blue line after recording a league-best 82 points including 26 goals over 58 games. Top draft eligible rearguard Jamie Drysdale joins Hoefenmayer on the back end after a sophomore season with the Erie Otters that included 47 points over 49 games. Fellow Canadian National Junior Team gold medalist Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm, who was voted OHL Goaltender of the Year, was appointed as a First Team All-Star netminder after posting a league-high .924 save percentage and five shutouts. OHL Coach of the Year Andre Tourigny of the Ottawa 67’s rounds out the group, being voted to the OHL’s First All-Star Team for a second consecutive year.

Washington Capitals first round pick Connor McMichael is positioned down the middle on the Second Team, joined by wingers in 111-point scorer Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit and fifth-year overage veteran Joseph Garreffa of the Ottawa 67’s. Dallas Stars first round selection Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads joins New Jersey Devils prospect Kevin Bahl on the back end while 2020 OHL Humanitarian of the Year and Los Angeles Kings prospect Jacob Ingham of the Kitchener Rangers holds down the crease. Dale Hunter of the London Knights was voted Second Team Head Coach, being selected to an All-Star Team for the sixth time in his OHL coaching career.

Top 2020 NHL Draft prospect Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves was voted Third Team centreman. He’s accompanied on the wings by Guelph Storm 45-goal scorer Pavel Gogolev and Sarnia Sting overage veteran Sean Josling who led his team with 78 points. The Third Team defence corps consists of the London Knights tandem of Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alec Regula and San Jose Sharks first round pick Ryan Merkley while Ottawa 67’s netminder Cedrick Andree is in goal. George Burnett of the Guelph Storm was voted to an OHL All-Star Team for the seventh time in his career, being named Third Team Head Coach.

A total of 11 teams were represented among the All-Star selections led by the Hamilton Spectator Trophy recipient Ottawa 67’s with six including First Team members Rossi, Hoefenmayer and Tourigny, Second Team selections Garreffa and Bahl and Third Team selection Andree. The Midwest Division champion London Knights trailed with four selections including Second Team members McMichael and coach Dale Hunter as well as Third Team defenders Merkley and Regula.

The Ontario Hockey League also unveiled its First and Second All-Rookie Teams for the 2019-20 season.

OHL Rookie of the Year and 2019 OHL Priority Selection first overall pick Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs headlined the First All-Rookie Team, being joined by former Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget teammates in second overall OHL Priority Selection choice Brennan Othmann of the Flint Firebirds and fourth overall pick Brandt Clarke of the Barrie Colts on the back end. Sudbury Wolves winger Chase Stillman and Finnish-born Windsor Spitfires rearguard Ruben Rafkin joined London Knights standout netminder Brett Brochu in completing the First Team.

The Second Team is centred by 2019 fifth overall OHL Priority Selection choice and Peterborough Petes 29-goal scorer Mason McTavish. He’s joined up front by CHL Import Draft selections and 2020 NHL Draft prospects Martin Chromiak of the Kingston Frontenacs and Oliver Suni of the Oshawa Generals. On the blue line, North Bay Battalion rearguard Paul Christopoulos joins Saginaw Spirit defender Mitchell Smith in front of North Bay goaltender Joe Vrbetic to round out the group.

A total of 10 different teams were represented among the All-Rookie Team selections led by the Kingston Frontenacs and North Bay Battalion with a pair each.

2019-20 OHL All-Star Teams:

First All-Star Team:
C – Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (OHL’s Most Outstanding Player) – voted 2nd all-rookie team in 2018-19
LW – Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes
RW – Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs – voted 2nd team in 2018-19, 2nd all-rookie team in 2017-18
D – Noel Hoefenmayer, Ottawa 67’s (OHL Defenceman of the Year)
D – Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
G – Nico Daws, Guelph Storm (OHL Goaltender of the Year)
Coach – Andre Tourigny, Ottawa 67’s (OHL Coach of the Year) – voted 1st team in 2018-19

Second All-Star Team:
C – Connor McMichael, London Knights
LW – Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
RW – Joseph Garreffa, Ottawa 67’s
D – Thomas Harley, Mississauga Steelheads – voted 3rd team in 2018-19
D – Kevin Bahl, Ottawa 67’s
G – Jacob Ingham, Kitchener Rangers – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2016-17
Coach – Dale Hunter, London Knights – voted 3rd team in 2018-19, 1st team in 2009-10, 2nd team in 2005-06, 1st team in 2004-05, 1st team in 2003-04

Third All-Star Team:
C – Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
LW – Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm
RW – Sean Josling, Sarnia Sting
D – Alec Regula, London Knights – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2017-18
D – Ryan Merkley, London Knights – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2016-17
G – Cedrick Andree, Ottawa 67’s
Coach – George Burnett, Guelph Storm – voted 2nd team in 2012-13, 2nd team in 2008-09, 3rd team in 2007-08, 2nd team in 1997-98, 1st team in 1991-92, 1st team in 1990-91

