Young talents dominated this year’s OHL coaches poll

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2020 NHL draft prospects Marco Rossi and Cole Perfetti led the way, but a lot of NHL picks got love, too. Find out if your team’s future stars made the cut.

Marco Rossi|Terry Wilson/OHL Images

The annual OHL coaches poll is always fascinating for what it reveals and this year’s edition is no different. Teams nominate one player per category and the coaches from that conference vote on the winners – so you’ve got a lot of familiarity amongst the electorate. Perhaps most intriguing for NHL draft watchers is how well two 2020 prospects did in the survey: Marco Rossi in the Eastern Conference and Cole Perfetti in the Western Conference.

Let’s take a look at some of the prominent winners.

 

Eastern Conference

 

Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa 67’s: The incredibly talented Austrian import won three of 20 categories and was a finalist in three others. Rossi was named Smartest Player, Best Playmaker and Best Shootout Shooter. He also placed top-three in Best on Faceoffs, Best Defensive Forward and Best Penalty-Killer. Add on the fact Rossi won the OHL scoring crown this season with 120 points in 56 games and you can see why he’s slated to be a top-10 pick in 2020 – possibly even top-five.

 

Nick Robertson, LW, Peterborough Petes: Toronto Maple Leafs fans have been loving Robertson this year and the 2019 second-rounder earned some coach kudos as well, winning Best Shot and Most Dangerous in the Goal Area. He also ranked top-three in Hardest Worker, Hardest Shot, Best Stickhandler and Best Shootout Shooter. Robertson is too young for the AHL next year, but he’s already very accomplished in junior – so the Leafs will have an interesting decision on their hands next year.

 

Phil Tomasino, C, Oshawa Generals: The Nashville Predators first-rounder was awesome for the Gens after coming over via trade from Niagara. He had top-three finishes as Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler and Best Shootout Shooter. Tomasino is also an incredible skater, but Oshawa nominated Brett Neumann for that category and he finished second.

 

Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga Steelheads: The Dallas Stars first-rounder was the winner of the Best Skater category while ranking second as Best Offensive Defenseman. Harley is another player who still has junior eligibility next year, though I’m sure Dallas would be fine with him developing further if he can’t crack the Stars opening night roster.

 

Other Eastern notables: Nikita Okhotyuk (NJ) won Best Shotblocker, Keean Washkurak (STL) was named Hardest Worker, while a trio of 2020 draft prospects cleaned up Most Improved Player: Jack Quinn, Ty Foerster and Zayde Wisdom.

 

Western Conference

 

Cole Perfetti, LW, Saginaw Spirit: The dynamic draft prospect took home first place in four categories: Smartest Player, Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler and Best Shootout Shooter. Like Rossi, Perfetti is basically a lock to go top-10 in the 2020 draft.

 

Liam Foudy, C, London Knights: Columbus fans got a sneak peek at the Blue Jackets first-rounder this season when Foudy was an emergency call-up to the NHL, but he did most of his damage at the junior level. Foudy won Best Skater and Best Penalty-Killer, while finishing second in the Best Defensive Forward category.

 

Nico Daws, G, Guelph Storm: One of the biggest revelations in the league this season, Daws won Most Improved Player and Best Puckhandling Goaltender. He also came second in the Best Shootout Goaltender category. Given how low expectations were for the Storm heading into the campaign, this was all well deserved for the 2020 draft prospect who was passed over last year.

 

Connor McMichael, C, London Knights: The Washington Capitals first-rounder took a torch to OHL nets this season and garnered some coach love in the process. McMichael won Best Shot and Most Dangerous in the Goal Area, while also finishing third in the Smartest Player category.

 

Other Western notables: Damien Giroux (MIN) won Best Defensive Forward and Hardest Worker. Jacob Ingham (LA) took home Best Shootout Goaltender, while finishing second in the Best Puckhandling Goaltender category. Ty Dellandrea (DAL) won Best on Faceoffs, Ryan Merkley (SJ) was named Best Offensive Defenseman and Tyler Tucker (STL) won Best Bodychecker.

Ryan Kennedy

About the Author

Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.