2023-24 Season Preview – Medicine Hat Tigers
The Medicine Hat Tigers found their rhythm over the second half of the 2022-23 WHL season, earning a playoff berth in dramatic fashion after winning only 11 contests the year prior. On the ice, the team is gathering momentum ahead of the 2023-24 campaign; Medicine Hat’s talented young roster adds another key piece to the lineup in former first-overall WHL Prospects Draft selection Gavin McKenna this fall. It’s an exciting time to be a fan in the Gas City, and this year’s Tigers group is ready to attempt their next ascent to the top of the WHL mountain.
The Tigers return almost their entire roster from a season ago including six of the Club’s top eight scorers from the 2022-23 campaign. Forward Oasiz Wiesblatt put up 60 points a season ago as an 18-year-old and is primed to again lead the charge offensively alongside the likes of Andrew Basha, Cayden Lindstrom and Tyler MacKenzie. On the blue line, veteran Dru Krebs returns for his 20-year-old season after setting a career best with 41 points in 2022-23. Fellow 20-year-old Beckett Langkow led the Tigers with 53 appearances between the pipes a season ago, setting a new career high with 25 wins.
Who’s In And Out
Gavin McKenna is the headliner among Medicine Hat’s new crop of skaters. The product of Whitehorse, Yukon made waves last winter at the Canada Winter Games while representing his territory, and as a 15-year-old call-up was named WHL Rookie of the Month this past March. McKenna, who collected 18 points in 16 regular season games in 2022-23, is joined by fellow first-round pick Hayden Harsanyi, who got into four games as a 15-year-old a season ago. CHL Import Draft selection Bruno Petrovics is set to follow in the footsteps of fellow Latvian Bogdans Hodass, who was a staple on the Medicine Hat blue line over the past two seasons.
NHL Draft Prospects
The Tigers could be well-represented at the 2024 NHL Draft, with a trio of key forwards set to lead the charge among the Club’s Draft-eligible contingent of players. Andrew Basha enters his first year of NHL Draft eligibility having scored 20 goals a season ago as a 17-year-old, while both Cayden Lindstrom and Tomas Mrsic are set to build on strong rookie campaigns this fall. Lindstrom was part of the Canadian squad that captured the gold medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August; he was named the Central Division Rookie of the Year this past spring after finishing fourth among Medicine Hat’s leading point-getters with 19 goals and 23 assists.
TIGERS BY THE NUMBERS (2022-23):
Team Record: 30-29-8-1 (69 points)
Division Ranking: 4th, Central
2023 WHL Playoffs: lost First Round (Winnipeg)
Goals For: 248 (T-9th)
Goals Against: 224 (T-8th)
PP (Overall): 18.9% (18th)
PK (Overall): 73.9% (19th)
Leading Scorers: Wiesblatt (26-34-60), Lee (32-27-59), Basha (20-36-56)
Leading Rookie: Lindstrom (19-23-42)
NHL Draft: none