2023-24 Season Preview – Red Deer Rebels
The Red Deer Rebels ascended to the top of the Central Division in 2022-23 and this year, the goal is to better their performance from last winter. New head coach Derrick Walser brings championship experience from his previous post in Peterborough, while the Rebels roster returns top-tier talent including Nashville Predators prospect Kalan Lind. Fans in Central Alberta have plenty to look forward to, as the Rebels attempt to summit the WHL mountain.
In each of the past two seasons, the Rebels have had a forward hit the 50-goal mark, and this year Kai Uchacz will be looking to repeat his performance from the 2022-23 campaign. The 20-year-old led Red Deer in scoring with 85 points and is joined by a pair of NHL draftees in a deep Rebels returning core. Forward Kalan Lind was a second-round pick by the Nashville Predators in the 2023 NHL Draft and signed with the Club over the summer, while defenceman Mats Lindgren enters his second season as a Rebel after a career year numbers-wise in 2022-23. Jhett Larson and Frantisek Formanek help form a supporting cast up front, while Jace Weir, Hunter Mayo and Matteo Fabrizi are imposing presences on Red Deer’s blue line.
Who’s In And Out
The Rebels made a pair of moves to acquire veterans over the summer, bringing in defenceman Elias Carmichael and forward Carson Latimer from Kelowna and Wenatchee, respectively. Carmichael played big minutes on the Rockets blue line while Latimer was one of the standouts from the former Winnipeg ICE during the 2023 WHL Championship Series this past May. Defenceman Luke Vlooswyk, Red Deer’s first-round selection in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, joins a defence corps that offers plenty of veteran mentors.
NHL Draft Prospects
The Rebels offer a few intriguing names from the Club’s 2006 class including forward Ollie Josephson, who recently helped Canada win gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. The Victoria, B.C. product is Red Deer’s elder statesmen among his age group in terms of WHL appearances, though defenceman Quentin Bourne, a U.S. Priority Draft selection, was also a full-time Rebel a season ago. New import forward Samuel Drancak is another name to watch as he makes the move to North America this fall.
REBELS BY THE NUMBERS (2022-23):
Team Record: 43-19-3-3 (92 points)
Division Ranking: 1st, Central
2023 WHL Playoffs: lost Second Round (Saskatoon)
Goals For: 248 (T-9th)
Goals Against: 189 (4th)
PP (Overall): 27.1% (6th)
PK (Overall): 81.0% (5th)
Leading Scorers: Uchacz (50-35-85), Grubbe (18-49-67), Isley (30-26-56)
Leading Rookie: Josephson (5-14-19)
NHL Draft: Lind (NSH – 2023), Lindgren (BUF – 2022)