Marner Named OHL’s Most Outstanding Player

When your team wins the first overall pick in the draft it’s easy to forget about the other top prospects in the Leafs organization.

Mitch Marner is one of those prospects, who put up an obscene 116 points in 57 games for the London Knights in the OHL this season.  As it turns out, he was rewarded for that obscenely good year today, with the OHL announcing that Marner was the recipient of the 2015-2016 Red Tilson Trophy, awarded to the league’s most outstanding player.

The OHL aptly summarized why Marner won the award here:

Marner and linemates Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk combined for
an incredible 344 points (111 goals) this season as the Knights led the
league with 319 goals for and finished second in the OHL with 51 wins
and 105 points.  The Knights’ co-captain registered a point in 52 of his
57 games played including 31 multi-point performances and highlighted
by a trio of five-point efforts.  His 21-game point-streak from October
17 to January 9 was tied for the longest in the OHL this season. 
Marner’s offensive abilities not only dazzled fans but made an
impression on Western Conference Coaches who voted him Best Playmaker
and Best Stickhandler in the annual regular season poll.

Pretty good year I’d say.

Marner is also in the midst of absolutely destroying the OHL playoffs, currently sitting on 37 points in 14 games played ahead of the OHL finals (which began Thursday), where Marner will get the chance to add to those totals in a series against Niagara.

Marner actually didn’t lead his team in points per game this year – his linemate Christian Dvorak narrowly beat him with a 2.05PPG ahead of Marner’s 2.04.  Marner didn’t lead the league in scoring, either – Barrie’s Kevin LaBanc had 127 points in 65 games played.  The award then serves as a testament to just how dominant Marner looked on the ice this season, creating scoring chance after scoring chance with his speed, puckhandling, and playmaking abilities.  It also serves as a testament to the leader that Marner has become – he’s the team’s co-captain along with the aforementioned Dvorak.

Marner joins Connor Brown on the list of Leaf prospects who’ve previously won the award.  Brown won the award in 2013-2014, totaling 128 points in 68 games for an Erie Otters team that included Connor McDavid.

All this said, it comes as no surprise that Marner will likely be a full-time Leaf next year.  I was weary of whether or not this was what was best for him earlier on in the year, but he’s just been too dominant in the OHL.  He’s ready.

As the winner of the Red Tilson Trophy, Marner will be the OHL’s representative for the Canadian Hockey League Player Of The Year Award, set to be handed out in June at the CHL Awards Ceremony.

    • magesticRAGE

      If he plays, probably in and out of the lineup between the 2nd and 3rd lines. He could compliment Matthews’s line, and could feed Nylander for goals.
      I say if, because there’s not much room left for wingers. Leivo has proven that he can score goals at the NHL level, and has the grit to compete. I think Marner gets the first 10, then 40 games to see if he can cut it at the NHL level.
      I’d say that he could ride shotgun on Bozak’s line, but not sure the center will be around. Guess we’ll see.

      • Harte of a Lion

        mR I think your close but I think MagicMitch will tear it up in pre-season then start the season with a regular shift, 2nd 3rd even 4th line, for a 9 game look. whether he is dominant in those showcase games or not, he goes back to Jr. where he can be sole captain, lead Canada internationally and try for another Memorial Cup.

        It wouldn’t surprise me that Matthews does a little Marlies time unless he has a great pre season and 9 game look as well. This kid will need some sheltering even if that is an unpopular train of thought. I am 80% certain that Mathews starts the season with the Leafs but remember this is The NEW Leafs and everyone thought Nylander would start the 2015 season.

        No matter how great this kid is… Management made it clear Matthews is not the saviour, just an important piece and if he qualifies to play in the AHL, once the NHL season ends, he could play for a championship on another stacked Marlies team. Imagine MagicMitch joining Matthews at the end of the year for a Calder Cup run, another Marlies Calder Cup run. I want to see these kids play as much as you all do.

        Next year Is about evaluating the crop of Marlies set to graduate and the older mentor type players under contract while deciding which to keep/trade to acquire assets like a stud goalie. That’s what is great about having a stocked prospect cupboard, you finally have players other teams want.

