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Braden Schneider named WHL’s Defenseman of the Year

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Schneider continues to gain recognition for his big year

Canada v Finland - 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Gold Medal Game Photo by EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

What a year it’s been for Braden Schneider. The New York Rangers’ 2020 first-round pick (19th overall) has just been named the winner of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the WHL’s Defenseman of the Year.

From the WHL’s release:

Schneider, a first-round selection of the New York Rangers in the 2020 NHL Draft, led the Wheat Kings to the East Division championship, posting 27 points (5G-22A) during the 2020-21 WHL season. His point total was third-best among WHL blueliners, and the product of Prince Albert, Sask. finished second among WHL defencemen in assists and game-winning goals (two). Schneider’s 15 power-play helpers were second-most among all WHL skaters.

Just a week ago, Schneider was named the WHL’s East Divison Defenseman of the Year. He also just won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2021 World Championship in Riga Latvia — a team coached by Gerard Gallant, who many have pegged as a favorite to be the Blueshirts’ next bench boss.

In a year that will be viewed as an obstruction to the development of countless prospects and young players, Schneider seemed to seize every opportunity he was given. He averaged just 3:04 TOI/GP for Team Canada at the Worlds but picked up an assist and is coming home with a gold medal after claiming a silver at the World Juniors.

Past winners of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy include Ty Smith, Ethan Bear, Ivan Provorov, Shea Theodore, Tyson Barrie, and Dion Phaneuf.