Best OHL Player on Each Team

Throughout the Ontario Hockey League season, players can have hot streaks one week and then go cold the next. Teams can have players emerge from the darkness and take the league by storm and others that were expected to produce fall off. Every season allows for a potential new player to emerge as a star, unbeknownst to all.

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In 2019-20, many teams saw players emerge as regular producers and others were carried by their everyday stars. Night in and night out, these players brought the firepower. They emerged as fan favourites and dominated when they were on the ice. Crucial to their teams, here are the most valuable players for every team this past season.

Barrie Colts

Tyson Foerster

Tyson Foerster absolutely tore his previous point totals out of the water. Having one full season of OHL experience before this season, Foerster’s previous career-high in points was 23.

Enter this season and Foerster has solidified his name on every scout’s draft board. Playing for the Barrie Colts, he scored 36 goals and added 44 assists for 80 points in 62 games played.

Tyson Foerster (Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Foerster, the MVP of the CHL Top Prospects, has a ton of skill. He has great hands and can finish with ease. He is not afraid to use his size to win puck battles and drive to the front of the net. He has good speed and catches defenders sleeping if they aren’t careful.

Currently projected as a second-round pick, Foerster has all the makings to be a solid NHL player. Whichever team picks him at the upcoming NHL draft will surely be adding a great player to their pipeline.

Erie Otters

Chad Yetman

Chad Yetman was another player who came into his own this past season. Throughout the season, there were times when Yetman was leading the league in goals. Although he did not end up finishing in the lead when the season was over, his numbers were still really good.

Chad Yetman (Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Playing with the Erie Otters this past season, Yetman scored 43 goals and added 31 assists for 74 points in 61 games played. Yetman has a great shot and uses his speed to his advantage. He loves to drive wide and drive the net to create chances. Although he only stands 5’11”, he is hard to knock off the puck. He has good awareness and can set up teammates in the slot.

With Yetman eligible to return to the Otters next season, he will want to show that he can be a solid player at the next level. If he can play like he did this season and finish off his OHL career with a bang, I don’t see why a team wouldn’t take a chance on him.

Flint Firebirds

Evgeni Oksentyuk

For Flint Firebirds fans, I don’t think this season could have gone any better than it did. Coming off their winningest season in franchise history, the Firebirds clinched their second playoff berth since 2015.

Leading the pack was Belarusian winger Evgeni Oksentyuk. Oksentyuk had a great season, scoring 33 goals and adding 45 assists for 78 points in 58 games played.

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Although Oksentyuk only stands 5’8″, he plays a lot bigger than what people might expect. He is not afraid to go into the corners to battle for the puck and can be found battling hard in front of the net looking for loose pucks.

Eligible for the 2020 NHL draft, Oksentyuk could be worth drafting for a team that needs some grit and skill. Although there is still a knock on drafting smaller players, as seen with Cole Caufield, the team who drafts Oksentyuk will be getting a player with some really good potential.

Guelph Storm

Nico Daws

Although Pavel Gogolev had an amazing season, Nico Daws was truly the Guelph Storm’s best player. In 38 games played, Daws posted a 23-8-6 record to go along with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

Another prospect eligible for the 2020 NHL draft, Daws is one of the highest-ranked goalies in the draft class. With the combination of his size and awareness for the game, Daws has the chance to become something special. He has great rebound control and has great lower body strength. He moves well in the crease and plays his angles well.

Nico Daws (Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Whichever team gets the chance to call his name come the draft, they will be getting a top-flight NHL prospect. As goalies always need more time to develop compared to players, Daws will need to season more in the OHL before making the jump to the pros. Although when he is finally ready for the NHL, opponents better watch out as he could turn out to be something truly special.

Hamilton Bulldogs

Arthur Kaliyev

Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round, 33rd overall in the 2019 NHL draft, Kaliyev was dynamite all season long. In 57 games played, he scored 44 goals and added 54 assists for 98 points.

While some people have been saying that Kaliyev is one dimensional, he proved them all wrong this past season. Not only can Kaliyev put the puck in the net with his NHL-ready shot but he can also set his linemates up with ease. He uses his size to steal the puck off of defenders and is good on the forecheck.

