It wouldn’t be the start of a brand new Western Hockey League campaign without some fun-natured predictions and prognostications.
We polled broadcasters from across our League markets to get their thoughts on the upcoming 2016-17 WHL season and the results are in.
When answering each question, participants were not allowed to select players or teams in the market that they serve. Outside of that, it was a complete and total free-for-all.
There are some pretty noticeable trends throughout, particularly when it comes to what our broadcast personalities think about the Victoria Royals and Regina Pats.
When asked to pick each division’s regular season champion, our experts were divided on the U.S. Division, perhaps a testament as to how fierce competition will be south of the border in 2016-17. On the opposite side of the spectrum, only the Pats and Brandon Wheat Kings earned votes when it came to the East Division. That might not go over so well in Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon or Swift Current.
A wide range of responses came in when asked to select the WHL’s top scorer and top defenceman – absolutely a testament to the wealth of talent that will be rolled out by all 22 clubs in 2016-17.
But let’s not give away anymore of the juicy details. Let’s just see what our esteemed and respected broadcast experts had to say heading into WHL Opening Week 2016-17.
Who will be the WHL’s top scorer during the 2016-17 regular season?
Nolan Patrick (BDN) & Adam Brooks (REG) – 23.8% each
Brayden Burke (LET) – 14.3%
Mathew Barzal (SEA) & Nick Merkley (KEL) – 9.5% each
Earning one vote apiece were Reid Gardiner (Raiders), Alexi Heponiemi (Broncos), Sam Steel (Pats) and Tyler Soy (Royals).
Who will be the WHL’s top defenceman during the 2016-17 regular season?
Jake Bean (CGY) – 33.3%
Ethan Bear (SEA) – 23.8%
Ivan Provorov (BDN) – 19.0%
Earning one vote apiece were Brennan Menell (LET), Josh Mahura (RDR), Noah Juulsen (EVT) and Devante Stephens (KEL).
Who will be the WHL’s top goaltender during the 2016-17 regular season?
Carter Hart (EVT) – 42.9%
Connor Ingram (KAM) & Zach Sawchenko (MJW) – 23.8% each
Griffen Outhouse (VIC) – 9.5%
Which team will win the B.C. Division regular season title?
Victoria Royals – 66.7%
Kelowna Rockets – 19.0%
Kamloops Blazers – 9.5%
Prince George Cougars – 4.8%
Which team will win the U.S. Division regular season title?
Seattle Thunderbirds – 57.1%
Portland Winterhawks – 23.8%
Spokane Chiefs – 9.5%
Tri-City Americans – 4.8%
Everett Silvertips – 4.8%
Which team will win the Central Division regular season title?
Lethbridge Hurricanes – 66.7%
Calgary Hitmen – 28.6%
Medicine Hat Tigers – 4.8%
Which team will win the East Division regular season title?
Regina Pats – 81.0%
Brandon Wheat Kings – 19.0%
Which team will hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2017?
Victoria Royals – 57.1%
Regina Pats – 23.8%
Kelowna Rockets & Seattle Thunderbirds – 9.5% each
Which team will finish as runner up in the WHL Championship?
Regina Pats – 47.6%
Brandon, Calgary, Kelowna, Lethbridge – 9.5% each
Kamloops, Seattle, Victoria – 4.8% each
Do you think our broadcast personalities are spot on? Disagree with anything they predicted? Share your thoughts with us via Facebook and Twitter!