2023-24 Season Preview – Regina Pats
The Regina Pats were front and centre in 2022-23 with captain Connor Bedard taking the hockey world by storm. All signs point to this fall marking the start of the post-Bedard era in the Queen City, with a new head coach in Brad Herauf, and new NHL Draft prospects including Tanner Howe ready to make their mark as part of a new-look Pats squad.
Tanner Howe put up 85 points during the 2022-23 season and will be tasked with helping lead the Regina offence this winter. The product of Prince Albert, Sask. has hit double-digits in power-play goals in each of the last two seasons and has 11 game-winning markers to his name. Local product Sam Oremba enters his first full season as a Pat after starting his WHL career with the Seattle Thunderbirds, while Borya Valis offers plenty of offensive ability as he enters his 19-year-old season. Alaskan Braxton Whitehead is an excellent two-way player and will complement Regina’s returning forwards, while Parker Berge and Layton Feist return as the elder statesmen among the Pats’ returning blueliners.
Who’s In And Out
Regina, and the WHL, will surely miss Connor Bedard as he moves on to the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks, but the hope in the Queen City is that his legacy and impact will be felt for seasons to come. Defenceman Stanislav Svozil is also likely to turn pro after making his NHL debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets last spring. The newcomers to Regina include fifth-overall WHL Prospects Draft selection Cole Temple. The Brandonite got into eight games a season ago as a call-up while putting up 58 points in 35 games at the U18 AAA level in Manitoba last winter. Goaltender Ewan Huet, whose father Cristobal patrolled NHL creases with four NHL Clubs and won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, arrives in Regina after being picked in the first round of the 2023 CHL Import Draft.
NHL Draft Prospects
Seemingly at long last, Tanner Howe enters his first year of NHL Draft eligiblity this winter after averaging more than a point-per-game over his 139 regular season outings as a Regina Pat. He’s certain to draw plenty of attention from NHL scouts as the season progresses with 27- and 36-goal seasons already on his resume. Twins Corbin and Jaxsin Vaughan were selected by the Pats with their first two picks in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft and each offer tenacity and physicality as part of their skill set.
PATS BY THE NUMBERS (2022-23):
Team Record: 34-30-3-1 (72 points)
Division Ranking: 4th, East
2023 WHL Playoffs: lost First Round (Saskatoon)
Goals For: 262 (5th)
Goals Against: 277 (19th)
PP (Overall): 26.7% (7th)
PK (Overall): 77.0% (17th)
Leading Scorers: Bedard (71-72-143), Suzdalev (38-48-86), Howe (36-49-85)
Leading Rookie: Suzdalev (38-48-86)
NHL Draft: Bedard (CHI – 2023), Suzdalev (WSH – 2022), Svozil (CBJ – 2021)