Daws named OHL Goaltender of the Year

Aaron Vickers2020 Draft Center, OHL

Terry Wilson | CHL Images

Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm has been named inaugural recipient of the Jim Rutherford Trophy awarded as the Ontario Hockey League’s goaltender of the year, the league announced Tuesday.

Daws, eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, led the OHL with a .924 save percentage and five shutouts, and had a 2.48 goals against average and a 23-8-3-3 record in 38 games played.

Daws was named OHL goaltender of the month for November, and was recognized with three star of the game honors in 15 games, including eight first-star nods.

Daws, 19, also helped Canada to gold at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

“I’m honored to be the first recipient of the Jim Rutherford Trophy and am truly humbled to have my name associated with not only a world class goaltender, but an influential builder of the game,” Daws said in a release. “I’d like to thank my family for always supporting me and also my billet family for giving me a home away from home. Lastly, thank you to my coaches and teammates. I wouldn’t be able to achieve this without their help.”

The 6-foot-4, 202-pound Daws was recognized in the 2019-20 OHL Coaches Poll as the Western Conference’s most improved player, best puckhandling goaltender and second-best shootout goaltender.

“He has a lot of maturity in his game,” FC Hockey scout Simon Rouillard said. “To me, Daws always seem to be in good position — on his X all the time — to face a shot. He is relatively calm, poise in his net, he doesn’t over commit on one side and only challenge shots when necessary. His maturity level reflects in small details of is game.”

His .924 save percentage is the highest in Storm history by goaltenders who have spent the full season with Guelph, and his 2.48 goals-against average is the lowest by a qualified goaltender since Tom McCollum’s 2.39 mark in 2006-07.