Kelowna 2020 Memorial Cup Host

Discussion in 'WHL' started by RoundJohn, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. RoundJohn

    RoundJohn Registered User

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    How bare will the cupboard be when the Rockets have to empty it to bolster a lineup that wasn't even capable of making the playoffs this year?

    2013 - Saskatoon's lineup was not good enough.
    2016 - Red Deer same story.
    2018 - Regina iced a more competitive team.
    2020 - Kelowna. Time will tell, right now doesn't look good.

    Isn't the potential host teams lineups evaluated when they apply to be host? Thought that was the case? If so that evaluation process needs to be looked at, if the Rockets are another weak team, that'll be three of the last four hosts.
     
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  2. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Why do I get the feeling that (1) the answer is "yes," and (2) this pattern is deliberate?
     
  3. Juniorhockeyguru

    Juniorhockeyguru Registered User

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    Yeesh they are going to have to empty it, because this season they were not good. And besides that top line, who else do they have? Over the years they always had a crop of guys that were ready to go once others graduated, next season besides MAYBE Lewinski, who?
     
  4. dmortens

    dmortens Registered User

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    So I've put a lot of thought into this cause, as a Rockets fan, it would be tough to see a bad lineup put out there for the Memorial cup after so many years of success.

    One of the biggest thing to realize is that this team (barring something very surprising) will return every single forward from this season. Mattson and Topping will be two of the leagues premier 20 year olds. Both were around a point per game this year and I wouldn't be surprised if they were to push 90-100 points next year. Nolan Foote had 36 goals and will be 19 next year. Barring injury and potential invite to team Canada's WJC camp he could realistically hit 50 next year. Obviously, beyond that it gets interesting. I think the first couple weeks of next season will be very important to determining how much Hamilton will have to deal. This year the major downfall of this team was the forwards who were unable to improve upon their previous season. Kindree, Gardiner, Bruggen-Cate, Farren, Brennan, and Cowell all had either very little improvement or a decrease in scoring from the previous season. Erik Gardiner struggled and had to retire early due to injury. Cowell struggled, ended up traded, and left the WHL all together. Zablocki and Bowen did not pan out up front as 20 year olds. So essentially what I'm trying to say is that this can't happen again. Bruggen-Cate, Brennan, Farren and less so Kindree NEED to show signs of improvement early or there will need to be changes. If the next crop of Liwiski, Swetlikoff, Crosbie, and Ernst (among others) can have a natural upward trajectory that will go a long way for this team. Another big question mark is Ethan Bowen, who had a strong 16 year old season in Jr A but is committed to North Dakota. Chase Dafoe is another player on the college trajectory but remains on the Rockets protected list. With Wong already certainly taking up a roster spot as a 16 year old its hard to see them taking on many more 16/17's but they look to be great players.

    Meanwhile on defence, aside from Korczak and Thomson there is a bit to be desired. They graduate their three 20 year olds from the back end in Gally, Higson, and Barberis. All that remains beyond that are Steffler and Augustine who aren't about to hit the scoresheet often but do solid work defensively. There will have to be a trade or two to bring in 19/20 year olds on defence because you can't rely on 16 and 17 year old rookies too much on a Memorial cup team. I look at guys like Jett Woo, Calen Addison, possibly even Ty Smith who are all on teams who could be trending downward next season and looking to sell.

    It will be interesting to see if they stick with 18 y/o Roman Basran in net. Porter will be 19 but has been inconsistent and I'm not sure is quite what they will be looking for as a team with their eyes on the Memorial Cup. I look at the Hofer trade from this season that netted Swift Current 6 draft picks including 2 firsts. While I don't think Basran has quite that much value, he could be a key piece in a deal for a 19 or 20 y/o goaltender.

