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Old 09-09-2019, 09:02 PM   #1
Roof-Daddy
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Getting close to the start, anyone else getting excited?

Hitmen are going to be good. They've got 3 strong 20 year olds and I think 7 or so 19 year olds, many of whom are dangerous offensive weapons. They also have two stud offensive Dmen. They keep 4 of their top 5 scorers from last season and 7 of their top 10, plus they added Jett Woo. The only weak spot might be goaltending.

Edmonton and Medicine Hat also look strong on paper, while the Hurricanes will be icing a pretty young team with lower end 20 year olds.

Other early favorites IMO are Vancouver, Saskatoon and Kamloops.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:08 PM   #2
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Can't forget our stand out goalie from last year McNaughton, I hope Stankowski can find the form they are hoping he can provide.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:10 PM   #3
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Can't forget our stand out goalie from last year McNaughton, I hope Stankowski can find the form they are hoping he can provide.
He's going to get a lot of run support thats for sure.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:13 PM   #4
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Fellow Canes fans...anybody following camp at all? How has Nash been looking, any chance he makes the team at 16? How about Arnsten? Are the Canes going to carry three 16 year olds this season with those two and Stringer?
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:39 AM   #5
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Moose Jaw is looking like a dumpster fire right now. Lost Yeromenko to the KHL and our starter is injured to start the season. With all our graduated players and trading Woo it's going to be a long year.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:06 AM   #6
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Nash looked good in camp so far. It'll be a younger team this year for certain. I'd say that he has a shot but do they really want to carry 3 16 year olds will be the question for Anholt and no one around here seems to know what he is thinking
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:29 AM   #7
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Nash looked good in camp so far. It'll be a younger team this year for certain. I'd say that he has a shot but do they really want to carry 3 16 year olds will be the question for Anholt and no one around here seems to know what he is thinking
Hopefully all 3 show enough to stick. Stringer is a given, Arntsen too IMO.

They could also have a pretty decent group of 17 year old forwards as well, which would bode well for the next two seasons after this one. Boyko needs to take a step that's for sure, I'm not sure how Phare is looking, but he's a former 1st rounder they picked up from PG so it'd be a bonus if he turned into something. I also listened to a pod cast with Anholt, and he specifically talked about Wheatcroft and Thacker potentially breaking out, plus they also have Boucher and Jett Jones in the mix at camp. All of them were roughly point per game in Midget AAA last season.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:38 AM   #8
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Moose Jaw is looking like a dumpster fire right now. Lost Yeromenko to the KHL and our starter is injured to start the season. With all our graduated players and trading Woo it's going to be a long year.
I don't follow the Warriors closely but who is the starter? I am assuming you mean goaltender (??). I only have a passing interest as one of the goalies who was at camp used to play with my son years ago and I don't see his name on the roster when I look now. It was there last week. The website doesn't do a good job of listing payer transactions.
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:12 PM   #9
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If anyone wants to go to a game on the cheap, the Hitmen have a pre-season game at the Dome on Sunday afternoon. It's $8.50 for adults and $5.25 for kids. Limited concessions last year though. Basically just hot dogs, nachos, pop and chips. And probably beer.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:19 PM   #10
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Going to be a memorable year in Kelowna for the 2020 Memorial Cup hosts. Although last year didn’t go as planned (poor 19s and 20s did them in) things are looking a lot more promising now. Sixth time to the big dance in 17 years for the flagship franchise in the WHL.

Starting goalie Roman Basran is embarrassed at how his season ended last year and not getting drafted and has a huge chip on his shoulder this year. The Rockets usually only run 19s and 20s as starting goalies but this is actually his third season playing significant time so look for him to take another step. Memorial Cup-winning teams don’t usually do so with 18-year old goalies so this is a bit of a question mark but time will tell. Cole Schwebius (another 18) came over in the big trade with the T-birds and hasn’t allowed a goal in preseason yet so it looks like he will supplant James Porter as the backup (who just hasn’t progressed).

