Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Jacob Muzzin of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is the winner of the Max Kaminsky Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Defenceman for the 2009-10 season.
Muzzin, a 21-year-old from Woodstock, Ontario, led the Greyhounds in scoring and finished second overall in league scoring by a defenceman with 15 goals and 52 assists for 67 points in 64 games. He finished the season with 76 penalty minutes and tied for a team-best plus-minus rating of plus-6. His 31 power play assists were also tied for second overall in the league. Muzzin becomes the second member of the Greyhounds to win this award following Craig Hartsburg in 1976-77.
“This is a great honour to win this award and be recognized with so many other great players,” said Muzzin. “I worked hard this offseason and took on a leadership role this year and developed more confidence with the puck. Sault Ste. Marie has given me so much and is like a second home, this was a good way to end my stay here.”
Muzzin was also highly recognized in the 2009-10 Western Conference Coaches Poll where he finished first in voting in the Hardest Shot and Best Defensive Defenceman categories. He also finished tied for first in the Best Bodychecker category, and was considered the second best offensive defenceman. This season he finished second in voting behind Bryan Cameron of the Barrie Colts for the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Top Overage Player.
“Jacob did an outstanding job for us this season,” said Greyhounds’ Head Coach Denny Lambert. “He brought class, respect, and loyalty to this organization and was a role model for our younger players. He was a key member of our turnaround this year and is exactly what our organization represents in all areas on and off the ice.”
Muzzin was selected 11th overall by the Greyhounds in the 2005 OHL Priority Selection and played four seasons with the club competing in 230 career games. The Hounds’ captain represented his club twice in the OHL All-Star Classic and was an assistant captain for the Western Conference All-Stars this season. He scored a career-high four assists on November 28 as second star of a 7-1 win over the Sarnia Sting. Originally selected in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Muzzin signed with the Los Angeles Kings in January. He is currently competing with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs in pursuit of a Calder Cup Championship.
The Max Kaminsky Trophy is awarded each year to the Most Outstanding Defenceman as selected by OHL General Managers. Teams were not permitted to vote for their own nominee. Players received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.
Muzzin received 73 points in the voting process ahead of runner-up Nick Crawford of the Barrie Colts with 45 points. Cameron Gaunce of the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors finished third for the second straight year receiving 27 points.
Former winners of the award include Al MacInnis (Kitchener 1982-83), Chris Pronger (Peterborough 1992-93), Bryan Berard (Detroit 1994-95 and 1995-96), Marc Staal (Sudbury 2006-07), and Drew Doughty (Guelph 2007-08). Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires was last year’s recipient.
The award is named in recognition of Max Kaminsky, who enjoyed a 10-year professional playing career that included four years in the NHL with Ottawa, Boston, and Montreal. After he retired from playing, Kaminsky enjoyed a 15-year coaching career that was capped by winning the Memorial Cup with the St. Catherine's Teepees in 1960.
Muzzin will be formally presented with the award at the 2009-10 OHL Awards Ceremony taking place on Wednesday June 9, 2010, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He will also be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Defenceman of the Year.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)