Arthur Kaliyev (Aaron BellOHL Images)

While Kaliyev still needs to round out his game, the Kings are extremely happy with the way he is developing. Having broken the Bulldogs all-time points record, Kaliyev proved that he is a force to be reckoned with when he is on the ice. With a return to the Bulldogs most likely in the books for next season, it will be exciting to see Kaliyev continue to add to his all-time points record.

Kingston Frontenacs

Shane Wright

Although this was Shane Wright’s rookie season, he played as if he had been in the OHL for years. Fans and players alike saw why the 16-year old was granted exceptional status into the league.

A top prospect for the 2022 NHL draft, Wright spent the year playing for the Kingston Frontenacs. In 58 games played, he scored 39 goals and added 27 assists for 66 points. With Wright having an extra year in the OHL compared to the rest of the players born in 2004, he will only become more dominant as time goes on.

Wright is truly a one of a kind player. Not only does he have immense skill but he has the leadership qualities that are rare in someone so young. As a first-year player, Wright was named an assistant captain this year. He has the respect from all of his teammates and personifies what it means to be a hockey player on and off the ice.

Shane Wright (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Come 2022, the team that gets to draft Wright will be getting a heck of a player. In my opinion, Wright will be one of the game’s premier players in a few years and we are all lucky enough to be able to watch him grow. While he may be gone in a few years, Kingston fans are happy to keep him around and watch him don the black and yellow for at least a little while longer.

Kitchener Rangers

Jacob Ingham

Jacob Ingham had a terrific season with the Kitchener Rangers. In 46 games played, he had a record of 33-8-5 to go along with a goals-against average of 2.96 and a save percentage of .917.

A sixth-round draft choice by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2018 NHL draft, Ingham possesses incredible athletic ability. He uses his size to his advantage and never seems to be out of position. He plays his angles well and has good rebound control.

Jacob Ingham representing Team Canada White at the 2016 World Under-17 Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. (Kenneth Armstrong /CHL Images)

When called upon, he can steal a game for his team and has done so numerous times throughout the season. With Ingham being eligible to return next season, no one should be surprised to see him leading the way for the Rangers in net come next season.

London Knights

Connor McMichael

Connor McMichael was one of the top players all year in the OHL. Drafted by the Washington Capitals in the first round, 25th overall in the 2019 NHL draft, he was near the top in points throughout the whole year.

Playing with the London Knights this past season, McMichael scored 47 goals and added 55 assists for 102 points in 52 games played. Not only did he have an impressive season in the OHL but he also played his heart out at the World Juniors for Team Canada. In seven games played, McMichael scored five goals and added two assists for seven points en route to gold.

Connor McMichael (Luke Durda/OHL Images)

McMichael possesses all the skill needed to become a star in the NHL. With his booming shot and physical play, he makes it hard for opponents to play against him every night. He plays well into the Capitals style of play and will be a big part of their lineup in the near future.

Mississauga Steelheads

Cole Schwindt

Although Schwindt was not near the top in terms of points, he still had a very respectable season. In 57 games played, he scored 28 goals and added 43 assists for 71 points. A third-round pick of the Florida Panthers in the 2019 NHL draft, Schwindt’s play was rewarded a few days ago as he inked a three-year entry-level contract.

Having only been in the OHL for three seasons, Schwindt will almost certainly return to the Steelheads next season. He played a big part for them this season and will be one of their go-to players come next season as well.

Although Schwindt is not a flashy player, he plays a very well rounded game. He has good hands in tight and can set up others with ease. He is a good skater and can always be relied upon to backcheck when needed. Standing at 6’2″, Schwindt uses his size to his advantage and is not afraid to go to the rough areas of the game.

With continued development, Schwindt will almost surely play a hand in the Panthers’ future. With a team always needing forward options, the Panthers will welcome Schwindt with open arms when the time comes for him to assume a full-time role in the NHL.

Niagara IceDogs

Ivan Lodnia

Playing in his overage season, Ivan Lodnia was one of the few bright spots on a struggling IceDogs team. In 41 games played, he scored 27 goals and added 35 assists for 62 points.

