2020-21 WHL Season Preview: Prince Albert Raiders

As the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season comes to fruition, we preview each of the Clubs that will compete in an unprecedented divisional format featuring a 24-game schedule.

General Manager: Curtis Hunt
Head Coach: Marc Habscheid
2019-20 Record: 36-18-6-4, 82 points
2019-20 Divisional Finish: First Place
2019-20 Top Scorers: C Aliaksei Protas (31-49–80); RW Ozzy Wiesblatt (25-45–70); LW Brayden Watts (29-32–61)

2020-21 – 20-year-olds: C Spencer Moe (19-32–51); LW Justin Nachbaur (8-15–23); G Max Paddock (23-16-4-4, 2.65, .915)
2020-21 Season Opener: Friday, March 12 – Prince Albert Raiders at Regina Pats

Last Game: Sunday, March 8, 2020 – Raiders (0) at ICE (3)

Overview: The Prince Albert Raiders return to the ice as the reigning champions of the WHL – technically. Dante Hannoun’s Game 7 overtime winner still stands as the last goal scored in a WHL Playoffs series.

Although now two seasons removed from that Championship, the Raiders commitment to building culture through the players in their system is paying off. Before the pandemic forced last season’s shut down, the Raiders were the top team in the East Division with a .641 winning percentage and were once again poised to make a run at another Ed Chynoweth Cup.

The continued development of first round NHL Draft picks Ozzy Wiesblatt and Kaiden Guhle and the addition of Max Paddock from the Regina Pats have ensured that the Raiders will once again be in the conversation as a team to watch once things get going in the Subway Hub at the Brandt Centre.

Key Players: It has been a whirlwind year for Kaiden Guhle. Drafted 16th overall by the Montreal Canadiens, signed his NHL entry-level contract, skated for Canada’s World Junior Team, played his first games of professional hockey with the AHL’s Laval Rocket and was named captain of the Prince Albert Raiders. Not bad.

With all that experience in his pocket, Guhle looks to lead the Raiders to a third consecutive East Division title, but he doesn’t have to do it alone.

Up front, right winger Ozzy Wiesblatt has had a pretty good year himself. He was selected by the San Jose Sharks with the last pick of the first round at the NHL Draft, signed his entry-level contract and scored his first professional goal with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.

Continuing the culture that Raiders are trying to build, 16-year-olds Graydon Gotass and Niall Crocker will get their first tastes of WHL hockey. Gotaas appeared in one game with Prince Albert last season and was named to the tournament all-star team at the 2019 WHL Cup. Crocker, who was the 22nd selection at the 2019 WHL Draft, will see his first WHL action at the Brandt Centre in Regina. The 6-foot-3 forward had three points in three games with the Delta Hockey Academy U18 AAA team earlier this season.

Between the pipes, veteran goaltender Max Paddock, ends his WHL career where it started, he just won’t be playing for the home town team. Paddock played parts of four seasons with the Pats before being traded to Prince Albert last season. Paddock backstopped the Pats to the Memorial Cup final in 2018 and has 133 games of WHL experience.

Tidbits: Last season Prince Albert only had three minus players on their roster. The average plus-minus for the 2019-20 Raiders squad was plus-11… This season will be head coach Marc Habscheid’s 15th season behind the bench. In his WHL career he has amassed a record of 521-357-48-59, a winning percentage of .547, a Memorial Cup Championship and two WHL Championships…

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