When the 2019-20 WHL season stopped, the Edmonton Oil Kings had three 20-year-olds on their roster:
A bittersweet realization about major junior hockey is that while we get to see incredibly talented players come through the ranks, time eventually runs out on eligibility to play in the league.
Thus, we always have to prepare for the inevitable departure of players we enjoy watching.
As we salute the graduating Oil Kings players of 2019-20, lets look back at each of their WHL careers.
Before coming over to the Oil Kings via trade, he enjoyed a couple of productive seasons with the Americans between 2015-2019. With the Americans he played in a total of 195 games and scored 84 points. He played in another 23 games in playoffs for the team and added 5 points.
When Sawchuk arrived in Edmonton for the start of the 2019-2020 season, things really fell into place for the forward quite nicely, as he seized his opportunity right from the very get-go. He ended up having his best season, scoring 76 points in 64 games with the Oil Kings, finishing as the teams leading scorer.
He brought great skill, experience and offensive punch to the Oil Kings lineup and found a comfortable home on the top line.
Sawchuk wraps up his WHL career having played in a grand total of 259 regular season games, tallying 160 points.
Warm played for the Tri-City Americans for parts of five seasons before being traded to the Oil Kings during 2019-20. He provided a steady presence between the pipes, appearing in 15 games for Edmonton, and maintained a .915 save percentage.
One of his best seasons came in 2018-19 as the number one goaltender for the Americans. He played in 61 regular season games and finished with an impressive .916 save percentage. His performance helped the Americans secure a playoff berth that year.
Warm finishes his WHL career having played in a total of 150 regular season games with a .908 save percentage.
McIndoe is a seasoned WHL veteran of a whopping 321 games through which he scored 161 points.
He was drafted by the Spokane Chiefs in the third round, 58th overall, in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. From 2015-2019, he played for the Chiefs. In that time he had two seasons in which he produced 40 points or more.
The Oil Kings sought out his services by trading for him before the start of the 2019-20 season. With Edmonton, McIndoe performed well, playing in 58 games and scoring 38 points.
His experience and work ethic proved to be quite valuable as he added even more depth to a deep Oil Kings roster. He injected a good combination of offensive skill and two-way ability into the lineup.
Sawchuk, Warm and McIndoe have all had long, highly successful WHL careers. Losing the large amount of experience carried between the three of them is tough for the Oil Kings.
But the team has a more than capable solid core group returning next season to take the reigns.
It will be a task to build on the mojo and cohesion established in 2019-20, when the Oil Kings sat comfortably atop the Central Division standings.
There will certainly be some big shoes to fill as a result of the overage players moving on. There are going to be opportunities galore for those returning to Edmonton when the puck drops for the 2020-21 season.