With only two weeks left in the OHL regular season, let’s take a look at who the likely award winners would/could/should be this season.
Most Outstanding Player: Marco Rossi (Ottawa): For me this is a toss-up between Rossi and Cole Perfetti, two outstanding and similar players. Rossi leads the league in scoring and has five more points than Perfetti in six less games played. Honourable mention: Perfetti,
Most Valuable Player: Cole Perfetti (Saginaw): To me this is the where-would-they-be-without-him? And while Saginaw is good, they might not be in the top four without Perfetti. Honourable mention: Nico Daws (Guelph), Nick Robertson (Peterborough), Ty Dellandrea (Flint).
Top Defenceman: Brady Lyle (Owen Sound). I know Ottawa’s Noel Hoefenmayer is the sexy choice here, but Lyle has 40 of his 65 points at even strength and is a plus-30 on a middle-of-the-road Attack team. He’s the absolute backbone of that squad and logs huge minutes in every situation. Honourable mention: Hoefenmayer, Alec Regula (London).
Top Goaltender: Nico Daws (Guelph). The Storm wouldn’t be in the playoffs if it weren’t for the heroics of Daws this season. His stats might not be quite as good in the second half, but he is still the guy that has every top four team hoping they don’t meet the Storm in the first round of the playoffs. Honourable mention: Brett Brochu (London), Cedric Andree (Ottawa), Jacob Ingham (Kitchener).
Coach of the Year: Mike McKenzie, Kitchener. The Rangers were last in the Western Conference (7-10-2-2) when McKenzie took over from Jay McKee and since then have gone 31-5-3-0. That’s outstanding. Honourable mentions: Eric Wellwood has the Flint Firebirds as a legit top-four squad in the west while Trevor Letowski deserves plenty of praise for how the surprising young Windsor Spitfires have performed this season.
Rookie of the Year: Shane Wright (Kingston). Honourable mention: Brochu (London), who was playing junior C when the Knights called him up.
Most Improved Player: Jack Quinn (Ottawa). Went from 12 goals last season to 48 this season, 35 of those at even strength. Honourable mention: Daws (Guelph), Chad Yetman (Erie).
Most Underrated Player: Barrett Kirwin (Owen Sound): Almost a point a game and a plus-25. Plays well in all three situations. Honourable mention: Brett Neuman (Oshawa), Riley McCourt (Flint),
1st All-Star Team: Goal: Nico Daws; Defence: Alec Regula, Brady Lyle; Forwards: Cole Perfetti, Marco Rossi, Shane Wright.
2nd All-Star Team: Goal: Brett Brochu; Defence: Noel Hoefenmayer, Tyler Tucker; Forwards: Connor McMichael, Nick Robertson, Phil Tomasino.
3rd All-Star Team: Goal” Cedric Andree; Defence: Ryan Merkley, Riley McCourt; Forwards: Brett Neuman, Quinton Byfield, Pavel Gogolev.