Moose Jaw Warriors left-wing Brayden Tracey, Sudbury Wolves centre Quinton Byfield, and Moncton Wildcats defenceman Jordan Spence are the 2019 finalists for the Wawanesa Rookie of the Year Award.
Tracey claimed the Jim Piggot Memorial Trophy after leading all Western Hockey League rookies with 81 points, good for a 19-point margin on the next highest scorer. The freshman also led all first-year skaters with 36 goals.
In mid-February, Tracey was recognized as the CHL Player of the Week after he recorded six goals and five assists for 11 points in just four appearances. This season, Tracey’s play caught the attention of talent evaluators as the Calgary native ranks 21st among North American skaters ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft, per Central Scouting’s final report. The Warriors originally selected Tracey with the 21st pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft.
Byfield was presented with the Emms Family Award as the OHL Rookie of the Year after he notched 29 goals and 32 assists for 61 points in 64 games, scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace in his first season, to finish third in scoring among OHL freshmen. Byfield was equally impressive in the postseason as he put up eight points in eight games to help the Wolves win their first playoff series since 2013.
A native of Newmarket, Ont., Byfield is a projected top selection in the 2020 NHL Draft alongside QMJHL counterpart Alexis Lafreniere. Byfield was originally selected first overall by the Wolves in last year’s OHL Priority Selection.
Spence was named the recipient of this year’s QMJHL Rookie of the Year Award after he led all first-year blue-liners with 49 points, counting six goals and 43 assists, while he also finished fourth in scoring among all rookies and first in assists. The 18-year-old also led all Moncton defencemen in scoring. Though he was limited to four playoff appearances, he put up point-per-game production, coming away with one goal and three assists.
A native of Cornwall, P.E.I., Spence was selected 20th overall by the Wildcats in last year’s QMJHL Entry Draft. The budding blue-liner is earmarked for selection in this summer’s NHL Draft, with the final report by Central Scouting ranking him 59th among North American skaters.