Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2018 Major League Baseball Notoriously Unreputable Prognostications

Another year out on the diamond is fastly approaching and with it comes my, what has become annual for no apparent reason, notoriously unreputable Major League Baseball Prognostications. It's quite simple, in this "preview", I will forecast my division by division predictions whilst handing out the hardware selections for the major end of year awards.

American League East:

1.New York Yankees
2.Boston Red Sox
3.Baltimore Orioles
4.Toronto Blue Jays
5.Tampa Bay Rays

American League Central:

1.Cleveland Indians
2.Minnesota Twins
3.Kansas City Royals
4.Chicago White Sox
5.Detroit Tigers

American League West:

1.Houston Astros
2.Seattle Mariners
3.Texas Rangers
4.Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels
5.Oakland Athletics

National League East:

1.Washington Nationals
2.Atlanta Braves
3.Philadelphia Phillies
4.New York Mets
5.Miami Marlins

National League Central:

1.Chicago Cubs
2.Milwaukee Brewers
3.St.Louis Cardinals
4.Pittsburgh Pirates
5.Cincinnati Reds

National League West:

1.Los Angeles Dodgers
2.Colorado Rockies
3.San Diego Padres
4.Arizona Diamondbacks
5.San Francisco Giants


Wild Card:

Seattle v Boston=Seattle
Colorado v Milwaukee=Milwaukee


New York Yankees v Seattle=Yankees in four
Cleveland v Houston=Indians in four

Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee=Brewers in five
Chicago Cubs v Washington=Cubs in five


New York Yankees v Cleveland=Yankees in five

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee=Brewers in seven

World Series:

New York Yankees v Milwaukee=Yankees in five


American League M.V.P:Aaron Judge(NYY)
National League M.V.P:Bryce Harper(WSH)

American League Cy Young:Jose Berrios(MIN)
National League Cy Young:Clayton Kershaw(LAD)

American League Manager of the Year:Aaron Boone(NYY)
National League Manager of the Year:Craig Counsell(MIL)

First Manager fired:John Gibbons(TOR)

Monday, December 4, 2017

2018 FIFA World Cup Progn99ostications

This past Friday the draw was formalized for the upcoming World Cup set to commence in June of 2018 in Russia. What I've elected to do is formulate my own personal predictions all the way through right down to the championship match.


Russia 3 Saudi Arabia 1
Egypt 0 Uruguay 1
Russia 3 Egypt 0
Uruguay 2 Saudi Arabia 1
Uruguay 1 Russia 2
Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 3

Team                W               D            L                 GF                  GA             GD            PTS

1.Russia            3                 0             0                  8                      2                 +6              9
2.Uruguay        2                 0              1                 4                      3                +1               6
3.Egypt             1                 0             2                 3                       4                 -1              3
4.Saudi Arabia 0                0              3                 2                      8                  -6              0


Morocco 0 Iran 2
Portgual 1 Spain 0
Portugal 2 Morocco 1
Iran 1 Spain 4
Iran 1 Portugal 1
Spain 1 Morocco 3

Team                         W             D        L                GF          GA             GD            PTS

1.Portugal                  2               1         0               4               2                 +2             7
2.Iran                          1              1         1               4               5                  -1             4
3.Spain                        1              0         2               5              5                   0               3
4.Morocco                   1              0         2               4              5                   -1              3


France 5 Australia 0
Peru 0 Denmark 3
Denmark 4 Australia 0
France 2 Peru 0
Denmark 0 France 4
Australia 0 Peru 2

Team                     W                       D           L              GF          GA         GD             PTS

1.France                  3                       0             0              11           0             +11              9
2.Denmark             2                        0             1              7             4              +3               6
3.Peru                     1                        0             2              2             5              -3                 3
4.Australia             0                         0             3             0             11             -11               0


Argentina 4 Iceland 0
Croatia 2 Nigeria 2
Argentina 3 Croatia 1
Nigeria 3 Iceland 0
Nigeria 2 Argentina 3
Iceland 1 Croatia 0

Team                    W            D      L             GF          GA         GD          PTS

1.Argentina           3             0       0              10          3              +7             9
2.Nigeria               1              1        1             7            5              +2            4
3.Iceland              1               0         2            1            7              -6             3
4.Croatia             0                1        2             3            6              -3             1


Costa Rica 1 Serbia 3
Brazil 2 Switzerland 2
Brazil 7 Costa Rica 1
Serbia 2 Switzerland 0
Serbia 3 Brazil 1
Switzerland 1 Costa Rica 1

Team                 W              D        L                 GF             GA           GD             PTS

1.Serbia             3                 0         0                 8                2                 +6             9
2.Brazil             1                 1         1                 10              6                 +4             4
3.Switzerland   0                 2         1                 3                5                  -2             2
4.Costa Rica     0                 1          2                3                11                -8             1


Germany 3 Mexico 0
Sweden 1 South Korea 2
South Korea 4 Mexico 2
Germany 2 Sweden 0
South Korea 1 Germany 4
Mexico 4 Sweden 1

Team                   W             D           L               GF          GA               GD             PTS

1.Germany           3              0             0               9              1                     +8             9
2.South Korea      2             0             1               7              7                       0              6
3.Mexico               1             0             2                6              8                     -2               3
4.Sweden              0             0              3               2              8                     -6               0


Belgium 1 Panama 1
Tunisia 2 England 1
Belgium 5 Tunisia 1
England 3 Panama 0
England 2 Belgium 3
Panama 1 Tunisia 0

Team                     W          D            L           GF          GA        GD                PTS

1.Belgium              2             1             0           9             4            +5                 7
2.Panama              1             1             1           2             4            -2                  4
3.England             1              0             2           6            5             +1                 3
4.Tunisia              1               0             2          3            7             -4                   3


Colombia 3 Japan 1
Poland 4 Senegal 0
Japan 3 Senegal 1
Poland 2 Colombia 3
Japan 2 Poland 1
Colombia 2 Senegal 2

