The KHL announced their award winners today and there were plenty of surprises, not the least of which was their Rookie of the Year recipient. One would think that Eeli Tolvanen, the 19-year old phenom who broke nearly every junior-aged scoring record in the league would have walked away with the award, but instead Vitaly Kravtsov was the winner after scoring four goals and three assists for Traktor Chelyabinsk.
Just playing in the KHL was impressive for Kravtsov, who was just 17 for much of the season, but it does seem unlikely that Tolvanen’s 19 goals and 36 points for Jokerit wasn’t good enough to win. Tolvanen of course bolted for the NHL after his season ended, and played three games for the Nashville Predators down the stretch. Other winners today included Nikita Gusev as league MVP, Philip Larsen as the top defenseman, and Pavel Francouz as the top goaltender.
- Jordan Sambrook will not be offered a contract by the Detroit Red Wings, according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. Sambrook, selected in the fifth round in 2016, is one of many players who will see their draft rights expire on June 1st. Sambrook had a good season split between the Erie Otters and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, recording 39 points in the regular season and helping the Greyhounds make it all the way to the OHL Finals.
- Keaton Middleton is in a similar situation, as Dhiren Mahiban reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick will not be signed by the deadline. Middleton will instead go back into the draft again, hoping to find another team who wants to bring him into the organization. The 6’5″ defenseman recorded 24 points for the Saginaw Spirit this year, after being selected in the fourth round in 2016.
- Another Maple Leafs prospect, Nicolas Mattinen, has yet to decide whether he’ll sign or not according to Mahiban. The sixth-round pick from 2016 is still playing in the Memorial Cup with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he continues to show what a long reach and good defensive positioning can accomplish.