The team in front of the goalies will be MUCH better. Jake Lee (an 18 who should have been drafted and probably will next year for sure), Kaeden Korczak (Vegas 2nd rounder), Sean Comrie and a yet-to-be-acquired overager will form the top four. Comrie is an interesting case. He was highly touted but didn’t get playing time in college and has switched to junior and has looked good in camp. The Flyers are giving him a look right now and he may get a contract after this season. The bottom pair will be Devin Steffler (who had a terrific summer and camp and will be much improved), and probably a rotation of Cayde Augustine (who dropped 25lbs this summer) and one of the terrific trio of 16s the Rockets drafted in 2018 bantam (will discuss below). Lassi Thomson is a loss but he may return after the world juniors.

Up front was the biggest issue last year and it looks much more dynamic now. Nolan Foote will probably flirt with 50 goals. Pavel Novak is a promising 17 just picked from the import draft who looked good in the Hlinka. Deegan Mofford is an 18 who got cut for being out of shape the last two years but finally figured it out and will be a big power forward, probably on a checking line with Mark Liwiski and Alex Swetlikoff (who also didn’t get drafted this past summer and is motivated). Trevor Wong is a very skilled 16 who will get some looks as he has to play 40 games this year. Dillon Hamaliuk (Sharks 2nd rounder) comes over in the T-birds trade as well. This is to mention nothing about the returnees most of whom are expected to improve on last year as well.

Biggest weakness right now is lack of a true No. 1 centre to play with Foote…if there’s a big trade made at some point this season it’s probably to address that.

Adam Foote did a fantastic job dragging an awful roster to a +.500-record after inheriting a 1-9 start last year. The team had to trap it up to try and stay in games but will be opening things up this year as there is a lot more speed and skill in the lineup. It’s also a bigger team this year which helps a lot as it’s going to be a long grinding season at times.

The plan is to play out the first part of the season without making any big moves (other than adding a 20 on D) to see where things stand. There’s an import spot open (waiting on either Daniil Gutik or Thomson) and the Rockets still have their upcoming 1st round pick which will probably be in play.

The future is extremely bright for the Rockets. They absolutely killed it in the 2018 bantam draft as their first five picks could all play as 16s this year if the team were rebuilding. These are all guys to watch in the 2021 draft:

-Trevor Wong (skilled speedy winger/centre)
-Elias Carmichael (steady smooth D who could crack team this year easily)
-Jackson DeSouza (big smooth RHD who reads the play well)
-Noah Dorey (smallish but smart D)
-Steel Quiring (RH forward with some size)

They also picked Arvega Hospvean out of California late who was committed to college but has attended camp the past two seasons and seems likely to sign next year who was a first-round talent but slid.

This 2018 bumper crop (along with the 2019 group whose early returns look good too) is looking like the start of another golden generation for the Rockets like the one they had in 2012-16 with guys like Jesse Lees, Madison Bowey, Nick Merkley, Dillon Dube, etc. Problem is that isn’t going to help them win this year so it’ll be interesting to see if one of these guys is “asked” to waive his no-trade clause in a deal to bring in a ringer or two for this year. The team is probably going to be even better in 2021 and probably 2023-24 than this year so maybe that’s where a deal happens as picks alone aren’t likely to get a big fish like Peyton Krebs later this year.

Going to be a fun year. Langley is probably the top team in the division but Kelowna shouldn’t be too far behind especially if Byram doesn’t return. Kamloops has a young fun team but they aren’t really built to win this year yet and their GM seems more focused on being competitive every year rather than going all-in so they aren’t likely to be a championship threat right now. The US division doesn’t have any clear contender so the path to the finals doesn’t seem impassable if the Rockets choose to try and take the front door to the Memorial Cup. The east has some good looking teams though in Saskatoon, Edmonton and even Calgary. Hopefully the reduced schedule has WHL teams a little fresher in the tournament this year.

