The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Edmonton Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard of the London Knights is the 2018-19 recipient of the Max Kaminsky Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Defenceman of the Year.
Bouchard recorded 53 points in just 45 games scoring 16 goals and 37 assists while carrying a plus-28 rating. His 1.18 points-per-game mark was the second highest in the OHL this season and he was the only defenceman in the league to average more than four shots on goal per game.
“I am very honoured to be named defenceman of the year,” said Bouchard. “With the quality of players throughout this talented league, this is an achievement that I am incredibly proud of. I would like to credit my teammates, coaching staff, family, and fans for this award. Each member within the London Knights organization was instrumental to my success both on and off the ice and I would like to thank each and every person who helped me along the way.”
A 19-year-old from Oakville, Ont., Bouchard played four full seasons with the Knights after joining the club as a first round pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection. He helped the team capture an OHL Championship and Memorial Cup title as a rookie and went on to play 223 career games for the green and gold. He amassed 54 goals and 147 assists for 201 points during his London tenure which ranks second all-time among points by a Knights defenceman behind Rick Corriveau who produced 251 in 206 games between 1987-92. Bouchard was named Knights captain in January, 2018, and later selected tenth overall by the Oilers in the 2018 NHL Draft. He began the season in Edmonton where he played seven NHL games returning in time to represent Team OHL at the CIBC Canada Russia Series and Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. Bouchard is currently with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors where he scored a goal and two assists in his playoff debut on Tuesday.
“We are incredibly proud of Evan for his accomplishment, not just this year, but throughout his entire London Knights career,” said London Knights General Manager, Mark Hunter. “Evan was a tremendous leader and representative of our organization. We watched Evan mature from his time coming in to this league as an enthusiastic 16-year-old rookie, to leaving as a seasoned professional. We’d like to thank Evan for his time in London and wish him the best in his hockey career.”
The Max Kaminsky Trophy is awarded each year to the Most Outstanding Defenceman as selected by OHL General Managers. All 20 clubs submitted a nominee but were not permitted to vote for their own player. The first round of voting was conducted by conference only with the top three selections from the West and East advancing to form the final ballot. Players received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.
Bouchard, who was a runner-up to Nicolas Hague of the Mississauga Steelheads one year ago, received 59 points in the final voting process this season. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mac Hollowell of the Soo Greyhounds finished second with 53 voting points, and New York Islanders prospect Bode Wilde of the Saginaw Spirit finished in third place with 46 voting points.
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. Catharines Teepees in 1960.
Bouchard becomes the first Knight to win the Max Kaminsky Trophy since Danny Syvret in 2004-05 marking the sixth time a member of the organization has received the honour. That list also includes John Erskine in 1999-2000, Bob Halkidis in 1984-85, co-recipients Brad Marsh and Rob Ramage in 1977-78, and Rick Green in 1975-76. Past winners of the award also include current NHL talents in Andrej Sekera (Owen Sound 2006), Marc Staal (Sudbury 2007), Drew Doughty (Guelph 2008), Ryan Ellis (Windsor 2009 and 2011), Jacob Muzzin (Sault Ste. Marie 2010), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2012), Aaron Ekblad (Barrie 2014), Anthony DeAngelo (Sault Ste. Marie 2015), and Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor 2016).
Bouchard will be formally presented with the Max Kaminsky Trophy at the OHL Awards Ceremony which takes place June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He will also be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Defenceman of the Year to be announced on May 25 at the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia which takes place in Halifax.