After this weekend’s action, and one Monday game, almost every team in the FPHL (glares at Port Huron and Delaware) has hit the halfway point of their respective seasons. We figure that’s a good time to stop and take stock of where the league is at, and hand out some pretend awards that are probably more important and meaningful than the actual year-end awards, that the FPHL doesn’t wait until the end of the year to hand out, than they get from the league.
We did the SPHL yesterday, so if you missed that, please go check it out here.
Tyler Gjurich, Elmira Enforcers
Man this was a brutal category to pick a winner in, in a good way. So many players have done a ton for their respective teams this season that you really could pick 3-4 other guys and have a legit case. We went with Gjurich for him leading the league in points and power play goals, and being in the Top-5 for overall goals and assists. The other part that we considered is the V in MVP: Valuable. Yes, Gjurich was just traded to Elmira, but had he not played for Watertown this season, how bad would they be in the standings? Safe to say it’s probably at best fourth place…in the East.
Honorable Mention: Ahmed Mahfouz, Elmira; Ryan Marker, Delaware; Parker Moskal, Columbus; Petr Pancek, Carolina; Ryan Alves, Battle Creek
Rookie of the Year
Ryan Marker, Delaware Thunder
Marker was on a torrid scoring pace last season after 14 games…then stopped playing in the Fed after an SPHL call-up. Well, he’s back this year and retains his Rookie status because of how few games he played last season. So when you’re leading the league in goals and are tied for second in overall scoring, you’re our pick for Rookie of the Year in a field that is surprisingly tough to pick from based on what the FPHL calls a rookie, any player with less than 56 games at the start of the season.
Honorable Mention: Parker Moskal, Columbus; Declan Conway, Mentor; Ethan Busch-Anderson, Battle Creek
Defenseman of the Year
Daniel Klinecky, Carolina Thunderbirds
Before we get into this, please note we went with players who are ONLY listed as a defenseman on the FPHL site, some are listed as F/D, so this was only for full-time defensemen. Our site, our rules.
This was a two-horse race, in our minds, between he and Watertown’s Kyle Powell, but we give the nod to Klinecky, who leads all full-time Carolina defensemen in points with 25, good for second in the league, is in the Top-10 in the league at +24, and has anchored what is the league’s best defense this season. Really tough category to decide, but his better defensive play gives him the nod over Powell’s superior offensive season.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Powell, Watertown; Aaron Atwell, Danbury; Glen Patterson, Elmira; Ethan Busch-Anderson, Battle Creek
Goalie of the Year
Austyn Roudebush, Mentor Ice Breakers
This was without question the hardest category to pick. You could make a case for as many as five guys here and it be a legitimate argument. We with with Roudebush, who was recently called up to Roanoke in the SPHL but prior to this past weekend led the league in appearances, minutes played, and Sv% (see note below), and was second in wins and saves. An amazing overall body of work on a team that plays almost no defense, forcing him to be at his best every night. This is a bit like our selection of Gjurich for MVP, because how bad would Mentor be (Roudebush was still just 11-11-2 even with his amazing stats) if he was gone earlier, or how much trouble will they be in if he doesn’t come back from the SPHL?
NOTE: Henry Dill was not considered, yes, he was 9-1-1 and leads the league in GAA, Sv%, and shutouts, but he hasn’t played in over a month and is now the starter in Roanoke, so we don’t think he’s coming back any time soon. Sorry, but can’t give a guy the award on just 11 games of work. Yes, Roudebuch is in the SPHL as well, but he only just got called up less than a week ago, and we think he will be back.
Honorable Mention: Jessie Gordichuk, Danville; Thomas McGuckin, Danbury; Chris Paulin, Port Huron; Joel Eisenhower, Battle Creek
Coach of the Year
Andre Niec, Carolina Thunderbirds
Really, a no-brainer at this point. Yes, there are coaches who have their team playing great this season, but Niec has taken a record-setting team from last season…and has them possibly playing even better than that. They’re 23-3-1-1 (W-L-OTW-OTL), 14 points clear of the next closest team in the league. Really an amazing job to keep the team as strong as they are, especially after an off-season where the team lost a lot of great players to other leagues, or players to new teams in the FPHL Expansion Draft.
Honorable Mention: Joe Pace, Port Huron; Billy McCreary, Danbury; Ray Tremblay, Danville; Adam Stio, Battle Creek