CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday the names of the five players who have been selected finalists for the CJHL’s Top Rookie Award in 2021-22.
Each of the finalists were determined through a voting procedure completed by each of the CJHL’s nine-member leagues, for their respective efforts during the course of the regular season.
The following are the five nominees for the CJHL’s Top Rookie, which are listed alphabetically, by league.
RIEGER LORENZ, (F) OKOTOKS OILERS (AJHL): NHL Top Prospect Rieger Lorenz of the Okotoks Oilers was the recipient of the Dick White Trophy as AJHL Rookie of the Year for 2021-22. … The 17-year-old rookie forward was the recipient of three team awards as the Top Forward, Top Scorer and Rookie of the Year. … Lorenz (Calgary, Alta.) led all rookie forwards in scoring with 85 points (38G, 47A), ranking fifth overall in the AJHL Scoring Race, and setting new team records for points by an Oiler rookie and goals by a rookie. … He was recognized as the Inter Pipeline AJHL Rookie of the Week four times in his rookie campaign and was awarded as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Player of the Month in December 2021. … Lorenz was the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game 13 times in the regular season. … He was a finalist for three League Awards, including AJHL MVP and Top Forward. … Lorenz was the highest-ranked NHL Draft prospect in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) after NHL Central Scouting released its Mid-term Rankings in January 2022, ranking him as 24th among North American skaters in the agency’s Round One category. … Rieger is committed to the University of Denver (NCAA).
With files from: Charla Flett, V.P., Communications (AJHL)
CARSON BUYDENS, (F) VIRDEN OIL CAPITALS (MJHL): Buydens was named the recipient of the Kim Davis Rookie of the Year Award for his outstanding play during the 2021-22 regular season. … The 17-year-old who committed to play NCAA Division I Hockey for Princeton earlier this season, led all rookies in points (53) and goals (27). … He finished 8th in assists (26) and tied a league high (11) for game winning goals. … “He was a great player for us all season he just continues to get better every day. He works extremely hard on and off the ice and he deserves any accolades he receives. He is very focused on not only getting to the next level, but being very good when he gets there. He has a bright future ahead of him and we are very happy that we are a part of helping him along the way.” – Oil Capitals Head Coach & General Manager, Tyson Ramsey. … Buydens was also named to the MJHL All-Rookie Team.
With files from: Kyle Prystupa, Programming & Communications (MJHL)
ROBBIE RUTLEDGE, (F) HEARST LUMBERJACKS (NOJHL): Impressing mightily for Hearst, Rutledge proved to be one of the premier players throughout the NOJHL during the course of the 2021-22 regular season. … Not only did the 18-year-old, from Severn, Ont., lead all league rookies in both tallies (39) and points (67), those numbers were also good enough to pace all NOJHL skaters. … His 20-man advantage markers also led the league. … Rutledge also finished fourth-best in point-per-game production (1.48) and shared fourth spot overall in game-winning tallies (5). … His play earned him the John Grignon Trophy, emblematic of NOJHL Rookie of the Year. … Rutledge collected the league scoring champion award and was also named a 1st Team NOJHL All-Star at forward.
With files from: Scott Marshall, Statistician/Webmaster (NOJHL)
GEORGE FEGARAS, (D) NORTH YORK RANGERS (OJHL): Fegaras of the North York Rangers drew the attention of NHL Central Scouting right off the hop to begin the 2021-22 Ontario Junior Hockey League season, his first at the junior level. … Multiple scouts from the league provided positive reports on the rookie defencemen even before reps from all 32 NHL teams got a look at him during the OJHL Governors’ Showcase in Cobourg last fall. … Fegaras was one of four OJHLers named to NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary watch list for the 2022 draft in October. He remained listed through mid-season rankings. … “George has been unbelievable for us,” said North York Head Coach Geoff Schomogyi. “He’s been great all year. He’s continued to grow and get better as a player. George is one of those kids who is constantly seeking feedback on how he can better his game and better himself.” He’s been a rock back there for us. I’m so impressed with how he has been able to skate pucks out of our zone and create offence from our back end.” … Fegaras committed to NCAA DI Cornell early in the OJHL season. … The 17-year-old from Richmond Hill played in 52 of North York’s 54 games, scoring 13 goals and assisting on 35 more. … His 38 points were third highest of all defencemen in the 21-team league – in a pack of 20- and 21-year-olds – and second most of all Ranger players. … Three of his goals were game-winners.
With files from: Jim Mason, Director of Communications (OJHL)
CONNOR MCGRATH, (F) HUMBOLDT BRONCOS (SJHL): A commit to Ferris State University (NCAA D-I) and listed as the 128th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting in their mid-term rankings ahead of the 2022 National Hockey League Draft, McGrath was dominant from start to finish in the regular season. … The SJHL’s leading scorer with 84 points in 56 games, the 2003-born sniper had the two-longest point-scoring streaks during the regular campaign, with a 14-game heater from late November to mid-January, and a 12-gamer from late October to mid-November. … From LeRoy, Sask., a town 20 minutes from Humboldt, McGrath was dealt from the Weyburn Red Wings to his near-hometown club in the last off-season. An alumnus of the Humboldt Broncos minor hockey system, he also spent time with the CSSHL’s Prairie Hockey Academy of Caronport, Sask., and the Moose Jaw Warriors U18AAA in the Saskatchewan U18 provincial league. … McGrath’s 22 power-play assists and 33 power-play points were both tops in the league, while his points, assists, and game-winning goals were the most among SJHL rookies.
With files from: Logan Fraser, Director of Marketing & Communications (SJHL)
Earning finalist honourable mention for the CJHL Top Rookie Award in 2021-22 were the following:
Keanu Krenn, (F) Cornwall Colts (CCHL); Olivier Tourchot, (F) Panthères de St-Jérôme (LHJAAAQ); Bryson Boudreau, (F) Pictou County Weeks Crushers (MHL) & Jeremy Dunmore, (F) Kam River Fighting Walleye (SIJHL).
Photo credit: Marc-André Longval