Team                  W              D             L              GF      GA             GD               PTS

1.Colombia          2              1               0              8           5               +3                 7
2.Japan                2              0               1              6           5                +1               6
3.Poland             1                0               2              7          5                 +2               3
4.Senegal            0                1               2              3         9                  -6               1


Round of Sixteen:

 Russia 2 Iran 1
France 4 Nigeria 0
Serbia 1 South Korea 0
Belgium 4 Japan 1
Portugal 1 Uruguay 3
Argentina 3 Denmark 0
Germany 2 Brazil 1
Colombia 4 Panama 1


Russia 1 France 0
Serbia 2 Belgium 5
Uruguay 1 Argentina 2
Germany 8 Colombia 0


Russia 2 Belgium 3
Argentina 2 Germany 0

Bronze Medal Match:

Russia 1 Germany 5

Gold Medal Match:

Belgium 0 Argentina 2

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

2017-2018 National Hockey League Prognostications

My annual post where I predict the standings of the National Hockey League regular season and attempt to sort out the playoff bracket with the placements I've allocated for each respective organization. Afterwards, I'll dish out my individual award winners.


Atlantic Division:                 

1.Toronto Maple Leafs(1)       
2.Boston Bruins                   
3.Florida Panthers
4.Ottawa Senators(W1)
5.Montreal Canadiens
6.Tampa Bay Lightning
7.Buffalo Sabres
8.Detroit Red Wings

Metropolitan Division:

1.Washington Capitals(2)
2.New York Rangers
3.Columbus Blue Jackets
4.New York Islanders(W2)
5.Philadelphia Flyers
6.Pittsburgh Penguins
7.New Jersey Devils
8.Carolina Hurricanes


Central Division:

1.Nashville Predators(2)
2.Chicago Blackhawks
3.Dallas Stars
4.Winnipeg Jets(W1)
5.Minnesota Wild(W2)
6.St.Louis Blues
7.Colorado Avalanche

Pacific Division:

1.Edmonton Oilers(1)
2.Anaheim Ducks
3.Vancouver Canucks
4.Calgary Flames
5.San Jose Sharks
6.Arizona Coyotes
7.Los Angeles Kings
8.Vegas Golden Knights


First round:

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders=Islanders in Seven
Boston Bruins v Florida Panthers=Bruins in six
Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators=Capitals in five
New York Rangers v Columbus Blue Jackets=Blue Jackets in six

Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild=Oilers in five
Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks=Ducks in four
Nashville Predators v Winnipeg Jets=Jets in six
Chicago Blackhawks v Dallas Stars=Stars in seven

Second round:

New York Islanders v Boston Bruins=Islanders in five
Washington Capitals v Columbus Blue Jackets=Blue Jackets in six

Edmonton Oilers v Anaheim Ducks=Ducks in seven
Winnipeg Jets v Dallas Stars=Stars in seven

Third Round:

New York Islanders v Columbus Blue Jackets=Blue Jackets in seven

Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars=Stars in five

Stanley Cup Final:

Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars=Blue Jackets in six

Columbus Blue Jackets are your 2017 Stanley Cup Champions!

Top five scorers:

1.Auston Matthews(Tor)
2.Connor McDavid(EDM)
3.Patrick Kane(CHI)
4.David Pastrnak(BOS)
5.Alexander Ovechkin(WAS)

James Norris Defenceman of the Year:*WILL LIST THE THREE NOMINEES FOR EACH AWARD*

1.Aaron Ekblad(FLA)-Winner
2.Cam Fowler(ANA)
3.Victor Hedman(TB)

Jack Adams Coach of the Year:

1.Mike Babcock(TOR)
2.Bob Boughner(FLA)
3.Joel Quenneville(CHI)-Winner

Frank J.Selke Best Defensive Forward:

1.Joonas Donskoi(SJ)-winner
2.Chris Kreider(NYR)
3.Jonathan Toews(CHI)

Vezina Top Goaltender:

1.Sergei Bobrovsky(CLB)
2.Jakob Markstrom(VAN)-winner
3.Tuuka  Rask(BOS)

Calder Top Rookie:

1.Matt Barzal(NYI)
2.Nico Hischier(NJ)-winner
3.Travis Sanheim(PHI)

Hart Most Valuable Player:

1.Patrick Kane(CHI)
2.Auston Matthews(TOR)-winner
3.Connor McDavid(EDM)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 Weekly NFL Power Rankings(Week One)

The purpose of this entry is to after each week of the 2017 National Football League to provide a ranking from 1-32 of all organizations. Attached to each team will be a brief snip-it justifying the ranking. The justifications will be based anywhere from constructive to comical to downright idiotic.

1-Minnesota Vikings: A perceived red flag at the quarterback position was anything but. Dalvin Cook is a suitable replacement for A.P and the defence continues to shine(granted they played New Orleans).

2.Green Bay Packers:Purportedly the game versus Seattle was poorly officiated but that doesn't change the fact that they held premier passer Russell Wilson to an anemic 158 passing yards. Still high on Seattle but solid win.

3.Oakland Raiders:Everyone is seemingly a proponent of the Titans, I'm not as giddish but the defiance of Oakland was brought to the forefront as there wasn't a facet that they didn't excel in. Amari Cooper gets the headlines but don't sleep on Michael Crabtree.

4.Seattle Seahawks:Seattle was the class of the N.F.C heading into this campaign and one loss to a stingent Packers hasn't led to panic. The running game was lacklustre and in lieu of that the Packers secondary was able to zero in on Wilson. Can Eddie Lacy redeem himself or will unknown rookie Chris Carson seize the opportunity?

5.Tampa Bay Buccaneers:Hurricane Irma dealt the Bucs a significant blow by postponing week one's tilt versus the Dolphins.Sixteen straight games is ridiculous and the onus should've been on the league by ensuring last Sunday was played at a neutral site.

6.Dallas Cowboys: The pressing storyline for America's team was if Dak Prescott would be subject to a sophomore slump. If the week one dismantling of the G-men was any indication then no such worry exists. The term game manager gets thrown around often times unfairly but with Dak knowing he has a weapon such as Zeke Elliot at this disposal(at least for the time being) then that's all he has to do.

