Top Forward: Pasi Eskola - Forest Park Lumberjacks (4) The leagues leading point scorer with 62 points takes out this seasons top forward award. Eskola with four votes beat out last years winner of the award Alexandr Gavrikov who came in second with two votes. Season 23 saw Pasi Eskola set a new career high in both goals and points. An achievement even more impressive when done on a non-playoff team.
Top Defensemen: Pedar Andreasen - Burnside Bombers (5) Pedar Andreasen was the talk of the year for the first half of the season. Andreasen’s breakout year had him lead all defensemen in points and finish 6th in overall league scoring. With five votes Andreasen takes home the top defensemen award handedly over last years recipient Dalibor Kosegi who finished with two votes.
Top Goaltender: Thor Landstrom - Stony Brook Steel (5) There’s no split decision this year. After sharing the award in season 22 Thor Landstrom wins the Top Goaltender award for the second straight season. Landstrom's save percentage of .929 was second in the league even with the second largest workload of any goaltender playing 2674 minutes. This is also while receiving the fifth most shots against, there is no doubting that Landstrom had his work cut out for him to retain Top Goaltender.
Most Outstanding Player: Pedar Andreasen - Burnside Bombers (5) Along with receiving Top Defensemen honours, Pedar Andreasen was voted the Most Outstanding Player of Season 23. One of three new categories to the ballot this year, Andreasen is crowned with the most impressive performance of all players for this year. The hulking 6’7 defender, taken outside of the top 10 at 11th overall at the season 18 draft has developed in a game breaker for the Burnside Bombers. Spending most of the year leading all players in points, it wasn’t until the last quarter of the season that forwards were able to catch up to his production.
Most Desirable Player To Build A Team Around: Anir Vigneault - Newcastle Fighters (3) Goaltender Anir Vigneault takes out the Cornerstone Award for season 23, narrowly edging out the emerging star center Filips Birznieks. Vigneault, 24 years old, has consistently finished in the top 5 for save percentage since entering the league in season 17. Finishing 5th in save percentage this season and having the leagues best save percentage in Season 20, Vigneault’s size, age and intangibles endeared him to voters this season.
Best Under 21: Artem Belyakov - Pittsboro Predators (3) Artem Belyakov is the first recipient of the Best Under 21 award. With the intent of highlighting the top up and coming player the first overall pick from the Season 20 draft helped guide the Pittsboro Predators to their second consecutive appearance in the GHL playoffs posting 36 points from the blueline. While this is his last year of eligibility of the award his previous performances of 40 points as an 18 year old and 35 at 19 years of age could have seen him sweep this award since his debut into the league. Belyakov with have to settle with being the inaugural recipient of the award before he ages out of contention.
First Overall Consensus of Previous Draft: Dylan Diop - Goderich Goblins (6) There was little deliberation with who the top choice of last season draft was. Dylan Diop who was selected first overall retains that opinion at the end of his first season in the league. The 18 year old centerman transitioned into the GHL well putting up 28 points. At 6’4 and displaying maturity beyond his years Diop looks like the real deal as he looks to be the cornerstone of the Goderich Goblins who narrowly missed the playoffs this year in only their second season in the GHL.
Most Important Position: Goaltender (4) Goaltending is still the most valued position by the GHL managers receiving the highest number of votes for the second straight season. Only one team got into the playoffs without a goaltender ranked in the top 8 for save percentage and the play of Daniel Crapper almost propelling Goderich into the playoffs, there is a clear correlation between team success and the performance of their goaltender.
What Team Will Win The Most Cups Over The Next 10 Seasons? Stony Brook (4) Stony Brook again is considered to be the best contending team for the next 10 Seasons. Stony Brook is chasing down their third consecutive GHL cup and fourth in five seasons. Unless Stony Brooks is hit with a flood, the GHL cup doesn’t look to be in any hurry to leave the grips of that town.
What Team Will Need To Rebuild In The Next 5 Seasons? Burnside (3) The Burnside Bombers have enjoyed at healthy run in the GHL with either a 4th or 5th place finish for the last seven seasons. The voting managers in the GHL believe that health is on it’s last legs as Burnside is this years recipient of the rebuild kiss of death. Last years ‘winner’ Palm Harbor Legends saw there team regress this season to an 8th place finish, just narrowly holding onto a playoff spot.
What Team Do You Not Want To Meet In The Playoffs? Stony Brook (6) It’s no surprise if your considered to be the most dominant team for the next decade you’ll be the most feared in the playoffs. Stony Brook received almost a unanimous decision for the second straight season. This comes on the eve of just stamping their ticket to the second round after defeating Palm Harbor in games one and two of the first round. Regardless of the regular season workload, Landstrom will likely gets lots of opportunities to familiarise himself with the bench in meaningless game three during the playoffs.
Are You Satisfied With The Current Playoff Format? No (6) A new question presented to the managers this year and dissatisfaction with the current playoff format was almost a unanimous decision. Ranging from a desire for an extended series to wanting meaningless games eliminated after qualifying for the next round, a playoff reform looks to be a hot topic moving forward.
Thank you to all managers that participated in the second annual GHL managers poll. We saw submissions from a couple new faces this season but failed to receive ballots from returning managers, we’ll place the blame on the postal service and hope for more engagement next season. Best of luck to the teams in the playoffs and all teams in their preparations for next season.