Crawford named Kaminsky runner-up

Nick Crawford of the Barrie Colts has finished second in voting for the Max Kaminsky Trophy, awarded annually to the OHL's top defenseman. The league's leading defensive scorer, Crawford was edged out by Soo Greyhounds overager Jacob Muzzin by a 73-45 margin for the honor. Past winners of the Kaminsky hardware include Drew Doughty, Andrej Sekera, Brian Campbell, and everyone's favorite Flyer, Chris Pronger.

Crawford, 20, scored 11 goals and 70 points in 68 regular season games split between Saginaw and Barrie. His point total was the most for a Sabres CHL defenseman since Marc-Andre Gragnani's 71 back in 2005-06 with the QMJHL's PEI Rocket. While his patience and poise have made him an excellent power play weapon for the past two seasons, the 6'1 lefty also paced the OHL with an impressive +51 rating en route to helping the Colts to a dominating 57-9-0-2 record and #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Crawford has continued his steady play into the postseason, registering 10 assists and a +6 rating through the first three rounds as the stay-back man on the Colts' #1 pair with Blues prospect Alex Pietrangelo. Barrie is currently awaiting the winner of Sunday's Western Conference game seven between the Kitchener Rangers and Zack Kassian's Windsor Spitfires for the rights to rep the OHL in the 2010 Memorial Cup.

The Sabres blueline cupboard is somewhat crowded, but it is a lock that Crawford is signed to an entry-level deal at the end of his season. Adding strength to his smart, shutdown style will make the 2008 sixth-round pick a prime candidate for quality AHL minutes in 2010-ll. From there, it'll be on Crawford to show he can handle the pro speed while doing all the other things that have made him a successful junior player over the past three seasons.

Not bad for a guy who wasn't even ranked by NHL's Central Scouting Bureau heading into the 2008 draft.
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