7.New England Patriots:One opening night loss won't stop me from giving this organization the benefit of the doubt however the way rookie Kareem Hunt ran shop over them, the run defence is something Bill Belichick will need to closely examine. A week two date against the laughable New Orleans Saints who gift wrapped them Brandin Cooks is just what the doctor ordered.

8.Pittsburgh Steelers:Will the real Le'Veon Bell step up? The Bell camp was criticized for their role in the negotiations that led to a pre-season hold out and versus Cleveland in week one rust played a factor. Le'Veon Bell when in rhythm is the best running back in the business, couple him with #84 and you're sailing to a AFC north title.

9.Houston Texans:Perhaps I'm the fool but when you lose J.J Watt,Brian Cushing and Bruce Ellington in one game, I don't care if you're playing the Patriots or the Jacksonville Jaguars and it's a recipe for disaster. Watt is supposedly good to go for week two and if they embarrass themselves again then they'll take a nosedive in the rankings. Clemson alum Deshaun Watson won't allow that to happen.

10.Atlanta Falcons:On one hand, the defence erased their demons from the Super Bowl back in February by containing the Chicago Bears but on the other the overall team dynamic was missing something that I can't quite put my finger on.Something I saw a lot of last season was the Falcons playing down to their opponents and barely squeaking by the Bears is cause for concern.

11.Kansas City Chiefs: The win, while commendable is more of an indictment towards the Patriots defence. The majority of football pendants correlate New England to a world class defence but the truth is that's been a long time since they heavily relied on their defence. Long gone are the days of Ty Law and Teddy Bruschi.The Chiefs exploited that Thursday.

12.Los Angeles Rams:Jeff Fisher had a valiant run as the Head Coach of the Tennessee Titans. As general of the Titans,he won three divisional titles compounded by a Super Bowl appearance back in 1999. His tenure with the Rams, well...less then memorable and that notion that Jared Goff wasn't ready in 2016? Fisher may have missed the boat on that one.

13.Baltimore Ravens:A buddy of mine was adament that Danny Woodhead was the answer to the Ravens backfield. A week one injury aside, the Woodhead ailment was  a blessing in disguise as Terrance West should've been the answer from the onset and he was a force in week one running for eighty yards. A darkhorse Pro Bowler to be certain.

14. Cincinatti Bengals:You're wondering, what is a team that was shut-out doing at number fourteen in these rankings? Simply put Andy Dalton has done enough throughout the course of his career that one rotten apple isn't going to cloud my perception of the TCU alum.An important Thursday nighter against the Texans but at the very least I expect them to be more competitive.

15.Philadelphia Eagles: Last year, Carson Wentz decisively came out on top in the Jared Goff-Wentz battle but with Goff looking reinvorged after the first week, Carson will have to raise his level moving forward. Entering his third full season, Agholor was brought in to the Eagles amid astronomical expectations and the hope is that he'll have used the 2017 week one as that platform. My one concern is can LeGarrette Blount be an every down back?  He's more of a fullback mode that has trouble working towards those long gains.

16.Carolina Panthers:They win v the 49'ers. 23-3. Disclaimer is that it's only the 49ers but I'm confused, did Carolina defeat them or was it Chuck Pagano's Colts?

17.Buffalo Bills:There were some in the business that were under the premise that LeSean McCoy's best days were behind him but after a week one resurgence which saw him trot for 110 yards on 22 carries that opinion is quickly beginning to fade. Everyone is attributing his opening week heroics to playing the Jets defence but contrary to popular opinion it's the Jet offence not the defence that is Arena League-esque.

18.New York Giants-After the Sunday night loss to the Cowboys, two things have become abundantly apparent.  1)Brandon Marshall no longer suffices as a quality number two receiver and 2)A healthy Odell Beckham changes the complexion of the Giants attack.

19.Cleveland Browns:After becoming the revelation of the 2016 campaign, fourth round pick, 135th overall pick Dak Prescott has Browns supporters internally fascinating over the prospects over their mid range draft pick in Deshone Kizer. Kizer was selected fifty  second overall and after holding his own admirably against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a repeat performance will be required in week two. Fro a fantasy point of view, can Hue Jackson do a better job of utilizing receiver Corey Coleman? Please and thank-you!

20.Tennessee Titans: I eluded to the fact that I wasn't clamouring over the prospects of the Titans but I'll be the first to admit that the running game implemented by the coaching staff has huge upside, the question that I keep reverting back to is was Corey Davis the right selection at the 2017 NFL Draft?

21.Denver Broncos:A trend that you'll grow to dislike about these power rankings is my hatred towards the Broncos. Hate is a strong word but I don't put much stock into barely hanging on versus the lowly Chargers. Denver's quarterback collection is reminiscent to that of the Los Angeles Rams of last year. They have a promising option in Paxton Lynch sitting on the sidelines while Trevor Siemian continues to sling when by no means is he a capable NFl starting quarterback. Jared Goff rode the pines a year ago only to later show his competence. Lynch's time better be imminent.

22.Washington Redskins:Was their a bigger disappointment in opening week then the Washington Redskins? No...didn't think so and it stems from the regressive nature of Jameson Crowder. I initially had Crowder pegged to progress from his 847 yard total from a year ago but after only being targeted seven times for a grand total of fourteen years, the offensive coordinator will need to devise a scheme that encourages more features for the former Duke product.

23.Arizona Cardinals: Down goes David! The ranking of twenty three after what I witnessed this past Sunday should flatter them and after placing star running back David Johnson on the I.R with a dislocated wrist times will become tougher and tougher.

24.Detroit Lions:Memo to New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, in the midst of your game planning in regards to Monday's contest against these Lions, be mindful of Golden Tate. Yes they reigned victorious in week one but the offensive attack is completely one dimensional. Tate mustered ten receptions for one hundred and seven yards. There number two receiver Kenny Golladay shouldn't exactly be losing the Giants defensive staff any sleep.

