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Suzuki Headlines OHL Preseason Awards Favourites

By Iain Colpitts on September 14, 2017

Nick Suzuki could make the Owen Sound Attack a formidable team in the OHL once again this season. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Nick Suzuki could have a big season in store.

The Owen Sound Attack forward was a top-five scorer in the OHL last year leading up to the NHL Draft, where he was selected 13th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights.

He was also a big contributor to Owen Sound’s success en route to the OHL Western Conference final.

The good news for the Attack is they’re not expected to lose too many of the pieces that made them such a serious threat.

Goalie of the year Michael McNiven will be a big loss, as will Vancouver Canucks prospect Petrus Palmu, but one would think Suzuki would be back and better with another season under his belt.

He’s a big player to look out for this season and a potential MVP threat, but he’s far from the only player to watch. These players could all make a push for various league awards listed below.

Most Outstanding Player: Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack)
If last season was any indication, Suzuki should be able to take his game to another level. He has all the quickness and smarts to be the best player in the OHL and could also return to the league in 2018-19 before turning pro. Don’t be surprised if he’s on Canada’s World Junior team and eventually leads the Attack deep into the OHL playoffs once again.

Honourable mention: Adam Mascherin, Michael DiPietro

Leading point scorer: Adam Mascherin (Kitchener Rangers)
Entering his fourth and very likely final OHL season, Mascherin has shown he can flat out score. The Florida Panthers prospect was one of only three players in the league to reach the 100-point plateau last season. The Rangers could be in buyer’s mode when it comes to the trade market and that could help Mascherin put up points too.

Honourable mention: Nick Suzuki, Jordan Kyrou

Leading goal scorer: Owen Tippett (Mississauga Steelheads)
Tippett emerged as one of the OHL’s greatest scoring threats last season and went on to be the first OHLer taken in last year’s NHL Draft (10th overall by the Florida Panthers). Perhaps he could contribute offensively in the NHL right away, but odds are he gets sent back to Mississauga, where he’ll play more of a leadership on a team that should once again be a contender in the Eastern Conference.  

Honourable mention: Adam Mascherin, Jason Robertson

Goaltender of the year: Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)
Michael DiPietro’s time is now. After a rookie season in which he played nearly 30 games in goal, he became Windsor’s clear number one last year and may even face a higher workload coming off a Memorial Cup championship year. The Spitfires could be somewhat weaker this year, meaning they may be counting on the Vancouver Canucks prospect a bit more.

Honourable mention: Dylan Wells, Jeremy Helvig

Rookie of the year: Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts)
The best player available in the CHL Import Draft isn’t always taken first overall, but this year, the Colts didn’t hesitate on Svechnikov when they were first up. Expected to be picked first or second overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, he’s a highly anticipated prospect who will be dangerous from the get go with the Colts.

Honourable mention: Graeme Clarke, Blade Jenkins

Defenceman of the year: Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor Spitfires)
One of the best junior-aged players in the world not playing in the NHL, Sergachev could contend for a spot on the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they could also send him back to the OHL, where they know he’ll play meaningful minutes. If he’s back for a final year with Windsor, he’ll push the pace in their attack once again and could be a top point producer among all defencemen when it’s all said and done.

Honourable mention: Connor Timmins, Victor Mete

Overage player of the year: Ryan Moore (Flint Firebirds)
This is a tough one to predict as it may not always be clear which NHL-drafted players may be heading back to the OHL, but after putting up 90 points on a resurgent Firebirds team, Moore seems like a safe pick. He has an abundance of skill and should be able to work with Nicholas Caamano for another year of potent offence.

Honourable mention: Aaron Luchuk, Johnny Corneil

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