Blues prospect, a 2016 second-round pick, named
Red Tilton Award winner, led Sarnia with 109 points
By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- The icing on the cake came for Jordan Kyrou in the form of the Red Tilson Trophy on Thursday as the Ontario Hockey League's Player of the Year.
Now is time for the Blues' second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft to see if he can hone his craft at the sport's highest level.
|(Sarnia Sting photo)|
Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou was named the Red Tilson Award winner as
the OHL's Player of the Year on Thursday.
Kyrou, who finished his fourth season with the Sarnia Sting with 109 points (39 goals, 70 assists) in 56 games, won the prestigious award with 235 votes and 40 percent of the first-place votes, ahead of Sault Ste. Marie's Morgan Frost (191 points) and Aaron Luchuk of Barrie (165 points).
Kyrou becomes the first Sting player to win the award and follows Alex DeBrincat (2017), Mitch Marner (2016) and Connor McDavid (2015) as players of the year.
"I just feel surreal, first off," Kyrou said in a conference call Thursday. "To be named most outstanding player is unbelievable and to have my name next to past recipients who have won this award is incredible. A lot of credit goes to my teammates and coaching staff and the Sting organization. They've done a lot with me over the past four years. I just really want to thank them a lot."
Kyrou, the Sting's captain this past season, became the second draft pick in Blues history (Doug Gilmour, 1983) and the first Sting player to capture the Red Tilson Trophy. His 109 points was third in the league and 70 assists tied for a league high as were his 1.95 points-per-game average while leading Sarnia to its best regular season in franchise history (46 wins, 97 points).
"Just seeing him grow the last three years on and off the ice, his mental part of the game and his growth has really been fun," said Sarnia coach Derian Hatcher, who spent 15 years in the NHL with Minnesota/Dallas, Philadelphia and Detroit. "I think sitting down last summer when Nick and I talked, we had a pretty good idea what we had in Jordan. The fact that he won this award is no surprise to us."
Sting general manager Nick Sinclair said he remembered Kyrou as a 16-year-old when he took part in the team's rookie camp four years ago scoring a goal that fans still talk about.
"Going back to his minor midget draft, he went through a couple key injuries that year and we weren't able to see a lot of him, but in the few times we did see him, he was a special player, someone that stood out with his playmaking abilities that kind of made you sit on the edge of your seat watching and all the electrifying stuff he had as a player," Sinclair said. "We were very fortunate that we were able to draft him four years ago. We thought he had all the makings to eventually be a superstar, not only in the Ontario Hockey League but one of the most elite players in the CHL overall. As excited as fans are when they watch him play, we have the benefit of being able to interact with him and see him on a day to day basis for the last four seasons. ...Watching him evolve over the last four seasons on and off the ice has been something pretty special.
"... Not often do players get drafted by their NHL teams higher than their minor midget drafts."
A 6-foot, 185-pound wing, Kyrou will now make the jump to the pro ranks after exhausting his time spent in the OHL. The 20-year-old will attend training camp in September with every intention of cracking the Blues roster for the 2018-19 season.
"I think this past season, I just developed my game a lot in more than one aspect. Just work on the little things in my game and I think that improved a lot. That's one thing that I can take to the next level and to really show that I want to earn a roster spot next season.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
The Blues selected Jordan Kyrou with the 35th
picki in the 2016 NHL Draft.
"Me and 'Hatch,' we've talked a lot over the past couple years and it's just things you need to work on to make the NHL, little things like winning the battles along the walls, being a lot harder on the puck and being better defensively. I think I've really improved in those little areas on the ice."
Kyrou generated 31 multi-point games and was recognized as OHL Player of the Month twice and the Player of the Week three times. The Toronto, Ontario, native also represented Canada at the 2018 U-20 World Junior Championship, collecting 10 points in seven tournament games and leading the team to a gold medal.
Kyrou finished his OHL career with 290 points in 250 games (99 goals, 191 assists) and a Sarnia franchise record in assists.
A list of previous Red Tilson winners: http://www.ohlalumnicentral.com/resources/red-tilson-trophy/.