25.Jacksonville Jaguars:Historically I've been hard on quarterback Blake Bortles but the truth behind Jacksonville's week one romp over Houston aside from the Texans laundry list of injuries was the rookie running back exploits of Leonard Fournette. Fournette joins a collection of rookie tailbacks with Dalvin Cook and Kareem Hunt that has this running back class comparable to the 2014 rookie receiver class.

26.New Orleans Saints:Was Adrian Peterson barking post-game dinner plans to Head Coach Sean Payton? If he was then I hope a reservation at the  local Marcello's was taken care of as if it was a remark regarding his on field usage then he has no one to blame but himself. You sign in a locale that already employs Mark Ingram and you expect to be handed playoff time?? Give me  a break!

27.Miami Dolphins-What did Dolphins owner Stephen Ross do to piss off the league schedule makers? The Hurricane wiped out their opener versus the Buccaneers which is out of everyone's control however for the league to not extend an olive branch by perhaps re locating their originally scheduled game in the U.K is added punishment to what already appears destined for a long year.

28.San Francisco 49ers:I'll go on record by opining that when healthy Carlos Hyde is a top ten running back in the NFL. The issue becomes because the 49'ers seem to find themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard early in contests,it limits his effectiveness.Imagine Hyde on a team such as the Giants or Seahawks where he could be more of a valued asset.

29.Los Angeles Chargers:The San Diego, er...Los Angeles Chargers have plenty of deficiencies to go around the lineup but I will admit after watching the majority of the Monday Night that the offensive line is vastly improved which bodes well for former Wisconsin Badger Melvin Gordon who accumulated 997 yards last year and I'm confident will expand on that total. In 2015, his rookie season I was left wondering if he was trending in the direction of a Ron Dayne and now.....pro bowls are in the immediate vicinity.

30.Indianapolis Colts:Tough last couple weeks for the Colts administration. First news breaks that franchise quarterback Andrew Luck is lost for an extended period of time and compounding the disastrous start the usually reliable Adam Vinatieri has lost his golden touch kicking. This has Colts fans chanting for the individual Peyton Manning once coined that "idiot kicker", Mike Vanderjagt.

31.Chicago Bears:Mike Glennon is a hell of an underrated quarterback, so with that you're asking yourself, "if he thinks Glennon is a competent quarterback then how are the Bears seeded 31st in this first edition of the power rankings"? My thoughts on Glennon notwithstanding, poor roster management across the board has proverbially eliminated 'da Bears from playoff contention as it was counter productive by losing assets to trade up to the 2nd overall selection to grab Mitch Trubisky.

32.New York Jets:I was convinced the Bears were the worst team in the NFL, that was until I was privy to the J-E-T-S lay a stinker in week one. No quarterback, no running game and Seahawk castoff Jermaine Kearse as the top receiver on the depth chart? Paging Wayne Chrebet immediately!

Monday, September 11, 2017

2017/2018 Western Hockey League Individual Award Nominees/League Winners

In conjunction with the league preview I just finished, I will now distribute some of the major awards for this upcoming season. The format I'll use is as follows: For each respective club, I'll nominate  their player of the year candidate, top forward because even though it's not an officially recognized award in some cases the player of the year and top defenceman will be one of the same, top defenceman, and top rookie. Once that is concluded, I will announce my conference finalists for each award while adding my observations for who I surmise will land the conference's top goalie and coach honours. A subjective entry yes but one I'm looking forward to penning. The teams will be listed alphabetically.

Brandon Wheat Kings:

Player of the Year: Kale Clague(Lloydminster,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Clague*

Top Forward:Connor Gutenberg(Brandon,Manitoba)

Top Rookie: Ben McCartney(Portage,Manitoba)

Calgary Hitmen:

Player of the Year:Jake Bean(Calgary,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Bean*

Top Forward: Matteo Gennaro(St.Albert,Alberta)

Top Rookie: Jackson Van de Leest(Kelowna,British Columbia)

Edmonton Oil Kings:

Player of the Year:Will Warm(West Vancouver,British Columbia)

Top Defenceman:Warm*

Top Forward:Davis Koch(Surrey,British Columbia)

Top Rookie:Jayden Platz(St.Albert,Alberta)

Everett Silvertips:

Player of the Year:Carter Hart(Sherwood Park,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Kevin Davis(Kamloops,British Columbia)

Top Forward:Connor Dewar(The Pas,Manitoba)

Top Rookie:Gianni Fairbrother(North Vancouver,British Columbia)

Kamloops Blazers:

Player of the Year:Garrett Pilon(Saskatoon,Saskatchewan)

Top Defenceman: Luka Zazula(Langley,British Columbia)

Top Forward:Pilon*

Top Rookie:Tylor Ludwar(Regina,Saskatchewan)

Kelowna Rockets:

Player of the Year:Dillon Dube(Golden,British Columbia)

Top Defenceman: Cal Foote(Englewood,Colorado)

Top Forward:Dube*

Top Rookie:Libor Zabransky(Brno,Czech Republic)

Kootenay Ice:

Player of the Year:Vince Loschavio(Winnipeg,Manitoba)

Top Defenceman:Cale Fleury(Calgary,Alberta)

Top Forward:Loschavio*

Top Rookie:Gilian Kohler(Biel,Switzerland)

Lethbridge Hurricanes:

Player of the Year:Giorgio Estephan(Edmonton,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Calen Addison(Brandon,Manitoba)

Top Forward:Estephan*

Top Rookie:Dylan Cozens(Whitehorse,Yukon)

Medicine Hat Tigers:

Player of the Year:Jordan Hollett(Langley,British Columbia)

Top Forward:Max Gerlach(Burnsville,Minnesota)

Top Defenceman:David  Quenneville(Edmonton,Alberta)

Top Rookie:Josh Williams(Langley,British Columbia)

Moose Jaw Warriors:

Player of the Year:Jayden Halbegwachs(Emerald Park,Saskatchewan)

Top Forward:Halbgewachs*

Top Defenceman:Josh Brook(Roblin,Manitoba)

Top Rookie:Brayden Tracey(Calgary,Alberta)

Portland Winterhawks:

