Wednesday, 30 December 2015

WHL People's Power Rankings #6

Welcome to the post Christmas edition of the WHL People's Power Rankings. Let's not waste any time and get right to it.
Eastern Conference
1. Lethbridge Hurricanes - Winners of 11 of the last 14 before the break. 18 PPG in those 14 games. Handily beat Red Deer in their last game before Christmas. Doesn't look like a team that needs to buy at the deadline.
2. Calgary Hitmen - 15 wins in 19 games puts them in a tie with Red Deer for 2nd in the division. Possibly getting Virtanen back is insurance. Will be a contender if he returns.
3. Red Deer Rebels - Play of late has not been up to par, extended stay near the top of the conference helps them immensely here. Play does not appear inspired for Memorial Cup hosts.
4. Brandon Wheat Kings - Still appear dominant often but have lapses in stretches. When McCrimmon returns to the team he will look to tighten up their game to last year's lofty standards.
5. Prince Albert Raiders - Keeping pace in a tight race with Brandon and Moose Jaw. Goaltending is their biggest asset will they look to add a defender or a forward come deadline day?
6. Moose Jaw Warriors - Missing Brayden Point for so many games and yet they are still keeping the division leaders within their grasp. Team game is key here and the continued growth of forwards not named Point. Sawchenko is a rock in the net for this team.
7. Regina Pats - Struggling to produce wins, having just 1 in the 8 games preceding the break. It is possible they move some parts around to build for next season.
8. Edmonton Oil Kings - Streakiest team in the league. Finding this team has a very "me first" attitude, definite drop off from the top 3 divisional teams. Likely stuck in one of the 2 wild card spots.
9. Saskatoon Blades - A very interesting team with plenty of gimmicks to bring fans into the arena but the on ice product is suffering. Have not won more than 2 games in a row all season.
10. Medicine Hat Tigers - Just can not find a winning combination. Had won 4 of 5 before the break and a few against the Oil Kings but are just too far back. At least they have the new Arena right?
11. Swift Current Broncos - 2 and 14 over the last 16 and traded their best asset to the Rebels. Things couldn't be much worse could they?
12. Kootenay Ice - I guess things could be worse. 12 straight loses and only 6 wins on the season. Nothing doing here.

Western Conference
1. Kelowna Rockets - Lost back-to-back for the first time this year, but still maintain a healthy five-point lead for best record in the WHL.
2. Victoria Royals - Royals are dropping Divisional games consistently without head coach Dave Lowry and d-man Joe Hicketts.
3. Prince George Cougars - They appear to be setting up an epic battle for the number two seed and home ice advantage in the B.C. division with Victoria
4. Seattle Thunderbirds - Really hurting without their top three centers, who are all at the World Junior Championships
5. Spokane Chiefs - Suffered through Adam Helewka's six-game suspension and a slew of injuries. They will need some wins in upcoming games vs. Portland, who is right on their heals in the U.S.
6. Everett Silvertips - Flailing a bit lately and will need some points out of two huge games vs. Kelowna this week.
7. Kamloops Blazers -5-1 road trip through the prairies has the Blazers right in the thick of the playoffs
8. Portland Winterhawks - Welcomed the return of two of their top-six forwards with an epic OT win over T.C. A few big wins and fans might want Hawks to start buying at the trade deadline
9. Vancouver Giants - Red-hot Giants are now only four back of Portland for the final playoff spot
10. Tri-City Americans - Deal for McKenzie Stewart adds some size up front, but what does it mean for their other three overage players?

