Photo credit:MATT TIDCOMBE / CHL
Canucks prospect Hunter Brzustewicz sets career high in points while leading the OHL scoring race
By Dave Hall2 months ago
The calendar has officially turned its page into January, marking the beginning of the New Year.
One thing that continues to look quite familiar to the year 2023, however, is Hunter Brzustewicz putting up points.
In a New Year’s Day matinée match between the Kitchener Rangers and the Oshawa Generals, the Vancouver Canucks’ prospect brought in 2024 with another point.
With just over a minute remaining in the opening frame, the 19-year-old made a routine play into the corner, leading to an eventual Rangers’ goal, scored by Adrian Misaljevic, who pounced on a feed from the slot.
While the point may have come easily, as a secondary helper, it holds significance on a personal level.
With the assist, Brzustewicz has officially set a new career-high with 58 points in 37 games. This achievement comes in 31 games fewer than the 57 points he contributed last season as an OHL rookie.
He now has points in five consecutive matches and has only been held pointless five times all season long.
As of today, he is currently on pace to finish the season with 107 points, which marks the potential to be the 14th OHL defender to eclipse the century mark and the first since the 2010-2011 season, when Philadelphia Flyers’ defenceman Ryan Ellis reached 100 points on the nose.
His 58 points currently lead the OHL, and if he maintains this pace, he has the opportunity to become the first defender to win the OHL scoring race since Bryan Fogarty dropped 155 points during the 1988-1989 campaign with the Niagara Falls Thunder.
Additionally, his 51 assists sit atop the entire Canadian Hockey League.
Certainly, this achievement is somewhat bittersweet for Brzustewicz, who had hoped to contribute while sporting a different blue, red, and white jersey representing his country.
Despite posting strong offensive numbers, it was not enough to warrant an invitation to this year’s World Junior Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Brzustewicz recently shared his feelings about the snub with Josh Brown of the Waterloo Region Record.
“I was really sad about it,” he said. “Me, my family, and my agent thought we did everything we could, and it just wasn’t the outcome.”
With his teammate Carson Rehkopf – whom he had shared the league’s scoring lead with before Christmas – representing Canada, Brzustewicz has been given the runway to continue racking up points while he is away.
Hopefully, the snub will only provide fuel to the fire, propelling him toward the league title, and helping his Rangers team make a deep playoff, and hopefully a Memorial Cup, run.
“It motivated me for sure,” he said. “I just want to prove them wrong every single day.”
It feels quite clear that he has accomplished what he needs to at the Junior level, so Canuck fans can expect a jump to the pro ranks is likely in order following this season.
Recent articles from Dave Hall