Player of the Year:Cody Glass(Winnipeg,Manitoba)

Top Forward:Glass*

Top Defenceman:Henri Jokiharju(Oulu,Finland)

Top Rookie:Clay Hanus(Minnetonka,Minnesota)

Prince Albert Raiders:

Player of the Year:Vojtech Budik(Holice,Czech Republic)

Top Forward:Spencer Moe(Calgary,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Budik*

Top Rookie:Rhett Rhinehart(Lloydminster,Alberta)

Prince George Cougars:

Player of the Year:Nikita Popugayev(Moksva,Russia)

Top Forward:Popugayev*

Top Defenceman:Josh Anderson(Duncan,British Columbia)

Top Rookie:Reid Perepeluk(Yorkton,Saskatchewan)

Red Deer Rebels:

Player of the Year:Lane Zablocki(Wetaskiwin,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Alexander Alexeyev(St.Petersburg,Russia)

Top Forward:Zablocki*

Top Rookie:Chris Douglas(Richmond,British Columbia)

Regina Pats:

Player of the Year:Sam Steel(Edmonton,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Josh Mahura(St.Albert,Alberta)

Top Forward:Steel*

Top Rookie:Logan Nijhoff(Comox Valley,British Columbia)

Saskatoon Blades:

Player of the Year:Braylon Shmyr(Calgary,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Libor Hajek(Smrcek,Czech Republic)

Top Forward:Shmyr*

Top Rookie:Kirby Dach(Fort Saskatchewan,Alberta)

Seattle Thunderbirds:

Player of the Year:Turner Ottenbreit(Yorkton,Saskatchewan)

Top Forward:Matthew Wedman(Edmonton,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Ottenbreit*

Top Rookie:Connor Pyne(White City,Saskatchewan)

Spokane Chiefs:

Player of the Year:Kailer Yamamoto(Spokane,Washington)

Top Forward:Yamamoto*

Top Defenceman:Ty Smith(Lloydminster,Alberta)

Top Rookie:Milos Fafrak(Martin,Slovakia)

Swift Current Broncos:

Player of the Year:Tyler Steenbergen(Sylvan Lake,Alberta)

Top Forward:Steenbergen*

Top Defenceman:Sahvan Khaira(Surrey,British Columbia)

Top Rookie:Logan Barlage(Humboldt,Saskatchewan)

Tri-City Americans:

Player of the Year:Juuso Valimaki(Nokia,Finland)

Top Forward:Michael Rasmussen(Surrey,British Columbia)

Top Defenceman:Valimaki*

Top Rookie:Sasha Mutala(Vancouver,British Columbia)

Vancouver Giants:

Player of the Year:Dylan Plouffe(Sherwood Park,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Plouffe*

Top Forward:Tyler Benson(Edmonton,Alberta)

Top Rookie:Tyler Ho(North Vancouver,British Columbia)

Victoria Royals:

Player of the Year:Matthew Phillips(Calgary,Alberta)

Top Defenceman:Ralph Jarratt(Fort St.John,British Columbia)

Top Forward:Phillips*

Top Rookie:Tarun Fizer(Chestermere,Alberta)


Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy(Rookie of the Year)

East:Logan Barlage-Swift Current Broncos

West:Sasha Mutala-Tri-City Americans


Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy(Coach of the Year)

East:Tim Hunter-Moose Jaw Warriors

West:Jason Smith-Kelowna Rockets


Bob Clarke Trophy(Top League Scorer)

WINNER:Jayden Halbgewachs-Moose Jaw Warriors

Del Wilson Memorial Trophy(Top Goaltender)

East:Jordan Hollett-Medicine Hat Tigers

West:Griffin Outhouse-Victoria Royals


Bill Hunter Trophy(Top Defenceman)

East:Jake Bean-Calgary Hitmen

West:Juuso Valimaki-Tri-City Americans


Four Broncos Memorial Trophy(Player of the Year)

East:Sam Steel-Regina Pats

West:Dillon Dube-Kelowna Rockets


2017-2018 Western Hockey League Preview(Team 1)

1.Regina Pats:After perusing throughout this entire season preview, some may cite  personal biases that I've ranked my hometown Regina Pats number one entering the year. Let me clarify, as we currently stand the Regina Pats are nowhere near the team to beat on paper but as I've emphasized on a few occasions this season preview was intended as a projection and it's inevitable after General Manager and Head Coach John Paddock makes his significant acquisitions that the Pats will be positioned to one up their final appearance from a year ago. I see first hand how this organization operates on ice and the direction this team has taken leading up to it's hosting of the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup and it's not without it's fair share of criticism.  The imports brought over for 2017-2018 aren't nearly as prominent as they were when Filip Ahl and Sergei Zborovsky graced the Red White and Blue and to this day remain skeptical over the decision to exchange the most intriguing trade asset they possessed in eighteen year old goaltender Jordan Hollett for an overage forward I'm a fan of the hockey club so naturally want to see successes and as Paddock continues to look to bolster the roster those successes will come but don't mistake it for naiveness, the deficiencies are staggering and will need to be addressed. If not, it's a wasted forgettable year but if they honour their "all in" public persona then I rate their chances of hoisting two trophies in May quite good.

