Monday, September 5, 2011

2011-12 Season Preview - Award Predictions

I bring you part three, award predictions time! It's definitely likely that not a single one of these predictions come true!

Red Tilson Trophy (MVP) - Ryan Strome
The OHL has so many quality forwards in the league this year, the race for the Red Tilson has to be wide open. I think Strome has to be the front runner right now, as long as he doesn't make the New York Islanders (which I don't think he's ready for). The IceDogs are set to be one of the league's elite teams this year and Strome is their most important offensive player. He nearly won the scoring title last year and should be equally as beastly this year, even if he does miss time at the World Juniors. There are a number of other forwards who could garner serious consideration like Nail Yakupov, Christian Thomas, Tyler Toffoli, among a few others. The only non forward I could see getting mention is Ryan Murphy, as long as he doesn't make the Hurricanes. He'll be the key to Kitchener's success this season and will have a Ryan Ellis like impact on that team.

OHL Goaltender of the Year - Mark Visentin
I'd be really surprised if Visentin doesn't repeat as goaltender of the year. Again, the Dogs are going to have a very good team and Visentin is the best goalie in the league. Plymouth should be the class of the West and Scott Wedgewood is poised for a big year. He could get consideration, especially if Plymouth's solid defense can really get that GAA down. A wild card has to be John Gibson of Kitchener. He comes into the league with the same hype Jack Campbell did, but I think he'll have less of a learning curve. Michael Houser of London could also get some votes if the Knights can win their division.

Max Kaminsky Trophy (Defenseman of the Year) - Ryan Murphy
If Murphy returns to the OHL (which I think he will, and should), this award is his to lose. He's arguably, the most important player to his team's success (maybe even at any position) and should have a monster offensive season. Dougie Hamilton (if he returns) will get some votes too. Nick Ebert in Windsor should have a monster year in his draft season and could be the odds on favourite if Murphy and Hamilton end up in the NHL. A couple of overagers could work their way into discussion too. Josh McFadden is going to put up a ton of points in Sudbury, it's whether people view his defensive knocks as a strike towards this award. And I think this is the year that Beau Schmitz really explodes offensively in Plymouth.

Emms Family Award (Rookie of the Year) - Max Domi
Pretty wide open field this year I think. I've heard tremendous things about Domi coming out of London thus far and with the offensive firepower they're surrounding him with, I think he could have a big year. I really wanted to pick Daniel Altshuller here. Oshawa is going to ride him and they should be a very good, division leading team. The only problem is that the odds are stacked against him. Only one goalie has ever won the award, Bruce Dowie in 1980. Another "true" rookie I'm hearing great things about so far is Brandon Robinson in Brampton. He's going to get a ton of playing time and could help ignite the Battalion's offense. And let's not forget the Euro's, who've won the award 2 of the past 3 years. I think Kitchener's Radek Faksa and London's Olli Maatta are the two best options on that front.

Leo Lalande Trophy (Overager of the Year) - Taylor Carnevale
As always, the competition for the Overager of the year will be intense. There are always a ton of great 20 year old's in this league, making huge contributions. I think Carnevale in Sarnia is in the best situation to put up some big numbers. He'll have some serious firepower on his wings and plays in all situations. Previously mentioned Josh McFadden and Beau Schmitz are serious contenders on defense. If Ryan Martindale returns to Ottawa, he could easily win this award while playing with Toffoli and Prince again. Andy Andreoff in Oshawa should have a big year and is an all situations type of player. A true wildcard could be Euro Andrei Kuchin who finished off last year in terrific form.

Matt Leyden Trophy (Coach of the Year) - Mike Vellucci
As I've stated, I think the Whalers are the cream of the West heading into the season. I see the Dogs as the cream of the East. But I like Vellucci to beat out Marty Williamson for coach of the year, based on the fact that Plymouth finished a little lower in the standings last year, and that people seem to like Vellucci a bit more. If the Sudbury Wolves can be as good as I think they will, Trent Cull will deserve a lot of votes too. As will Jacques Beaulieu in Sarnia if they end up being as good as everyone anticipates.

Eddie Powers Trophy (Scoring Leader) - Ryan Strome
A lot of people put a lot of emphasis on the WJC's when selecting the potential scoring champion. Usually that's the case. And it very well could be if one of the league's premier offensive juggernauts fails to make their WJC team (certainly possible). But in the event that the likes of Strome, Christian Thomas, Tyler Toffoli, Nail Yakupov, etc are all playing elsewhere in December and January, I like one of the heavy favourites to still capture the scoring title. I'm going with Strome.

Goal Scoring Leader - Christian Thomas
I'd be really surprised if one of Thomas, Toffoli, and Yakupov aren't the league's top goal scorer. They finished in the top three last year and are back and surrounded by just as much team talent. I'm picking Thomas because I see Oshawa having the best season (of those three teams) and because he's such a consistent workhorse. Greg McKegg in Erie could have a big year too, as could a couple of the league's premier snipers, who are now overagers; Brett Thompson, and Josh Shalla. Tom Kuhnhackl in Windsor could be a bit of a wildcard here too.

All Star Teams

1st All Star Team
C - Ryan Strome
LW - Tom Kuhnhackl
RW - Christian Thomas
Defense - Ryan Murphy
Defense - Dougie Hamilton
Goaltender - Mark Visentin
Coach - Mike Vellucci

2nd All Star Team
C - Greg McKegg
LW - J.T. Miller
RW - Tyler Toffoli
Defense - Nick Ebert
Defense - Beau Schmitz
Goaltender - Scott Wedgewood
Coach- Marty Williamson

3rd All Star Team
C - Alex Galchenyuk
LW - Freddie Hamilton
RW - Nail Yakupov
Defense - Josh McFadden
Defense - Ryan Sproul
Goaltender - John Gibson
Coach - Trent Cull

That's it folks. Bring on the 2011-2012 season. Anyone case to post their award predictions?

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