Throughout the entire year, through all the ups and downs, Lodnia remained a true professional on and off the ice. With the gruesome injury to goalie Tucker Tynan midway through the season, Lodnia remained a positive force in the dressing room and was a guiding force for all the younger players.

Ivan Lodnia Erie Otters
Ivan Lodnia before being traded to the IceDogs (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

Drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the third round, 85th overall in the 2017 NHL draft, Lodnia will transition to the pros next season. Although he needs to round out his game, Lodnia has all the tools to be able to succeed at the next level. With good strength and awareness, Lodnia is hard to knock off the puck and always makes the smart play. His play may not be recognized by everyone but his coaches certainly appreciate having him on their side.

North Bay Battalion

Luke Moncada

In the eyes of North Bay Battalion fans, this past season is one they will wish to forget. Dead last in the Eastern Conference, the Battalion struggled to win. They looked lost on the ice at times but not everything was a lost cause.

Through all the tough times, Luke Moncada was a bright spot for the Battalion. In 62 games played, he scored 34 goals and added 26 assists for 60 points. Before this season, his previous career-high in points was 24 in 67 games played.

With Moncada eligible to return next year to the Battalion, he will look to lead the next movement of young stars. Having the first overall pick in the past OHL draft, the Battalion selected defenceman Ty Nelson. The smooth-skating defenceman will look to lead the offence alongside Moncada.

Oshawa Generals

Brett Neumann

Brett Neumann was the Generals’ most consistent producer all season. Although many people may argue that Philip Tomasino deserves this spot, he was only acquired at the trade deadline. Tomasino put up fantastic numbers all season but this spot belongs to Neumann.

With the Oshawa Generals this season, Neumann scored 45 goals and added 38 assists for 83 points in 62 games played. Although only 5’9″, Neumann is a coach’s best friend. He can play in all situations and gives it his all every shift. He is a fantastic skater who uses his speed and finesse to win races. He has a solid shot that he uses to his advantage and is capable of scoring with ease.

With this past season being his overage season, Neumann cannot return to the OHL next year. Although he has not been signed to an entry-level contract, someone should take a chance on Neumann. Teams can certainly do a lot worse than a workhorse like Neumann.

Ottawa 67’s

Marco Rossi

Before the start of this season, the casual hockey fan might not have known who Marco Rossi was but that has all changed. A top-ranked prospect in the upcoming 2020 NHL draft, Rossi has all the tools to become a superstar.

MArco Rossi Ottawa 67s
Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s (Credit: CHL Images)

Rossi is absolutely dynamic in the offensive zone. He has incredible hands that allow him to create time and space for his teammates. He is capable of setting up his linemates with ease, making defenders look silly in the process. What some people may not know is that Rossi is also very defensive-minded. He makes smart quick plays in the defensive zone, allowing for a smooth zone exit more often than not.

Owen Sound Attack

Brady Lyle

Although one could argue that Sergei Popov had a better season, what Brady Lyle accomplished on the blueline is incredible. After having finished top five in the league for scoring by a defenceman, Lyle proved that he was a premier player on the backend.

Playing with the Owen Sound Attack this season, Lyle scored 22 goals and added 43 assists for 65 points in 62 games played. Lyle has immense skill and loves to set up his linemates. He is capable of quarterbacking a powerplay and is a proven leader. He served as an assistant captain this past season and is well respected by his peers.

Lyle has all the potential to succeed at the next level. Although he remains unsigned by an NHL team, someone should take a chance on him. You could do a lot worse than signing a point-per-game defenceman.

Peterborough Petes

Nick Robertson

Nick Robertson took the league by storm this past season. Before 2019-20, his highest point total in a season saw him accumulate 27 goals and 28 assists for 55 points in 54 games played.

This past season with the Petes, Robertson scored 55 goals and added 31 assists for 86 points in only 45 games played. Due to the fact that he missed a few weeks to a broken finger, some people believe he could have gotten close to 65 goals.

Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes (Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round, 53rd overall in the 2019 NHL draft, Robertson is every management’s dream to have. He is a pure goal scorer who is lethal around the net. No matter where he is in the offensive zone, he is still able to finish with ease.