The eloquence and pure dominance Sam Steel displayed last year can't be overstated. When summarizing the year of Steel, almost everyone will point to his one hundred and thirty one point regular season that rewarded him with the league's Most Valuable Player honor but what this blogger left most impressed with was how Steel elevated his game over the course of the post-season that saw the St.Patricias decimated by key injuries. It was public knowledge that starting with the conference semi-final that the injury count was growing high and it was a lot of core players that were sent to the sidelines, particular past captain Adam Brooks who had two different bouts of injuries and speedster Austin Wagner who battled through the league final on a bum shoulder. It was Sam who was a rock out on the ice,often times having to double shift to make up for those aforementioned depth defencicies stemming from trips to the I.R. John Paddock at select moments throughout the playoffs admitted that the short bench that was being rolled out took a toll on Sam and wore  down but through it all he exuded resilience and finished the post-season second only behind current Vegas Golden Knight Keegan Kolesar. He's small in stature but don't let his diminuitive frame fool ya, he's a nuisance out on the ice, never takes a shift off and battles and more than not wins puck battles allowing him to work his magic with the puck. His linemates last year were the now graduated Dawson Leedahl and Nick Henry but with Henry slated to miss the entire first half with an ailment, it'll be up to the coaching staff to supply #23 with linemates who can finish playoffs because at his core he's a playmaker first, goal scorer second. It's indeterminate how long a stay he'll receive at Anaheim Duck camp, one can hope it's not a lengthy visit but it's presumed when he's back he'll be encompassed by little known George King and new import Emil Oksanen which bluntly isn't good enough which as I previewed in the opening leads me to my next gripe, the suspect imports brought over. In a Memorial Cup year they recruited two non NHL drafted players as projects when if any year wasn't a year for development, 2017-2018 would be it! I thought to myself, "this can't be normal for Memorial Cup hosts to not attract established Europeans" and to ensure my line of thinking had merit, I've closely looked at the rosters of the last five Memorial Cup hosts.The Windsor Spitfires welcomed Duck second rounder Julius Nattinen on board. 2015-2016 saw the Red Deer Rebels lure Jet pick Michael Spacek.  2014-2015 saw Quebec pluck Leafs fifth rounder Dmytro Timashov with the Knights laying claim to future NHL all-star Nikita Zadorov the year before. Finally, the year before that in 2011-2012 the Shawinigan Cataractes were able to convince the polarizing one time Penguins pick Anton Zlobin to come over to North America. Lot's of examples to justify the frustration but do you not see the disconnect? Somewhere along the line the Pats management became oblivous to the notion that a high impact Euro needed to be selected to enhance this year's lineup. With all due respect to Oksanen who by the way was passed  over in the NHL Draft and defenceman Igor Zamula, they don't belong in the same ballpark of those mentioned above and all it's done is require for a needless asset to be wasted via trade if one of the two can't cut it. From limited viewings realistically Oksanen could find a home on a third line whereas I have greater reservations over the Russian Zamula having the propensity to play Major Junior Hockey. The drafting strategy left me perplexed but in all reality doesn't alter the mantra that multiple trades must be consummated to stretch out this season as long as possible.One name that I perceive as  a target for Regina is Spokane Chief Kailer Yamamoto. Spokane with inconsistent goaltending and a general lack of depth would be wise to restock their cupboards and what better way then to place Yamamoto on the open market.  You're wondering, I know I was and that's who after exhausting their entire prospect pool in the Josh Mahura deal what does  Regina have left to entice Spokane to such a trade? I may have exaggerated with the entire prospect pool however it sure felt like it but one name that is rising up hockey notoriety still with the Regina Pats  is  Logan Nijhoff. Logan was an eighth round Bantam pick but his ascension through the eyes of Western Canadian scouts has been astronomical. Long time readers of this blog, in other words no one would know that from a young age before he began to gain any headway amongst scouts I was endorsing the worth of Austin Wagner and I'm choosing to offer up the same recognition towards Nijhoff. At sixteen he's already listed at 6'0 and skates like the wind. If I was Chiefs General Manager Scott Carter I know the inclusion of Nijhoff would be a starting point in negotiations. I will go as far as to suggest, and this may sound outlandish but given the right furbishing Nijhoff will be a first round pick in the 2019 NHL draft.

If you haven't noticed by now a large part of the Regina Pat story orbits around trades and theme will be continued in the defensive synopsis. On January 2nd,2015, Paddock in his first year under the helm set the re-tooling in motion by trading sniper Morgan Klimchuk to the Brandon Wheat Kings for a young Jesse Gabrielle. Brandon at the time was in the precipus of their two year run which saw the Wheaties reach consecutive finals.Aside from the fact that Gabrielle turned into Lane Zablocki who later became Josh Mahura it's always been believed that John and staff patted the back of Wheat King management and a return of favour would come in due course.  This is  a 'professionally' run league and collusion isn't accepted and I'm not insinuating that the Wheat King formally owe Regina anything however with the shoe on the other foot Regina is geared for a run with Brandon entering a rebuild phase, a part of you wonders if the Wheat Kings will look to package Kale Clague at a discounted rate. Away from that and the primary reason I chose to include the name of Clague is because many in the know have matched Clague to the Pats as a possible destination. Clague who I already glamoured over in the Wheat Kings preview is a premier defenceman destined for a second straight World Junior Hockey Championship but it's arguable he's the type of skillet they should be coveting. Barring injuries the top four includes Josh Mahura, Dawson Davidson, Jonathan Smart and Liam Schioler. Three of which are smaller offensive minded defenceman that think the game a similar way as Kale and a more pressing need is adding truculence to the back-end. Schioler I felt was the Pats most improved defenceman as the year proceeded. He plays a basic steady brand that's compounded by taking zero risks. I commend those that rely on a simplistic structure but when you're too passive out on the ice problems begin to arise.Junior hockey is built around speed and while the Winnipeg native will never get caught out of position, he concedes too much room for the forwards and the more game planning opposing coaches conduct the more they will encourage their forwards to step up and pinch because they know Liam will never jump up in an attempt to keep the puck in. He plays a tenacious game in his own end but where it would be advised for the coaching staff to work with him is addressing his trepidness of engaging the opposition quicker and making his presence known. With confidence comes bravado and the hope from the administration is another year under his belt will boost that inner confidence. Normally I would advocate allowing Schioler to maintain a top four assignment and refine his puck skills but as repeated several times this 2017-2018 season is no ordinary year for the Regina Pats.  Locating a veteran who can play a brute game such as Liam but can pair that with competence with the rubber is a top priority.This entire season preview has enabled me to closely examine each roster and after ranking the teams the way I chose to, differentiating the player who could be available from those who won't has become a slightly easier task. A name that check all the boxes in my humble opinion is Kootenay Ice Cale Fleury. I know I'm not the first pendant to suggest Fleury as a possible fit to Regina but his defensive awareness is first class where he could fulfill a top unit penalty killing role. Additionally by accumulating seventy six career points he wouldn't feel out of place under Paddock's systems as John is renowned for preaching quick puck movement.Jonathan Smart as indicated is pencilled in a premature top four but given his physical immaturity perhaps you look at moving him if he's not prepared to accept a third line pairing and in essence could develop chemistry between Schioler and Fleury. My impecccable would be Fleury, Mahura, Davidson,Schioler, Parker Gavlas and if you want to throw in Kale Clague I wouldn't ask for a return address!

