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2019-20 CHL Season Preview Series: WHL’s East Division

 

Day 10 of a 12-day coast-to-coast series previewing the 2019-20 Canadian Hockey League season features the Western Hockey League’s East Division:

Brandon Wheat Kings

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 53-11-4-4, 114 Points (1st in East Division)
2015-16: 48-18-4-2, 102 Points (1st in East Division) ▼
2016-17: 31-31-7-3, 72 Points (4th in East Division) ▼
2017-18: 40-27-3-2, 85 Points (4th in East Division) ▲
2018-19: 31-29-4-4, 70 Points (4th in East Division) ▼

Best Playoff Result: 2016 – Won 4-1 vs. Seattle in Ed Chynoweth Cup Final

Need to Know

Head Coach: Dave Lowry, 1st Season
2018 Bantam Draft (Top Pick): 1/15 (RW) Jake Chiasson (Yale H.A. Bntm Prep)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/22 (LW) Marcus Kallionkieli (Sioux City Musketeers)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (D) Braydyn Chizen, (C) Stelio Mattheos (Carolina), (LW) Linden McCorrister
NHL Prospects: (C) Luka Burzan (Colorado, 6/171, 2019), (LW) Marcus Kallionkieli (Vegas, 5/139, 2019), (G) Jiri Patera (Vegas, 6/161, 2017)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (C) Luka Burzan
On the Horizon: (D) Braden Schneider

Only a handful of players found the back of the net last season more often than Luka Burzan, who after potting 40 goals returns to the Wheat Kings for 2019-20 where he will once again be positioned in a primary scoring role. That’s good news for Braden Schneider, a 2020 NHL Draft hopeful and effective puck mover who put up eight goals and 16 assists in his sophomore campaign.

Moose Jaw Warriors

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 32-35-4-1, 69 Points (4th in East Division)
2015-16: 36-27-7-2, 81 Points (3rd in East Division) ▲
2016-17: 42-21-8-1, 93 Points (2nd in East Division) ▲
2017-18: 52-15-2-3, 109 Points (1st in East Division) ▲
2018-19: 40-20-6-2, 88 Points (3rd in East Division) ▼

Best Playoff Result: 2018 – Lost 4-3 vs. Swift Current in Round 2

Need to Know

Head Coach: Tim Hunter, 6th Season
2018 Bantam Draft (Top Pick): 1/22 (LW) Eric Alarie (Rink H.A. Nationals Bntm Prep)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/46 (G) Jesper Wallstedt (Lulea HF J18E)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (C) Justin Almeida (Pittsburgh), (D) Josh Brook (Montreal), (D) Dalton Hamaliuk, (LW) Tristin Langan, (G) Brodan Salmond
NHL Prospects: (LW) Brayden Tracey (Anaheim, 1/29, 2019)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (LW) Brayden Tracey
On the Horizon: (D) Daemon Hunt

After leading all WHL rookies last season with 81 points, budding scorer and Anaheim Ducks prospect Brayden Tracey returns to the Warriors where he will be looked to lead the team offensively following some key departures to the forward ranks. On the blue line, Moose Jaw has a promising up-and-coming defender in 17-year-old Daemon Hunt, a 2020 NHL Draft eligible who tallied 20 points in 57 appearances with the club last season.

Prince Albert Raiders

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 31-37-2-2, 66 Points (5th in East Division)
2015-16: 38-26-7-1, 84 Points (2nd in East Division) ▲
2016-17: 21-44-5-2, 49 Points (6th in East Division) ▼
2017-18: 32-27-9-4, 77 Points (5th in East Division) ▲
2018-19: 54-10-2-2, 112 Points (1st in East Division) ▲

Best Playoff Result: 2019 – Won 4-3 vs. Vancouver in Ed Chynoweth Cup Final

Need to Know

Head Coach: Marc Habscheid, 5th Season
2018 Bantam Draft (Top Pick): 1/3 (D) Nolan Allan (Humboldt Broncos BAA)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/60 (C) Ivan Kechkin (Moscow Rus U18)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (C) Noah Gregor (San Jose), (C) Dante Hannoun, (C) Parker Kelly (Ottawa), (C) Sean Montgomery, (G) Ian Scott (Toronto)
NHL Prospects: (LW) Cole Fonstad (Montreal, 5/128, 2018), (C) Aliaksei Protas (Washington, 3/91, 2019)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (C) Aliaksei Protas
On the Horizon: (D) Kaiden Guhle

Key players from last year’s championship squad have since departed, meaning the Raiders will see plenty of turnover this season as the club integrates its younger talent into advanced roles. That group includes 2020 NHL Draft hopeful Kaiden Guhle, a projected early selection who impressed with 17 points in 65 appearances last season before captaining Team Canada Red at this summer’s U17 camp. Up front, returning to Prince Albert is talented forward and Washington Capitals prospect Aliaksei Protas, who made major strides in last year’s postseason when he finished fourth in league-wide scoring with 22 points in 23 games.