2019-20 OHL All-Rookie Teams:

First All-Rookie Team:
C – Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL Rookie of the Year)
LW – Brennan Othmann, Flint Firebirds
RW – Chase Stillman, Sudbury Wolves
D – Brandt Clarke, Barrie Colts
D – Ruben Rafkin, Windsor Spitfires
G – Brett Brochu, London Knights

Second All-Rookie Team:
C – Mason McTavish, Peterborough Petes
LW – Martin Chromiak, Kingston Frontenacs
RW – Oliver Suni, Oshawa Generals
D – Paul Christopoulos, North Bay Battalion
D – Mitchell Smith, Saginaw Spirit
G – Joe Vrbetic, North Bay Battalion

For full coverage of the 2020 OHL Awards, be sure to visit ontariohockeyleague.com or follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

Ruben Rafkin – Windsor Spitfires – Player Profile

Height: 6’

Weight: 190 Pounds

Date of birth: January 8, 2002

Hometown: Turku, Finland

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 14th overall, 2019 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect 72 N.A. 84 N.A.

We may as well get this tweet by Ruben Rafkin this morning out of the way first:

 

Rafkin signed a two-year deal to play professional hockey with his hometown team TPS in the Finnish Elite League (Liiga as it is known in Finland). The move follows teammate and goaltender Kari Piiroinen’s decision to leave the Spitfires and play for Tappara in their native Finland.

How does this affect Rafkin for the 2020 National Hockey League Draft? Well, there are two trains of thought here. One, you have to like the fact that he will be playing against men in a very good league for the next two years as opposed to Major Junior. Two, there is always some concern that players who sign European contracts at this stage may not always be willing to jump over to the NHL.

Ruben Rafkin of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Ruben Rafkin of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

Also coming into question is whether Rafkin will be considered drafted from the CHL or from a European League. The importance of that is this: Players drafted out of the CHL are not eligible to play in the AHL unless they are 20 years of age. Hence, it’s the CHL or NHL for them, whereas players drafted out of Europe are eligible for the AHL at any age after the draft. This is important should Rafkin have an out-clause to come back to North America at any time under this contract.

Think back to 2012 when Spitfires’ Alexander Khokhlachev returned home to Russia to play in the KHL. Half way through the season, he wanted to return to North America, but there were only two options available to him because he was drafted out of the OHL: return to the Spitfires or play in the NHL with the Boston Bruins. The latter had virtually no chance of happening, so his only option was the OHL.

Jim Parker of the Windsor Star has this quote from Rafkin:

“I just finished four years of high school in the States and I am ready for (the) men’s game,” the 18-year-old Rafkin said. “Also, (it’s) to be closer to see my little brother (eight-year-old Rafael) grow up and it has always been a dream to play pro in my hometown. I have nothing bad to say about Windsor.”

Rafkin played his Midget hockey in the United States. He put on the blades for the Selects Hockey Academy Under-16 squad during the 2017-2018 season and in 47 games scored 10 goals and assisted on 34. During the season, Rafkin received a tender to play for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League for the 2018-2019 season, which he signed. Rafkin had previously committed to play for the University of Denver for 2019-2020.

Rafkin would play in 38 games for the Storm and score 2 goals and 8 helpers while racking up 90 minutes in penalties.

This season, Rafkin decided to forego his NCAA career and opted to sign with the Spitfires after they selected him 14th overall at the 2019 CHL Import Draft. He appeared in 59 games with the Spitfires scoring 4 goals and assisting on 27.

Rafkin is not a typical Finn that is about skating, passing and scoring goals. He’s a physical defender who, while at 6 feet tall, plays even bigger. In fact, he relishes that type of game and the more physical the game, the better he is. And he’ll be the first player to come to the aid of a teammate.

But he’s not just a physical player as he possesses some intriguing skills. Rafkin is a very smooth skater with excellent agility. He’s not a burner but he’s not slow. He uses his edges very well and he’s quick enough to step up on opponents and deliver a check. He’s strong along the walls, but needs to work on his net front coverage both in terms of positioning and strength.

Rafkin also has some very good vision, and when combined with the superb passing abilities he has, he is a threat at creating offense. He has the ability to quarterback the powerplay with those skills, but we didn’t always see those opportunities granted to him in Windsor.

Rafkin’s defensive abilities suggest he will be an NHL player. And playing against men for two years will further develop those skills. The only real question is whether his offence can improve and how much it translates to the NHL. That’s the million-dollar question for NHL Scouts. And how high do you draft a defensive defenceman.

I’m not suggesting Rafkin is just a defensive defenceman, that’s his strength right now. I’m just not sure how much offence he has for the NHL.

But the risk/reward may just be worth an extra thought.