To elaborate on what I meant when I suggested our most intriguing trade piece was unnecessarily sent away for a twenty year old in Matt Bradley from Medicine Hat I'll start by saying that I take no issue with Hollett being traded, in fact I credit Paddock and staff for honourably providing Jordan Hollett a chance to play every day. He was just drafted by the Ottawa Senators and needs to prove to the Sens that he selection was justified. Unfortunately when the off-season started the Pats didn't have a better asset to  part with. I spoke of Yamamoto or really any other Western Hockey League superstar and it would've increased the odds of landing said player if Jordan were being dangled. Nothing against Bradley as I appreciate the intangibles he brings with him but I would've never cosigned dealing away a drafted, eighteen year old and former first round bantam pick for him. Hollett's absence means for a third full season Tyler Brown will be taxed with backstopping the Regina Pats in the Memorial Cup and judging from the ranking am expecting a deep playoff run en route to the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Not always the prettiest, Tyler's athleticism is his calling card. He has an outstanding glove hand with a reputation to at times get down too early leaving the top portion of the net open. That technical goaltender analysis while likely unfounded is what's come to my attention the last couple of seasons. In truth, this will be a cornerstone year for the Regina Pat organization. The last time one existed the infamous  Chad Davidson nearly pulled off the improbable by losing a gut wrenching Memorial Cup semi-final against the Val'dor Foreur. Will Brown be served a better fate when going up against Ontario and Quebec's finest? Time will tell.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

2017-2018 Western Hockey League Preview(Team 2)

2.Tri-City Americans: As this season preview begins to wind down, it's donned upon me that I've been extremely adulatory towards the 2016 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. It has the making to be a historically dominant draft class. In the  past experts have glowed over the 2003 National Hockey League Draft and how it's viewed as generational but within WHL circles, this 2001 born crop I believe will be looked back with great prestige. From Logan Barlage to Peyton Krebs, Americans future franchise Sasha Mutala deserves equal praise as being someone who is definitely in the frey for rookie of the year consideration. Full marks go out to governor Bob Tory as his drafting/scouting expertise has earmarked Tri-City as one of this year's league favourites and it's part of the reason the Americans are the model of consistency year after year.

One of a few reasons why Tri-City won the coinflip over Portland in these rankings was because of team depth. This certainly rings true when assessing the forwards. One through twelve there's truly not a weakness throughout the lineup.  I'm okay admitting that prior to the 2016-2017 my knowledge towards Ams playmaker Kyle Olson was obsolete but he's now just one of many reasons I'm picking the Americans to the final(and this bodes well for Ams brass as I've correctly predicted the last two finals pre-season).His ascension up the scoring ladder last goes to show what a little confidence can do for a player as in his rookie 2015/2016 campaign the Calgary born and bred Olson had a forgotten ten points and there had to be some within the Americans hockey administration that were doubting if Olson would even secure a spot on the team at all this year. He made the team and ran with the opportunity so much so that the Anaheim Ducks welcomed him to California with a fourth selection. Not a stat that is likely kept but there can't be too many examples of a player like Kyle who puts up such finite statistics one year to the following year going as high as the fourth round in the NHL. Incredible, the ultimate rags to riches story! The other reason why I'm now a proponent of Kyle may come off as peculiar but the penalty minute count signifies a no holds barred approach to the game. Players that slowly work their way through the lineup but lack the credentials don't normally condone themselves with such a tenacity but that was the opposite with Kyle as he refused to play tentative . Fifty two penalty minutes is not the first thing you want to highlight on the resume but you won't find many other players risking drawing the ire of their head coach but a player with that character I'd take any day of the week over someone that plays timid and is just playing to see another shift. The on ice attitude displayed by Kyle is something governing general Bob Tory in an exclusive interview on dubnetwork.ca that he emphasizes character and does extensive research before bringing over a player to Kennewick. Kyle epitomizes everything that Tory has facilitated to make this organization a competitive and respected franchise year after year. While Olson will be tasked with maintaining his output from a year ago, he's not the only American that rose of stardom from general obscurity last year as leading scorer Morgan Geekie had a sixty five point increase. A lot of the praise for the remarkable development from a player such as Morgan has to be steered in the direction of Mike Williamson. Another take away from that aforementioned interview was how few coaches Bob has had to hire and by result of it's allowed the coaching staff to become familiar with it's kids and can teach and implement systems that the parents and players know won't have to relearned each year, it's very replicable. Mike was hired prior to the 2014-2015 season coming over from the Calgary Hitmen and would've arrived entering the fold. Here in Regina we've been privy to what John Paddock has been able to do by monitoring the progress  of Sam Steel and Austin Wagner, players that were beginning their careers in Regina with Paddock and both have paved out exceptional careers. From an American angle, these two were thrown in the proverbial fire at the same time and the patience Mike showed Morgan early in his career that hard work and perserverance were necessary to reach the pinnacle he's at now. I remember watching a couple games, probably in that rookie 2015-2016 season of his which saw him play a full regulsr season and I recall internally opining that Morgan may cap out as a defensive minded forward, I wasn't seeing someone who down the road was going to have the skill level to net thirty five goals, nowhere close. It's not always pretty with him but he's visibly a hard worker and definitely leads by example. Geekie has been a positive influence for Detroit Red Wing first rounder Michael Rasmussen from the sense that they've went about it from different ways and it's taught Rasmussen that being persistent on the forecheck is an absolute necessity because in junior hockey creating your own offence is half the battle. Morgan along with surely the rest of Williamson's troops are envious of the cannon Rasmussen owns. It was once said, no idea by who that there's never been a nice goal Michael has scored which in a roundabout way a positive connotation. He's been a can't miss kid his entire life and has never had trouble lighting the lamp so instead of sitting in the perimeter and channeling his inner Brett Hull, the presence of Geekie has rubbed off on him because he now drives the net and cashes in on greasy rebounds.Morgan's contributions go well beyond the scoresheet so thank goodness Morgan made the decision he did to pursue hockey unlike his younger brother, Calgary Hitmen prospect Noah who coming off a Canada Summer games appearance in Baseball has put hockey on the backburner. American administration are thankful.