    They will likely have three players who will go in the first 2 rounds of the NHL draft this summer (Foote, Korczak, Thomson) so that is a pretty darn good foundation for a contender. They also have the 5th overall selection from this upcoming WHL draft to work with. I have a hard time believing Hamilton will deal that pick just based on his history and how he likes to build teams, but it's in the back pocket for now.

    TL;DR: Mattson, Topping will be significant upgrades compared to 20 year olds from this season. Young forwards showed spots of brilliance this season and will need to continue to improve into next season. Korczak and Thomson will be elite defencemen in the WHL, but they could use another good piece on defence. Question marks in goaltending could lead to the acquisition of a veteran goaltender.
     
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  5. tony d

    tony d HFBoards Sponsor Sponsor

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    Congrats to Kelowna on getting to host the Memorial Cup. For me the host team shouldn't get an automatic bid into the Memorial Cup. I think they should be part of a play in series with the 3 league runner ups for the 4th team in the Memorial Cup.
     
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  6. Larry Fisher

    Larry Fisher Registered User

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    Really good breakdown by dmortens. Worth noting, Kelowna owns the fifth overall pick in this year's bantam draft and will have another high pick in the CHL import draft. That bantam pick could be a trade chip to land an older (18-20) impact player. The import draft is controlled by agents and what agent wouldn't want their star prospect to play in the Memorial Cup as a showcase? So I fully expect another impact player to "fall" into Kelowna's lap in the import draft. Those two pieces could really change the complexion of next season's Rockets.

    I don't think Bruggen-Cate will be back as an overager. I think they will want at least one defenceman among the overagers and Bruggen-Cate will be expendable. Topping and Mattson will likely both return and be good, not great players. I personally don't see them as "premier" 20 year olds but they are proven producers at this level. Foote, Thomson and Korczak will take another big leap in their development, especially Korczak in my opinion. Liwiski and Swetlikoff were coming on strong down the stretch and could be a good pairing to provide secondary scoring. Wong will be a promising rookie and Ernst could break out as a sophomore (he has the tools to progress like Kole Lind). If Kindree can stay healthy, he has the talent to put up more points than Topping and Mattson and really open a lot of eyes. I wouldn't hold my breath on Bowen joining the fold, but he should strongly consider it being his NHL draft year.

    Long story short, it's not as dire in Kelowna as it may have seemed this season. Also worth noting, Halifax is down 2-0 in the Q and would become the third straight Memorial Cup host team to lose in the first round of their league playoffs and the fourth to do so in seven years. Kelowna obviously won't want that trend to continue in 2020, but I don't think they need to blow anything up or do a total overhaul. I would trade the fifth overall pick and make sure I hit a home run in the import draft (taking either a first-round NHL draft pick from 2019 or a projected top-10 pick for 2020). That would give Kelowna two more studs in addition to their big three (Foote, Thomson, Korczak). From there, it would be tweaking, swapping out Bruggen-Cate for an upgraded overager (almost certainly a defenceman), while monitoring their goaltenders (and the goaltending market) prior to the holiday break.

    I'm not predicting Kelowna will be a powerhouse next season. Edmonton and Saskatoon look like frontrunners, along with Vancouver and Lethbridge if they get back Byram and Cozens. Kamloops is going to take a big step as another Memorial Cup bidder built to win next season and armed with playoff experience this spring. Kelowna will be in the mix and will load up come the trade deadline, but a good number of pieces are already in place or will be in place prior to training camp. My two cents!
     
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  7. Juniorhockeyguru

    Juniorhockeyguru Registered User

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    They have a few pieces for sure, but Cup contending pieces? I don't see the "stand out" talent that will be ready next season to carry anything. Foote and Topping combined for 5 shots and -5 in that game against Kamloops last week. They had 2 mediocre overagers and 1 that barely even played. Besides that 5th overall pick, what pieces do they have to include in a package? Mattson, Foote, Topping, Kindree and who else are ready for prime time? Lewinski? He's a grinder and could get ya 20.

