Wolves’ Quinton Byfield named OHL Rookie of the Year

OHL Announces First and Second All-Rookie Teams

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that forward Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves is the 2018-19 recipient of the Emms Family Award presented to the OHL’s Rookie of the Year.

Byfield joined the league as the first overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection and finished third in rookie scoring with 61 points in 64 games including 29 goals and 32 assists helping the Wolves win more than 40 games for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

“It’s super humbling,” Byfield said. “There’s a lot of good rookies this year that could have won it. I think a lot of them deserved it as well. I couldn’t have done it by myself and owe a lot to my coaches who put trust in me, gave me every opportunity to succeed, and put me in every situation. And my teammates, our off-ice chemistry was unbelievable. We had a very special group, we’re super tight, and that helped us on the ice and really helped me too.

“My billet family, since day one, welcomed me into their family and they supported me along the way,” added Byfield. “To my Mom, Dad, Sister, Oma, they all believed in me, supported me, and sacrificed everything for me just so I could go play hockey. This is just really special for me and I’m really honoured.”

The Newmarket, Ont., native, and graduate from the OMHA champion York-Simcoe Express, scored in his Wolves debut on September 21, part of a two-point performance, the first of 16 multi-point games this season.  The 2020 NHL Draft prospect also represented Canada as an alternate captain at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in November.  He finished second overall in Wolves scoring and lit the lamp more than any other 16-year-old rookie to play for ‘the Pack’ in the last 20 years following Norm Milley’s 30 goals in 1996-97.

“For Quinton coming in, being the number one pick after really wanting to be first overall, he’s done everything for us since the start of the season,” said Wolves head coach Cory Stillman, who won OHL Rookie of the Year honours himself as a member of the Windsor Spitfires in 1990-91. “He’s an extremely talented player and is a treat to come to the rink and watch every night.

Byfield, Quinton (1)
Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by OHL Images

“What makes Quinton special, to me, is how hard he plays in all areas of the game,” Stillman added. “He plays on the power play and on the penalty kill. He plays in the last minute if we’re up a goal or if we’re down a goal. I think the biggest thing with Quinton is that he’s only going to get better.”

Byfield is just the third Wolves player to win Rookie of the Year honours following Benoit Pouliot in 2004-05, and Pat Verbeek in 1981-82.  He is also the ninth player to win after also earning the Jack Ferguson Award as the league’s first overall pick following Jeff O’Neill (Guelph 1992-93), 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), Travis Konecny (Ottawa 2013-14), and Ryan Merkley (Guelph 2016-17).  Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts was last season’s recipient.

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.

Byfield earned 61 points in a very close voting process just one point ahead of Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit who finished with 60 voting points.  Defenceman Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters finished in third place with 32 voting points.

All three players were also named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team with Byfield at centre, Perfetti at left wing, and Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting at right wing.  Drysdale was voted on defence alongside NHL Draft prospect Vladislav Kolyachonok of the Flint Firebirds.  Jet Greaves of the Barrie Colts was voted in goal.  Second All-Rookie Team honours were awarded to forwards Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s, Will Cuylle of the Windsor Spitfires, and Tyler Tullio of the Oshawa Generals.  Ryan O’Rourke of the Soo Greyhounds and Daniil Chayka of the Guelph Storm were voted on defence, and Zachary Roy of the Hamilton Bulldogs was chosen 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.

The Emms Family Award will be formally presented to Byfield at the OHL’s annual Awards Ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Wednesday June 5.  He will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Rookie of the Year to be announced at the Memorial Cup presented by Kia on Saturday May 25.