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

People's Power Rankings 5th Edition

Welcome to the 5th Edition of

1) Prince Albert 104 pts. UP 1 (3-3)
- Up and down recently, put together a better string with wins against Lethbridge and Red Deer in the last week.
2) Lethbridge 94 pts. UP 3 (5-1) 
- Biggest mover with PG this edition. Only loss was to PA Raiders in the last 2 weeks, beat Calgary, Red Deer and Brandon. 
3) Red Deer 85 pts. DOWN 2 (3-3)
 - Back to back losses against Lethbridge and PA have the team reeling just a little bit. 3rd time they have lost 2 straight this season, have yet to lose 3 in a row. 
4) Brandon 82 pts. DOWN 1 (3-1-1)
- Is this team toying with everyone until after Christmas? Stretches of dominance followed by surprising loses. Right in the mix for top spot, but are playing better on the road than at home.
5) Calgary 72 pts. DOWN 1 (4-1-1)
- would be higher ranked but everyone is playing well around them. Points in 10 of the last 11 games, has them in a tie for 1st in the East Division following a TERRIBLE start.
6) Moose Jaw 61 pts. EVEN (4-1-1)
- went 2-2-1 through the US Division despite missing Point for all 5 games. Won their 2 home games over the past weekend.
7) Regina 55 pts. EVEN (4-2-1)
- Finished up their 9 game road trip a respectable 4-3-2-0 
8) Edmonton 41 pts. UP 1 (4-0)
-the only team to not lose over the period, seems no one has noticed the 4 game win streak (now 5 at time of writing)
9) Saskatoon 35 pts. DOWN 1 (1-6) 
- traded goaltender Nik Amundrud to Calgary, proceed to lose 3 straight. Team appears to be sinking quickly. 
10) Medicine Hat 25 pts. EVEN (1-5)
- Returned from BC with just 1 win which came against the Blazers. Shut out to the lowly Giants. Trades are just not panning out, goaltending situation is still not resolved.
 11) Swift Current 19 pts. EVEN (0-3-2)
- just 2 points out of a possible 22 over the last 11 games, no wins. Are the Broncos the first team to put up the for sale sign for the coming trade deadline?

12) Kootenay 11 pts. EVEN (0-7)
- Injuries are piling up, trading future draft picks to fill roster spots. Appears this team is folding up the tent for next season already.

1)Kelowna 80 pts. EVEN (5-1) *UNANIMOUS VOTE*
-Rockets lead the WHL with 22 wins through their first 29 games. Now that they have a healthy Rourke Chartier in the fold, this could be their spot to lose for the duration of the season.

2)Victoria 67 pts. UP 1 (3-1)
-They Royals have been trading the two spot with Seattle over the last two weeks. They will assuredly be without star defenseman Joe Hicketts for a month while he plays for Canada at the World Juniors, how will they hold up without him?
3)Seattle 66 pts. DOWN 1 (2-3)
-Escaped Seattle Metropoltians' night with a win over Tri-City, saving themselves from a disastrous two weeks.
4)Prince George 58 pts. UP 3 (5-0-1)
-The net is now firmly in the hands of WHL goalie of the week Ty Edmonds. He came into a game vs. Portland after backup Nick McBride was pulled and still was able to leads the Cougars to a win.
5)Everett 49 pts. EVEN (4-2)
-Dealt for Buffalo Sabres' prospect Brycen Martin, giving up a lot of their future to do so. The offensive d-man has been pointless through his first three games in Everett and will need to start producing in the absence of Noah Juulsen.
6)Spokane 37 pts. DOWN 2 (3-2)
-Their 7-1 thrashing of top U.S. Division team Seattle served as a message to the rest of the division, that they are a contender.
7)Portland 29 pts. EVEN (2-4)
-Injuries have ravaged the forward unit so much, that d-man Keoni Texeira played forward for the first time in his WHL career.
8)Kamloops 29 pts. DOWN 1 (2-2-1)
-12 game road trip through Saskatchewan should tell us a little bit more about this Jekyll and Hyde squad.

9)Tri-City 15 pts. EVEN (2-4)
-Slowly getting healthier and it has shown on the ice with a big 4-1 win over Everett this last week. Yet another team that will be missing a big-time defenseman for almost a month as Brandon Carlo figures to be a big part of Team USA at the World Juniors.

10)Vancouver 10 pts. EVEN (3-3)
-Season is officially in the toilet after the only General Manager the team has ever know: Scott Bonner stepped down.