    At this point I think the Division will look like this

    Kamloops
    Prince George
    Kelowna
    Victoria
    Vancouver
     
  8. dmortens

    dmortens Registered User

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    Not so sure about the sudden downturn for Vancouver there. They lose some pieces and might struggle scoring a bit, but I think they will still be in the playoff picture for sure especially with their goaltending as strong as it is. Guess it all depends whether they get Byram and Roman back. I'd probably go with Kamloops, Kelowna, Vancouver, PG, Victoria. That Kelowna/Kamloops rivalry is gonna be excellent next year.
     
  9. dmortens

    dmortens Registered User

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    I like that comparison on the offensive side, but I think Ernst has potential to be an excellent two way forward in the WHL which is something Lind lacked. For Nolan Foote I think a good comparable is Calvin Thurkauf who from his 18 to 19 year old season really learned how to use his big body to protect the puck and he had a hell of a shot. Went from 45 to 70 points. Foote definitely started to get a hold of that this year and if he can create space for himself like that he could see a solid improvement on his 63 points this season.
     
  10. DudeWhereIsMakar

    DudeWhereIsMakar Originator of the username

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    Probably trades top pick this year for WHL superstar, but will have to really go in.
     
  11. passive voice

    passive voice Registered User

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    The left side of the D needs rebuilding but they're returning ~1150 dub games' of experience up front, are loaded on the right side, and have two reasonably experienced tendies coming back. It's a pretty good start.
     
  12. Juniorhockeyguru

    Juniorhockeyguru Registered User

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    It's great to have experience and all, but there is some mediocre talent from 2nd line down.
     
  13. howbowdat

    howbowdat Registered User

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  14. Juniorhockeyguru

    Juniorhockeyguru Registered User

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    How do you get a import before the draft? Only the Rockets lol
     
  15. howbowdat

    howbowdat Registered User

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    Should’ve clarified. Just a guess!!
     
  16. PostFriend

    PostFriend Registered User

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  17. Juniorhockeyguru

    Juniorhockeyguru Registered User

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    Not getting to the playoffs and not getting that experience, that is NOT going to end well for them next year.
     
  18. bukwas

    bukwas Stanley Cup 2022

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    Don`t see a playoff thread so i`ll mention this here.
    We couldn't have asked for better matchups in the 2nd round.
    Provincial and state rivals, Vic vs Van, Evt vs Spo, PA vs Sask and Cgy vs Edm.
     
  19. Juniorhockeyguru

    Juniorhockeyguru Registered User

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    Vancouver in 5
    Everett in 5
    PA in 6
    Edmonton in 6
     
  20. Skinnyjimmy08

    Skinnyjimmy08 WorldTraveler

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    hey what do you mean by this post? honestly curious

    unless i am missing something, I don't see anything anywhere about Kelowna ending up with him anywhere
     
  21. howbowdat

    howbowdat Registered User

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    It’s a prediction. That’s the kind of import draft pick they need to help with their run.
     
  22. Skinnyjimmy08

    Skinnyjimmy08 WorldTraveler

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    Ohhh ok sorry my bad.. Just the way the reply was posted i had no idea it was meant as a prediction.

    Ya that seems like it would be a great pick for someone in the CHL!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  23. bukwas

    bukwas Stanley Cup 2022

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    Not bad.
    Just the Tips let you down.
    All 4 teams left have 8-2 records.
    I'll take Van and P.A this round.
     
  24. Brandon5

    Brandon5 Registered User

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    That would be really tough sell to convince a city to host memorial cup. There is a ton of volunteering put into hosting and not to be able to cheer your on your hometown team wouldn’t work.
     
  25. Juniorhockeyguru

    Juniorhockeyguru Registered User

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    You know it's funny, Bruce seems to think he's in a position of power when it comes to the Bantam Draft and making deals. He is at the mercy of every GM in the league. Sorry Bruce, if there is 1 team that nobody feels sorry for, it's the Rockets.
     

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