        How to win is something learned. That’s what the Marlies are trying to accomplish As they begin round 2 against Albany. Learn how to win together, go to war in the playoffs together and find a way to win when the pressure is the greatest. A game six to clinch, a game 7 or go home. The Marlies better learn to play a complete 60 minutes of hockey or they will not beat the Devils. This season on occasion, they have shown that they can against the best teams in the league, can they do it 12 more times?

        Yeah! Go Marlies!

        • magesticRAGE

          I can see that scenario. Nylander was too easy to push of the puck and had a weak deffensive coverage in pre-season. Since then, he put on over 20lbs, is more defensively aware, and is more dominant in peeling off the half boards. All these things will need to happen for Marner, and there’s no rush for this to happen. His 10 game tryout will open his eyes I think, but we’ll see how Marner’s off-season goes.

  • Mitch92

    I am not getting my hopes up that Marner will be with the Leafs next season. As skilled as he is and as great a playoffs as he is having I think Lou and Babs will send him back to Junior for another year much like past management did with Kadri. He needs time to grow into his man body before he is expected to compete against men who have had many years of growth and strength building for 82 games a season plus playoffs. If he does stick around for more than 9 games then I shall be pleasantly surprised.

  • Capt.Jay

    I worry about the whole Ryan Nuggent Hopkins thing. Kid had the skill to play but suffered some big injuries early as his body wasn’t strong enough yet. Both McDavid and Hall have had big injuries early too because they weren’t physically ready. I don’t want to rush any of our guys just because they have the skill. Hopkins may never reach his potential now, Could Hall have been better had it not been for all those injuries he suffered early? McDavid got very lucky with his.

    From a guy who suffered a severe shoulder separation I can speak from experience that it doesn’t heal back 100%.

    Doesn’t mean Marner isn’t skilled enough to play, just means he might not been ready in other areas.

  • Gary Empey

    Certainly a great year for Marner. We should not forget that almost every one of Hunter’s picks exceeded expectations. I think we still have two playing in the Q finals as well. It is starting to look like we will have about 159 players show up at Leafs training camp, all with a shot of making the team.

  • magesticRAGE

    Marner the creator and finisher should play on a line that includes Connor Brown, the energy guy with a great touch and strong around the net.

    Matthews and Nylander will be magic as well.

    2016-17 looks to be a breakout season.

  • Gary Empey

    It’s a shame that Marner isn’t eligible for the AHL, he is too good for the OHL and it makes it hard to say where he plays next year with the depth and contracts the Leafs have.

    Komarov, JVR, Soshnikov, and Hyman are locks on wing.

    Greening earned a spot in my opinion, he played well and was involved in the play when on the ice.

    Brown, Michalek, and Leivo are in the mix as well.

    Nylander might get the bump to wing with Kadri, Bozak and Matthews on the roster.

    Leipsic and (Andreas) Johnson will probably see some NHL action as well. This makes the Marner situation questionable since his options are NHL or OHL only. Maybe he gets the Nylander treatment and plays under 40 games while keeping his UFA eligibility 1 year later and 2nd contract value lower because he will only have 2 years of stats to use instead of 3.

  • Kanuunankuula

    To me, OHL for him is pointless. What are we asking for him, 4 ppg? Either he’s up to NHL or send him somewhere else to play against men (like Europe). Safety is important but so is improvement. If it’s not a challenge, it’s not going to make him better.

    • silentbob

      There is more to playing hockey and succeeding in the NHL then putting up points. Returning him a league were he doesn’t need to worry about adjusting his offensive game to be successful to work on other things can/would allow him to focus more on things that need to be improved.

  • silentbob

    I know there has been talk about who will ultimately play where.

    Assuming Matthews, Nylander and Marner all develop as advertised and hit their expected potential (or higher), I would think Marner is better suited to play center then Nylander (I’ve always read that Marner is a good two-way player as well as a talented offensive forward – more of a M.Richards in his prime, Gilmour with the Leafs, Datsyuk type player rather then a P.Kane).

    It would seem to make sense, going into next year, to move Nylander back to the wing and play him on the top line (with Kadri or Stamkos), play Matthews at center with a couple veteran wingers (maybe JVR and Laich), and return Marner to the OHL for more development time (and to space out bringing up the young guys a bit more), with an eye of adding Marner as your 2nd or 3rd line center in 2017-2018 or 2018-2019.