2018-19 OHL All-Rookie Teams (voting points in brackets):
First Team:
Centre – Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves (87)
Left Wing – Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (91)
Right Wing – Jacob Perreault, Sarnia Sting (89)
Defence – Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (95)
Defence – Vladislav Kolyachonok, Flint Firebirds (69)
Goaltender – Jet Greaves, Barrie Colts (58)
Second Team:
Centre – Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (52)
Left Wing – Will Cuylle, Windsor Spitfires (52)
Right Wing – Tyler Tullio, Oshawa Generals (35)
Defence – Ryan O’Rourke, Soo Greyhounds (53)
Defence – Daniil Chayka, Guelph Storm (38)
Goaltender – Zachary Roy, Hamilton Bulldogs (39)

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Vladislav Kolyachonok – Flint Firebirds – Player Profile

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 188 pounds

Date of birth: May 26, 2001

Hometown: Minsk, Belarus

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 2, 102nd overall, 2018 CHL Import Draft (London Knights)

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: pre-season: B prospect, November: A prospect, mid-term: 22nd NA

To say it’s been a bit of a whirlwind season for Flint Firebirds’ defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok is an understatement. Drafted by the London Knights at the 2018 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, once the Chicago Black Hawks decided they would send Adam Boqvist to the OHL, the Knights were left in a position to decide which Import they would place on waivers so they could comply with the CHL rule that the team could only ice two imports.

The Sudbury Wolves had the first crack at Kolyachonok but were already in the position of having two imports on the roster. The Firebirds were second and made room for his arrival by releasing Nikita Alexandrov and on October 2, 2018, the claim was made. Unfortunately for Firebirds’ fans, a delay in obtaining a U.S. Visa kept him out of the lineup until October 26, 2018.

To date, Kolyachonok has 4 goals and 23 assists in 45 games, good for third among the OHL’s draft eligible defenders, despite having played in as many as 15 fewer games.  

At 6’2” Kolyachonok has good size but lacks the bulk to his frame. But once he adds that bulk, there are areas to his game that will show improvement. For example, he will not shy away from physicality, but the added strength will not only make him a physical force, but I believe it will give him greater confidence going into board battles, or those battles to claim the space in front of his netminder.

Kolyachonok is an excellent skater with tremendous agility and very good speed. His excellent mobility was proven at the Sherwin-Williams NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game testing both on ice and off ice where he finished fifth overall in the testing. He ranked third in forward skating with the puck, first in reaction without the puck, second in transition agility without the puck and first in transition agility with the puck.

Kolyachonok, Vladislav
Vladislav Kolyachonok of the Flint Firebirds. Photo courtesy of OHL Images.

In off-ice testing, Kolyachonok ranked second in the broad jump, and first in pro-agility left. All in all, a very good showing.

Kolyachonok is an intelligent player. His positioning in the defensive zone is very sound. His skating allows him to angle opponents off – difficult to beat one-on-one. He uses a very active stick to defend and closes lanes smartly and quickly. His transitioning from defence to offence is excellent. He has the ability to skate out of danger and out of the zone but he is also capable of making an excellent first pass. He is also a left shot defender who plays as strong on his off side.

Offensively, Kolyachonok reads plays extremely well. He is capable of jumping into the play but chooses his opportunities very carefully. He is not a risk taker but I wonder how much of that is confidence, or that he worries about defence first on a team that while is trending in the right direction, still needs some work. And how much of it is due to getting use to the North American game?

Once in the offensive zone, he rarely makes a bad pinch, choosing the safe play most of the time. He sees the ice extremely well and is an excellent passer. He has a very good shot from the point that almost always hits the target, and he gets his shot through. Most of the time he keeps it low looking for tips or trying to create rebounds.

Kolyachonok is a very raw player – a project if you will, who, in my humble opinion, has all the tools to be a solid two-way defender at the next level.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

 

Rosters Announced for 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with National Hockey League Central Scouting have announced the rosters for the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game which takes place on Wednesday January 23 in Red Deer, Alberta.

Top Prospects Game

The 40 players from across the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League selected by NHL clubs to compete in the 24th annual showcase of draft eligible talent have been divided into Team Cherry and Team Orr by NHL Central Scouting.