Regina Pats

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 37-24-5-6, 85 Points (2nd in East Division)
2015-16: 36-28-3-5, 80 Points (4th in East Division) ▼
2016-17: 52-12-7-1, 112 Points (1st in East Division) ▲
2017-18: 40-25-6-1, 87 Points (3rd in East Division) ▼
2018-19: 19-45-1-3, 42 Points (5th in East Division) ▼

Best Playoff Result: 2017 – Lost 4-2 vs. Seattle in Ed Chynoweth Cup Final

Need to Know

Head Coach: Dave Struch, 2nd Season
2018 Bantam Draft (Top Pick): 4/81 (RW) Jake Snashall (Calgary CBHA Bisons BAAA)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/7 (RW) Danil Gushchin (Muskegon Lumberjacks)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (LW) Brett Clayton, (D) Brady Pouteau, (D) Liam Schioler
NHL Prospects: N/A

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (RW) Austin Pratt
On the Horizon: (RW) Danil Gushchin

After leading the club with 51 points a year ago, scoring forward Austin Pratt is back with the Pats for his overage season where he is expected to once again be a top offensive contributor for the club. Also chipping in on the score sheet will be Russian-born winger Danil Gushchin, Regina’s top selection in this year’s CHL Import Draft who will continue to draw the attention of talent evaluators ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft.

Saskatoon Blades

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 19-49-2-2, 42 Points (6th in East Division)
2015-16: 26-42-4-0, 56 Points (6th in East Division) ▲
2016-17: 28-35-7-2, 65 Points (5th in East Division) ▲
2017-18: 35-33-3-1, 74 Points (6th in East Division) ▲
2018-19: 45-15-8-0, 98 Points (2nd in East Division) ▲

Best Playoff Result: 2019 – Lost 4-2 vs. Prince Albert in Round 2

Need to Know

Head Coach: Mitch Love, 2nd Season
2018 Bantam Draft (Top Pick): 1/6 (LW) Colton Dach (OHA Edmonton Bntm Prep)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/55 (D) Libor Zabransky (Fargo Force)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (D) Dawson Davidson, (RW) Max Gerlach, (D) Brandon Schuldhaus
NHL Prospects: (C) Kirby Dach (Chicago, 1/3, 2019), (C) Eric Florchuk (Washington, 7/217, 2018)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (C) Kirby Dach
On the Horizon: (LW) Colton Dach

It will be a family affair for the Blades this season with Chicago Blackhawks prospect Kirby Dach expected to return to the lineup where he will play alongside younger brother Colton Dach, Saskatoon’s first selection in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. While the elder Dach finished third in team scoring last season with 73 points, the younger impressed in notching 28 points across 32 appearances with the midget Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.

Winnipeg ICE

Last 5 Years

2014-15: 37-31-1-3, 78 Points (4th in Central Division)
2015-16: 12-53-6-1, 31 Points (6th in Central Division) ▼
2016-17: 14-46-10-2, 40 Points (6th in Central Division) ▲
2017-18: 27-38-5-2, 61 Points (4th in Central Division) ▲
2018-19: 13-45-7-3, 36 Points (6th in Central Division) ▼

*The ICE will join the East Division in 2019-20 following a division realignment.

Best Playoff Result: 2015 – Lost 4-3 vs. Calgary in Round 1

Need to Know

Head Coach: James Patrick, 3rd Season
2018 Bantam Draft (Top Pick): 1/2 (D) Carson Lambos (Rink H.A. Nationals Bntm Prep)
2019 CHL Import Draft (Top Pick): 1/4 (RW) Michal Teply (Liberec HV Bili Tygri)
2018-19 Notable Graduates: (D) Martin Bodak, (G) Curtis Meger, (RW) Jaeger White
NHL Prospects: (C) Peyton Krebs (Vegas, 1/17, 2019), (RW) Michal Teply (Chicago, 4/105, 2019)

Players to Watch

Returning Leader: (C) Peyton Krebs
On the Horizon: (RW) Connor McClennon

The ICE will have a refreshed look season, introducing a bevy of younger talents who will surround the club’s top performers including sophomore forward Connor McClennon, who following his second overall selection in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft posted 29 points in 46 games last season. Also expected to be back with Winnipeg is Vegas Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs, whose engaging playing style helped him top the charts last year with 68 points in 64 games.

Last 5 Years: WHL’s East Division

graph_w_east

2019-20 CHL Season Preview Series

Day 1 – WHL’s B.C. Division
Day 2 – OHL’s Central Division
Day 3 – QMJHL’s West Division
Day 4 – WHL’s Central Division
Day 5 – OHL’s Midwest Division
Day 6 – QMJHL’s Maritimes Division
Day 7 – WHL’s U.S. Division
Day 8 – OHL’s East Division
Day 9 – QMJHL’s Central Division

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