Kelowna hotels and airbnbs fill up fairly quickly for the May long weekend – get those reservations in!
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:35 PM   #11
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Maybe the Rockets and Canes can pull off a blockbuster if the Canes end up selling and the Rockets are willing to part with some of those young assets. Cozens and Addison are likely heading into their last years of junior and would provide a massive boost to any team loading up for a deep playoff run.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:48 PM   #12
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Maybe the Rockets and Canes can pull off a blockbuster if the Canes end up selling and the Rockets are willing to part with some of those young assets. Cozens and Addison are likely heading into their last years of junior and would provide a massive boost to any team loading up for a deep playoff run.
Are the Hurricanes selling for sure?

It's interesting...looking at their roster it's obvious they lost some good players but they did put a bid in for the Memorial Cup so it seems Anholt at least felt they'd have the pieces in place to make a run if needed.

That said, the Central division looks tough with Edmonton and Calgary both as contenders so if there was ever a year to throw in the towel and retool, this would be it. The prospect of having to beat both those teams in a series just to get to the 3rd round vs Saskatoon would have to be daunting.

In that case, I think Cozens would be more likely a target for the Rockets than Addison. Kelowna is pretty deep on RD especially if Thomson returns, but Cozens could be that top-line centre they will likely target. He isn't the pure playmaker for Foote, more of a power forward but that may not matter.

The issue is that signed prospects, 16s and 17s can't be traded anymore without waiving their NTC so it's going to be harder than ever for contenders to load up in the WHL. One of those trio of 16s on defense would be the perfect trade chip but it's hard to see any of them agreeing to move away from a Memorial Cup team that's known for churning out NHL-calibre defensemen.

The WHL may continue to struggle at Memorial Cups in the future as the OHL and Q teams all do crazy trades that stack contending rosters and W teams are forced to try and do trades just for picks.

You also have to wonder if Anholt may be bitter about losing the Memorial Cup bid to Bruce and may not want to help the Rockets win it.

There could be slim pickings this year at the deadline though because most top players in the league (those that are NHL picks) happen to play for contending teams already so if Lethbridge does decide to sell, they may have many teams interested. It'll just be interesting to see if they can find a way around the new trade rules.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:13 PM   #13
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No way to know if they're sellers this early, but unless the Canes young players take massive steps they will most likely be a wild card team at best and fighting for 4th place in the central. As we saw two years ago, Anholt isnt afraid to sell with a bubble team. If that happens, Cozens and Addison would bring back huge returns.

Also, I don't see the new trade rules being that much of an obstacle. Those 16s and 17s will more often than not see it as an opportunity to get an immediately increased role, albeit with a new organization. Just my opinion.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:01 PM   #14
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Suppose if Barlage had developed as expected it might be a different outlook this year.

Kelowna plans to play one of the three 16s this year in the required 40 games, sending the other two back to midget. My guess is Carmichael sticks, so perhaps DeSouza or Dorey along with the 1st would be an enticing package for a seller as both those guys are capable of playing already.

Another interesting storyline to watch is the US division. Kent is rebuilding but the other four teams all have a shot at coming out of that division, it could be a dogfight.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:06 AM   #15
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I don't follow the Warriors closely but who is the starter? I am assuming you mean goaltender (??). I only have a passing interest as one of the goalies who was at camp used to play with my son years ago and I don't see his name on the roster when I look now. It was there last week. The website doesn't do a good job of listing payer transactions.
Adam Evanoff was to be our starter, had hip surgery in the off season and is out 10-14 weeks to start.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:58 PM   #16
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Adam Evanoff was to be our starter, had hip surgery in the off season and is out 10-14 weeks to start.
I see they added Bailey Brkin to the roster today. Surprised they didn't do that earlier.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:15 PM   #17
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I see they added Bailey Brkin to the roster today. Surprised they didn't do that earlier.
Ya that was a pleasant surprise. Still a young team that is going to have a tough year but that should help.
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