Team Cherry will be coached by Ron MacLean alongside Dave Hunter and Brent Sutter, with Team Orr to be coached by Kelly Hrudey with Robyn Regehr and Marc Habscheid.

NHL Central Scouting ‘A’ rated prospects Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants), Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets), Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs), Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE), Raphael Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads), Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix), and Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings) headline the Team Cherry roster.  The group also includes World Junior Championship talents in Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat Tigers) from Denmark, and Valentin Nussbaumer (Shawinigan Cataractes) from Switzerland.  A total of 20 different CHL teams are represented on Team Cherry including eight WHL, six OHL, and six QMJHL clubs.  The home team will feature the host Rebels with forward Oleg Zaytsev.

‘A’ rated prospects on Team Orr include Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades), Vladislav Kolyachonok (Flint Firebirds), and Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts).  The group also includes Brett Leason (Prince Albert Raiders) who was a member of Canada’s National Junior Team.  The roster breakdown includes nine OHL players, with seven WHL, and four from the QMJHL representing a total of 17 CHL teams.  Kelowna Rockets defencemen Kaedan Korczak and Lassi Thomson will compete together, as will London Knights forwards Matvey Guskov and Connor McMichael, and teammates Nikita Okhotyuk and Graeme Clarke of the Ottawa 67’s.  The Rockets pair will play opposite Foote, Orr forward Josh Williams will face his Tigers teammate Sogaard, and Orr goaltender Hunter Jones will face his Peterborough Petes teammate Nick Robertson on Cherry.

2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Rosters:

Team Cherry:


Goaltenders:

Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars)
Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat Tigers)

Defencemen:
Samuel Bolduc (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada)
Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants)
Billy Constantinou (Kingston Frontenacs)
Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads)
Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Michael Vukojevic (Kitchener Rangers)

Forwards:
Maxim Cajkovic (Saint John Sea Dogs)
Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets)
Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE)
Raphaël Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads)
Nathan Légaré (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)
Valentin Nussbaumer (Shawinigan Cataractes)
Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix)
Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting)
Nick Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Oleg Zaytsev (Red Deer Rebels)

Team Orr:

Goaltenders:
Colten Ellis (Rimouski Océanic)
Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)

Defencemen:

Artemi Kniazev (Chicoutimi Saguenéens)
Vladislav Kolyachonok (Flint Firebirds)
Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets)
Jake Lee (Seattle Thunderbirds)
Nikita Okhotyuk (Ottawa 67’s)
Lassi Thomson (Kelowna Rockets)

Forwards:
Nikita Alexandrov (Charlottetown Islanders)
Joe Carroll (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s)
Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades)
Matvey Guskov (London Knights)
Brett Leason (Prince Albert Raiders)
Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Sasha Mutala (Tri-City Americans)
Jakob Pelletier (Moncton Wildcats)
Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts)
Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs)
Josh Williams (Medicine Hat Tigers)

The teams are named in recognition of event builders and hockey icons Don Cherry and Bobby Orr who were instrumental in the success of the event when it was first introduced in 1996.  Since 2006, the winning team has been presented with the Don Cherry and Bobby Orr CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Trophy engraved with the names of every player to ever participate in this prestigious event.  Teams wearing the Orr crest carry an overall record of 13-6 while Team Cherry holds an all-time record of 7-13 with the extra victory opposite Team Davidson in 2005.

The 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is proudly supported by title partner Sherwin-Williams, and CHL associate sponsors CIBC, Kia Canada, Cooper Tires, and Kubota Canada.  The game will be broadcast live across Canada on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, and in the United States on NHL Network.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased via reddeerrebels.com or ticketsalberta.com.  For further ticket details please contact the Rebels office at 403-341-6000.

For more event information please visit http://sherwin-williamstopprospects.ca.

