OHL Top Performers
The Ontario Hockey League announced the top performers for December on Sunday.
Ottawa 67’s centre and LA Kings prospect Tyler Toffoli was named the OHL player of the month, with 22 points in 10 games, including a stellar five-goal performance on December 29th against the Kingston Frotenacs. He leads the entire OHL in scoring with 71 points in 40 games, along with a plus-38 rating, and is currently riding a 21-game point streak.
Windsor Spitfires defenseman Nick Ebert was named the OHL’s top rookie with four goals and 10 assists in nine games, along with earning the player of the week honour in early-December. The 16-year old Ebert sits 10th in scoring among defenseman and 11th among all rookies with 27 points in 36 games. Ebert becomes the second Windsor Spitfire to earn the OHL’s rookie of the month award, following Eric Locke, who won it in October.
Kitchner Rangers blue-liner Ryan Murphy was named the OHL defenseman of the month with twelve points (four goals, eight assists) in only nine games. He has continued his impressive play, which has paced him to the point lead among defenseman with 51 points in 37 games. Murphy is a 2011 Draft Eligible prospect and is participating in next week’s CHL Top Prospects Game.
Tyler Toffoli isn’t the only Ottawa 67 taking home honours for his play last month. 67’s net minder Petr Mrazek was named the OHL goaltender of the month after posting a 5-0-1-1 record, with a 1.86 goals against average and 0.947 save percentage. Mrazek leads the OHL with 20 wins and has posted the best overall save percentage at 0.924.
Sarnia Sting defenseman Nathan Chiarlitti, Kitchener Rangers forward Andrew Crescenzi, Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Oshawa Generals forward Lucas Lessio have all been named the OHL Academic Players for the month of December.
Majors Add Kitsyn
The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors added to their potent offense by welcoming Team Russia Junior forward Maxim Kitsyn to the club after coming to an agreement to allow him to leave the KHL to come to North America. The former sixth round pick of the LA Kings spent the first half of the season playing for Novokuznetsk Mettalurg of the KHL, where he tallied seven points in 18 games, while playing minimal ice time. The 19-year old participated for Russia at the 2010 and 2011 World Under-20 Championships, where he notched 12 points in 12 games, including scoring in last week’s gold medal game against Canada.
Spitfires Active on the Trade Front
The Spitfires made an interesting move to acquire Kerby Rychel from Mississauga in exchange for a second round pick in 2013. Rychel is the son of Spitfires Vice President and General Manager Warren. Rychel had two goals and six assists, along with 47 penalty minutes, in 30 games with the Majors this year.
“We’re very excited to have acquired Kerby. He will be a great addition to the team and has a bright future in our league,” head coach Bob Jones said. “He’s a well-coached player and has an exceptional understanding of the game. Kerby knows how to play the game the right way and will bring his skills and knowledge to help our team.”
The Spitfires also pulled off three other trades leading up to the deadline, including sending backup goalie Troy Passingham to the Sarnia Sing in exchange for goaltender John Cullen and overage defenseman Brent Sullivan. Windsor then sent rookie Steven Trojanovic to the Peterborough Petes for defenseman Adrian Robertson and a second round pick in 2014.
Executing this trade allowed the Spitfires to recoup the second rounder that was given up for Rychel in the other deal.
The move that generated the most reaction was the transaction that sent highly skilled rookie Eric Locke and goalie Josh Malecki to Barrie for 19-year-old Taylor Carnevale. Locke has scored at close to a point-per-game average with 33 points in 39 games this season.
Most observers were expecting Locke to be an integral part of the Spitfires future, but he ended up being the deal breaking to acquire a top notch forward in Carnevale.
“We just felt like things really changed as the deadline progressed,” said Spitfires GM Warren Rychel. “This was a tough trade given that Locke was a real up-and-coming player. But getting a proven scorer like Carnevale was a must.”
Click here to view the complete list of trades that occurred prior to the OHL Trade Deadline on January 10th at 12:00am.
Team Ontario Wins Gold
Team Ontario defeated Team USA in the finals at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to bring home gold for the third time in four years.
Ottawa 67’s forward Sean Monahan led the tournament with seven points in six games, en route to earning Most Valuable Player. He scored two goals in the semi-finals over Team Quebec, including the game winner, to help Ontario advance to the gold medal game. He followed up with another two goals, along with an assist, to give Ontario a 5-3 win on Tuesday night.
Wendel Clark to Coach Top Prospects Team
Former Maple Leafs star forward Wendel Clark will serve as an assistant coach to former teammate Doug Gilmour at the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game on January 19th in Toronto. Clark said, “I’m happy to participate in this showcase event with the top young stars from our game.” The two former Leafs teammates will be coaching against a team led by Don Cherry.