The Ams defence is currently undergoing a European invasion of sorts. Star defenceman Juuso Valimaki has now left to Calgary Flames camp which leaves Roman Kalinichenko and Sergei Sapego still in Kennewick presumably fighting for one position. Muddling things even further is the inclusion of Russian forward Vladislav Lukin who reported to camp. On the topic of Lukin, I'm hearing conflicting reports that Lukin has desired to play his overage season in Major Junior but additionally hearing contrasting news that he's set to join a Russian team in the VHL but whichever report is true it's likely a moot point for Tri-City as with Maxwell James, Jordan Topping and newly brought in goaltender Patrick Dea, theirs simply not a spot on this roster for Vladislav which is unfortunate as parting ways with a twenty six goal scorer is always a tough pill to swallow. To finish on the Lukin front, IF he chooses to stay in Canada and the WHL, the only true fit that I foresee that could use an overage/European upgrade could MAYBE be the Spokane Chiefs but even that's a stretch. So the real battle commences amongst Kalinichenko and Sapego....or does it? Juuso Valimaki who I earlier mentioned is with the Calgary Flames and when interviewed by the Calgary Sun he implicitly said that he hopes he's left junior hockey behind and can make the Flames this year. Would the Flames actually disregard the long term development of the eighteen year old Valimaki to rush him into a lineup that currently constructed the argument could be made the Cleveland Browns are closer to winning a championship then Calgary? That was in a tongue in cheek terrible joke as I happen to like the prospects of the Flames heading into this winter but don't  pull a former Chilliwack Bruin Roman Horak of 2011-2012 and rush him into the NHL needlessly when he's not quite ready to contribute. I know NHL General Managers will say all the time that they put no stock into what type of direction their prospects junior team is in(try telling that to the Prince Albert Raiders re Leon Draisatl) but with Juuso the advantages are endless through keeping him in the Tri state one more year. The team itself is set to make a real run at the Ed Chynoweth cup, he in all likelihood will anchor Finland's defence core at the upcoming World Junior Championship and he can spend the season continuing to work under the guidance of Williamson as the offensive side of things are down pact, there are definitely a few defensive positioning attributes that need refinement before Calgary can safely insert the Fin in their nucleus. Juuso may want to take up residence in Cow town but once he returns and re-discovers the winning atmosphere established, the expected immediate sorrows will quickly be put to rest. And I'm definitely not just saying that because I don't want to see my streak of correctly predicting finals come to end, it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that no Juuso would put a dagger in those plans.  I spoke to a small criticism of Juuso's game and that was his momentary lapses in his own zone resulting in opposing quick strike offence but it wouldn't be fair to solely fault Valimaki for this as for a team that notoriously struggled with the penalty kill last season, more defensive cognizance will be required collectively. I've been awfully positive throughout this entire Ams synopsis but the player I need to see growth out of is Dakota Krebs. Dakota is more then capable of upping his performance level and I would imagine with little brother, Kootenay Ice first overall selection Peyton set to make his Major Junior debut it will force Dakota to ensure he's not the forgotten Krebs in the strong hockey family lineage. The elder Krebs even making the WHL is a feat of it's own and has defied the odds due to the fact that he went undrafted and was listed by Tri-City in September of 2014.The departure of Parker Wotherspoon has left a gaping hole in the lineup and players such as Krebs and Seth Bafaro to fill the shoes and provide Valimaki and Daniel Gatenby some running mates on the top pairings. I could go into detail over how Bafaro was one of the draft steals in 2015 getting plucked in the third round but staying on the subject of Dakota I fully believe he can still transform into a top four defenceman entering his eighteen year old season.  What concerned me last year and I know on numerous occasions I've outlined my feelings towards the merit of the plus/minus category so I apologize for being repetitive but for a 41-28 hockey club, skating to a -21 statistical anomaly is unacceptable and Williamson needs to harp on simplification. Dakota must be clamouring at the bit knowing that if he has a successful first quarter of the season then management won't be forced to make any rash acquisitions and can sustain a permanent top four role. If not, another defenceman will have to be brought in because they can't afford to let this season pass them by. The likes of Jake Bean and Kale Clague could be available but it's never ideal for Bob Tory to delve deep in the farm system to make these trades  work.  The maturation of the Okotoks, Alberta product could prevent major headaches for all involved.

To the surprise of many, former Edmonton Oil King Patrick Dea was invited to camp to compete for the starters position. Former incumbent Evan Sarthou elected to walk away to pursue post secondary options and by virtue of this they felt it wasn't fair to have to rely on an unproven eighteen year old in Beck Warm, so a veteran presence by way of Dea provides a security blanket. This is fairly reminscint of the Seattle Thunderbirds when last fall they acquired veteran Rylan Toth from Red Deer Rebels to be that glue on a championship calibre club. Ironically or with how the plight of Carl Stankowski took course some might say fortunately Toth was lost for the season midway through and as the playoffs approached the unheralded sixteen year old sensation Stankowski took over and the organization didn't miss a beat. Was Toth around during the playoff chase imparting wisdom on Carl because keep in mind Rylan had the Memorial Cup experience from the year before to lean on, I'm not exactly sure but if Patrick can provide paralled tutelage towards the pencilled in 2018-2019 starter Warm, then it's plausible this team could enjoy a special two year run. I expect to see the Americans in Regina for the Memorial Cup after you decipher which team I have ranked at the top but with someone that has the potential of Beck, a 2019 Memorial Cup jaunt may not be too far off.