Prospect Michael McNiven earns OHL Goaltender of the Year

Michael McNiven, 19, was named Goaltender of the Year by the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) early on Wednesday evening.

The award, which is voted on by OHL coaches and general managers, has been awarded for the 30th consecutive year. Notable previous winners include:

  • 2013-14: Alex Nedeljkovic (Plymouth Whalers)
  • 2006-07: Steve Mason (London Knights)
  • 2001-02: Ray Emery (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
  • 2000-01: Craig Anderson (Guelph Storm)
  • 1999-2000: Andrew Raycroft (Kingston Frontenacs)
  • 1992-93: Manny Legace (Niagara Falls Thunder)

This has been Michael McNiven’s third complete season in the OHL, and his most successful one from an individual standpoint. McNiven is an undrafted free agent who was later signed by the Montreal Canadiens.

McNiven

Photo: Attackhockey.com

Michael McNiven
Age: 19
Position: Goaltender
Birthplace: Georgetown, ON, Canada
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 216
Team: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

 

 

Career

McNiven was selected 66th overall in the fourth round of the 2013 OHL Priority Selection. Having yet to earn a spot on an Ontario Hockey League bench, McNiven spent the 2013-14 season in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) with his hometown Georgetown Raiders.

McNiven came in to the next season determined and earned the back-up spot where he played a solid 24 games in the 68 game regular season.

He would earn the starting job in 2015-16 and have a heavy workload, playing in 53 games. Prior to the season beginning, the Attack goaltender signed an entry level contract with the Montreal Canadiens. As a first-year starter, McNiven posted a 21-18-7-3 record with a 2.94 GAA, .902 Save Percentage and three shutouts.

Goaltender of the Year

In this award winning season, McNiven was absolutely on fire with a 41-9-2-2 record, a 2.30 GAA, .915 Save Percentage and six shutouts. He led Owen Sound to the Western Conference Finals where they fell to the Erie Otters 4-2. It was a good playoff run as the Attack had knocked off the Kitchener Rangers in 5 games and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in six. McNiven played in all 17 playoff games where he posted a 2.78 GAA and two shutouts in ten victories.

Michael was one of the last cuts from Team Canada prior to the 2017 World Juniors where they finished with a silver medal. After being assigned back to Owen Sound, McNiven posted two consecutive shutouts. He also only allowed three goals in five games since being returned.

This is a huge honour. At the beginning of the year I made it my goal to be the best goalie I could be on a night in, night out basis, and to be named Goaltender of the Year in a league with so many fantastic goalies means a lot to me. That said, this should be viewed as a team award. I wouldn’t have been able to make the saves I did if it wasn’t for my teammates who blocked shots, cleared players from the front of the net, and made my job easier.” – Michael McNiven

As mentioned in the Ontario Hockey League’s news release, his 41 victories this season smashed the Attack’s previous goaltending record by 9 wins.

In the voting process, a goaltender could be awarded a maximum of 95 points. Michael McNiven led the way with 89. London Knights netminder and Flames prospect Tyler Parson earned 27. Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires, who is one of the top prospects in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, earned 26. For comparison, when Mackenzie Blackwood won the award last year – he won with a total of 49 points.

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