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OHL honors Staal as league's top defenseman

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Defenseman Marc Staal has had a banner 2006-07 season, winning gold with Canada at the World Juniors and leading Sudbury to the 2007 OHL Championship Series this month.
 
On Monday, the Ontario Hockey League announced that Rangers prospect Marc Staal, taken by the Blueshirts in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, had won the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL's Most Outstanding Defenseman for 2006-07.

Staal finished the regular season with five goals and 29 assists for 34 points in 53 games. He also represented the Eastern Conference All-Stars at this year's All-Star Classic in Saginaw, Mich.

Drafted 12th overall by the Rangers in 2005, Staal captured the gold medal with Team Canada at the 2007 World Junior Championships in Sweden. The 20-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ontario had won his first gold the previous year representing Team Canada at the 2006 World Junior Championship in Vancouver where he was named the Top Defenseman of that tournament.

Staal represented the OHL at the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Canada Russia Challenges. He was named to the 2003-04 OHL First All-Rookie Team and participated at the 2005 Home Hardware CHL Top Prospects Game. Staal was also named to the OHL First All-Star Team for the 2005-06 season.

The Max Kaminsky Trophy is awarded each year to the Most Outstanding Defenceman as selected by OHL general managers. Teams were not permitted to vote for their own nominee. Players received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.

Staal received 64 points in the voting process, while runner-up Jakub Kindl of the Kitchener Rangers received 47 points. Drew Doughty of the Guelph storm finished third with 37 points.

Last year's winner of the Max Kaminsky Trophy was Andrej Sekera of the Owen Sound Attack. Previous winners of the award include Denis Potvin (Ottawa 1971-72 and 1972-73), Al MacInnis (Kitchener 1982-83), Chris Pronger (Peterborough 1992-93) and Bryan Berard (Detroit 1994-95 and 1995-96).

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. Catherine's Teepees in 1960.
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