40 Players Selected for 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with National Hockey League Central Scouting announce today the 40 players that will compete in the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

The 24th annual showcase of the CHL’s top prospects eligible for the NHL Draft will be played on Wednesday January 23, 2019, at the ENMAX Centrium, home of the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels.  The 40 competing players were chosen by NHL clubs and include talent from across the WHL, the Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“The Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game provides scouts and general managers the unique opportunity to evaluate talent competing in a best-on-best showcase,” said Dan Marr, NHL Central Scouting Director. “All 31 NHL clubs contributed to the roster selection and have a great interest in this priority scouting event to see which players can elevate their game under the spotlight.”

Headlining the talent in Alberta will be 11 CHL players identified by NHL Central Scouting as potential first round candidates in their November ‘Players to Watch’ list.  Six of those players hail from WHL clubs including forwards Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades, Nolan Foote of the Kelowna Rockets, and Peyton Krebs of the Kootenay ICE, along with defencemen Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants, and Matthew Robertson of the Edmonton Oil Kings.  Additional ‘A’ rated players competing in the event include OHL forwards Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs and Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts, defenceman Vladislav Kolyachonok of the Flint Firebirds, plus QMJHL forwards Raphael Lavoie of the Halifax Mooseheads and Samuel Poulin of the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

33 of the CHL’s 60 member clubs will be represented in the game with a total of 16 WHL players from 12 different teams, 15 OHL players from 12 teams, and nine QMJHL players each from a different organization.  Kelowna leads the way with three players selected followed by the London Knights, Medicine Hat Tigers, Ottawa 67’s, Peterborough Petes, and Seattle Thunderbirds each with two.  The host Rebels will be represented in the game by forward Oleg Zaytsev.

2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Roster:

Goaltenders:
Colten Ellis (Rimouski Océanic)
Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars)
Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)
Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat Tigers)

Defencemen:
Samuel Bolduc (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada)
Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants)
Billy Constantinou (Kingston Frontenacs)
Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads)
Artemi Kniazev (Chicoutimi Saguenéens)
Vladislav Kolyachonok (Flint Firebirds)
Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets)
Jake Lee (Seattle Thunderbirds)
Nikita Okhotyuk (Ottawa 67’s)
Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Lassi Thomson (Kelowna Rockets)
Michael Vukojevic (Kitchener Rangers)

Forwards:
Nikita Alexandrov (Charlottetown Islanders)
Maxim Cajkovic (Saint John Sea Dogs)
Joe Carroll (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s)
Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades)
Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets)
Matvey Guskov (London Knights)
Dillon Hamaliuk (Seattle Thunderbirds)
Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE)
Raphaël Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads)
Brett Leason (Prince Albert Raiders)
Nathan Légaré (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)
Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Sasha Mutala (Tri-City Americans)
Jakob Pelletier (Moncton Wildcats)
Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix)
Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting)
Nick Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts)
Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs)
Josh Williams (Medicine Hat Tigers)
Oleg Zaytsev (Red Deer Rebels)

The 40 players will be divided into Team Cherry and Team Orr by NHL Central Scouting prior to the event.  Coaching staffs for both teams will also be announced at a later date.

10 CHL players from last year’s game in Guelph were chosen in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft led by Barrie’s Andrei Svechnikov picked second overall by the Carolina Hurricanes.  In 23 years, a total of 317 CHL players from this event have been chosen by NHL clubs in the first round of the NHL Draft representing over 45% of all players selected.  Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 14 players selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft including Nico Hischier, Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Marc-Andre Fleury, Rick Nash, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton, and Chris Phillips.


The 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is proudly supported by title partner Sherwin-Williams, and CHL associate sponsors CIBC, Kia Canada, Cooper Tires, and Kubota Canada.  The game will be broadcast live across Canada on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, and in the United States on NHL Network.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased via reddeerrebels.com or ticketsalberta.com.  For further ticket details please contact the Rebels office at 403-341-6000.

For more event information please visit http://sherwin-williamstopprospects.ca.