Once again, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas looks like he found a gem in Robertson. Whether or not he makes the team out of training camp next year, we will have to wait and see. Leafs fans can find solace in imagining Robertson playing on a line with a skilled playmaker like Mitch Marner until the time comes.

Saginaw Spirit

Cole Perfetti

A top prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft, Perfetti dominated the competition all season long. In 61 games played, he scored 37 goals and added 74 assists for 111 points.

Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit (Saginaw Spirit / OHL)

Perfetti has all the tools to become a superstar at the next level. When he is on the ice, no one outworks or outplays him when it comes to wanting the puck. Pair that work ethic with his creative vision and you can see why he is ranked inside the top 10 for the draft.

Perfetti has all the tools to become a superstar at the next level. When he is on the ice, no one outworks or outplays him when it comes to wanting the puck. Pair that work ethic with his creative vision and you can see why he is ranked inside the top 10 for the draft.

For the team that gets the chance to call Perfetti’s name at the draft, they will be getting a special player. Although he may not be able to step into the NHL right away, if he is given time to develop at his own pace, we might see him challenging for scoring titles for years to come.

Sarnia Sting

Sean Josling

Sarnia Sting fans know they had a rough season. Finishing dead last in the Western Conference is tough but Sting fans can take solace in knowing Sean Josling had a great season.

Playing with the Sting this past season, Josling scored 32 goals and added 46 assists for 78 points in 60 games played. He has a knack for finding the net and teammates know he is always open. He plays a hard game and can be found in post-whistle scrums standing up for others.

With this being his overage season, Josling cannot return to the OHL. Without knowing where he will play next must be tough but someone will eventually take a chance on him as well.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Zackary Trott

Everyone in the Soo Greyhounds organization knows that they are going through a tough time. Finishing second last in the Western Conference and fifth last in the league signifies that tough times are ahead. Although Soo fans want to forget this past season, there were at least a few bright spots that they can find solace in.

Playing with the Greyhounds this past season, Zackary Trott scored 25 goals and added 41 assists for 66 points in 62 games played. Trott plays a solid two-way game that every coach loves. He is a good skater that plays hard on the forecheck and can be physical when needed. Trott was never drafted and has yet to sign with an NHL team. Who knows: someone might take a chance on him in the future.

Sudbury Wolves

Quinton Byfield

Like Rossi, Quinton Byfield is another top-ranked prospect at this upcoming NHL draft. Currently projected to go second overall, Byfield has all the making of a franchise centreman.

Standing at 6’4″, Byfield has the ability to become one of the game’s great power forwards. He loves to use his size to his advantage, going into the corners and dirty areas to win puck battles. He has great hands in tight and can use his size to put away loose pucks in front.

Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves (Chris Tanouye/CHL)

This past season with the Sudbury Wolves, Byfield scored 32 goals and added 50 assists for 82 points in 45 games played. Although he missed some time due to injury, Byfield was still a dominant presence night in and night out for Wolves.

Byfield has all the tools to become a game-changer at the next level. Scouts adore the size and skill that he brings and the team that gets the chance to draft him will be getting an amazing player. If all goes well and Byfield has a strong training camp this coming fall, we could be seeing him in an NHL sweater very soon.

Windsor Spitfires

Egor Afanasyev

In his first season in the OHL, Egor Afanasyev showed he belonged. A second-round pick by the Nashville Predators in the 2019 NHL draft, Afanasyev made a smooth transition from the USHL to the OHL.

Playing with the Windsor Spitfires this past season, Afanasyev scored 31 goals and added 36 assists for 67 points in 62 games played. Afanasyev has great size and is really hard to knock off the puck. He uses his size to control the play and sets up teammates with ease.

Egor Afanasyev (Dave Jewell/THW)

Having signed an entry-level contract with the Predators, Afanasyev has proven that he is on the right track with his development. If all goes well and he has a strong training camp in the fall, there is no reason why Afanasyev could not be an everyday player come next season for the Preds.

Invaluable Pieces

Although not all the teams in the OHL experienced success this season, there were a few bright spots on every team no matter how they played. The players that made the list had a positive influence on their organizations every time they stepped out on the ice. While some players on this list may regress and others flourish, there will always be those players lurking in the dark ready to be the next big thing for their squads.