OHL Leading scorer Marco Rossi

Top 5 OHL Most Outstanding Player Candidates

OHL Most Outstanding Player

Red Tilson Award

2019 Red Tilson winner Luukkonen of Sudbury Wolves
2019 Winner of Red Tilson Award Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen as OHL MVP

Each year, the Red Tilson Trophy is awarded to the individual considered to be the OHL MVP as who is most valuable to their team.

Last season, the trophy went to Sudbury Wolves netminder, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. For the season prior, it went to Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting. Additionally, the three OHL MVP’s before Kyrou and Luukkonen were also named CHL Player of the Year.

Although this season may end up with an asterisk placed next to it, there are a handful of players worthy of MVP consideration. Four players reached the 100-point milestone while two others scored over 50 goals. A serious case can be made for each player on this list of five. Even players that didn’t make the cut will get some consideration. Without any further ado, here’s our list of the top five candidates for the OHL MVP.

Marco Rossi – Ottawa 67’s

Whenever you lead an entire league in points, you’re going to be given strong consideration for MVP. Rightfully so, Marco Rossi, with his 120-point season, is one of the more obvious choices for the award. In just 56 games, Rossi registered 39 goals and 81 assists for the top team in the league. Additionally, he was a staggering plus-69. Regardless of one’s overall thoughts on plus/minus, it difficult to ignore the impressiveness of a number that large. It’s not every day a player averages over two points a game for his team. Not only was Rossi able to do so, but there’s also a strong likelihood that total would have gotten larger if the OHL regular season was able to continue.

The one knock on Rossi, regarding MVP, is his supporting cast. When you look at a player deemed most valuable, you need to consider what his team would be like without him. In Ottawa’s case, they’d still be a pretty good team. However, the 67’s did go 2-3 without their leading scorer for a five-game stretch from Sept 22 to Oct 6 while serving a suspension, so his presence is felt. If you remove Rossi from the mix, the 67’s still had four players register over 80 points. They also had four players, besides Rossi, score over 30 goals. Whether it should or not, the fact that Ottawa had a stacked team might work against Rossi when it comes time to vote. 2 and 3 without

Cole Perfetti – Saginaw Spirit

Though it’s not quite at the level of Rossi, it’s hard to some up Cole Perfetti’s season in Saginaw in any other way than spectacular. The Whitby, ON native, trailed Rossi in the OHL points race by just nine with 111. However, Perfetti did play five more games than Rossi which can work against him. Still, his 37 goals and 74 assists are nothing to scoff at. Not surprisingly, he led the Spirit in scoring by a steep margin and was also the team’s assist leader. When it came to goals, Perfetti fell seven short of Damien Giroux’s 44, giving him the second-most on the team.

Unlike Rossi in Ottawa, it’s hard to imagine Saginaw being as good without Perfetti in the lineup. Yes, you’d still have Giroux’s 44 goals. However, Cole Coskey was the only other member of the Spirit to break the 80-point mark. Most likely, you are looking at a middle-tier team in the league without Perfetti’s production. Of course, this helps boost his argument for OHL MVP consideration.

Connor McMichael – London Knights

Over the four players to surpass 100 points this season, Connor McMichael did it in the fewest amount of games. In just 52 contests, McMichael managed to obtain 47 goals and 55 assists for the London Knights. His 102 points were the most on his team with 26 separating him from second-place Ryan Merkley. McMichael was by far the best goal-scorer in London and one of the best in the whole league. He ranked third in the OHL in goals-scored, falling seven short of the league lead. He did finish second in OHL shooting with a .903 goals-per-game average behind leader Nick Robertson of Peterborough Petes (1.16).

The Knights were the second-best team in the OHL this season. That would have not been the case without McMichael leading the way. Even when the team struggled as a whole, he was producing and keeping them afloat. When you’re looking at a player and the value he has to his respective team, it’s hard to find anybody more valuable than what McMichael was to London this season.

Philip Tomasino – Oshawa Generals/Niagara IceDogs

Phil Tomasino is the only player to make this list that played for two separate teams this season. He started off the 2019-20 campaign playing for Niagara IceDogs but was then dealt to Oshawa close to the deadline. In 36 games with the IceDogs, Tomasino recorded 22 goals and 35 assists. Meanwhile, with the Generals, he posted 18 goals and 25 assists, giving him 100 points on the year. His 40 overall-goals teamed up with Brett Neumann’s 45 to be the only two teammates in the league breaking the 40-goal plateau.

The fact that Tomasino did not play the full year with the same team makes it challenging to accurately assess his value to that organization. Of course, he was one of the more valuable players in the OHL this season. However, when comparing to the other members of this list, it’s hard to give him the upper hand over the likes of Rossi, Perfetti, and McMichael.

Nicholas Robertson – Peterborough Petes

When generating a list of OHL MVP candidates, it’s hard to not include the league leader in goals. Nicholas Robertson led all OHL players in goals with an astounding 55 in 46 games for a 1.16 goals-per-game average. Additionally, he added 31 assists giving him 86 points on the year. There’s no denying that Robertson was the most valuable player on the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. Without his production, most of all goal-scoring, the Petes would not have finished the year with 78 points. Still, it’s difficult to give him the lion’s share of consideration for OHL MVP when the other contenders were able to surpass 100 points on the season. Yes, the argument can be made that he played in fewer games. However, it challenging to place him above the other four players simply based on that.

My Choice

When attempting to produce one name for the winner of the Red Tilson Trophy, most minds will initially steer towards Ottawa’s Marco Rossi. Of course, when anyone puts up 120 points in a season, that makes sense. However, one cannot ignore the fact that this award must go to the “most valuable” player. Not necessarily the player that had the best individual season. As was mentioned earlier, the 67’s had plenty of talent this season and arguably could have been in a similar position even if Rossi didn’t produce the number of points that he did. For that reason, my vote goes elsewhere.

After some real careful thought and consideration, London’s Connor McMichael gets my vote OHL MVP of the 2019-20 season and Red Tilson award winner. When you look at the other players on the Knights, nobody else comes close to his production. Yes, netminder Brett Brochu played a key role in London’s success but the Knights don’t obtain the second-most points in the league without McMichael giving it his all each and every game. So, when you’re looking at these five players and the value they have for their respective teams, it’s hard to find a player more valuable than what McMichael was for London this season.