This is an ongoing series as we start the long road to the 2019-20 WHL season. We will be going in the order that teams were eliminated from contention. Keep in mind that the roster guesses vary because of information made available to us. We did our very best to capture all of the signings, but could be missing some.
2018-19 WHL Season: Kamloops stumbled along the way in 2018-19, their first and only season under head coach Serge Lajoie.
A late-season run, led by 2001-born forward Connor Zary and 2002-born goalie Dylan Garand, brought them into a play-in game for the third seed in the B.C. Division. They won that game 5-1 over the Kelowna Rockets, setting up a first round series with the Victoria Royals.
The Royals took them out in six games as the magic ran out for Kamloops.
Lajoie was then removed from his head coaching role, as was assistant coach Dan Kordic. The table seems to be set for late-season addition to the coaching staff, Darryl Sydor to take over the bench.
Sydor has yet to be named the new head coach though. Who will be coaching the 2019-20 Blazers is something that will need to be decided upon this summer.
2019 WHL Bantam Draft: Kamloops is picking twice in the first round on Thursday. Their first selection (their own) is seventh overall, while their second (from Everett) is 20th. In the first four rounds, they have another extra choice too as they have Everett’s fourth round pick. In the 16 rounds shown on the WHL site, they have all of their own picks, plus four more. None of their own choices have been moved.
Both of those picks from Everett came over in the Garrett Pilon and Ondrej Vala trade back in January of 2018.
Signed Players (26):
1999 – Travis Walton, Zane Franklin, Kobe Mohr
2000 – Orrin Centazzo, Ryley Appelt, Brodi Stuart
2001 – Connor Zary, Martin Lang, Jerzy Orchard
2002 – Josh Pillar, Kyrell Sopotyk, Reese Belton
2003 – Logan Stankoven, Caedan Bankier, Matthew Seminoff
1999 – Jackson Caller
2000 – Luke Zazula, Montana Onyebuchi, Sean Strange
2001 – Quinn Schmiemann, Joonas Sillanpaa
2002 – Ethan Brandwood, Trevor Thurston
2003 – Logan Bairos
2001 – Rayce Ramsay
2002 – Dylan Garand
Aged Out: Goalie Dylan Ferguson struggled through the first 3/4 of the season but then responded and regained his form. Jermaine Loewen had some big goals and was a pain for each of his opponents. He will be taking his infectious personality on from the WHL. The last overage moving on is defenseman/forward Jeff Faith.
Overage Shuffle: Zane Franklin came over from Lethbridge and instantly became one of the best play makers on the team. He led Kamloops with 68 points in 68 games and should be coming back as an overage.
They have three players right now for the other two spots. Kobe Mohr came over from Edmonton prior to the season and compiled 27 points in a depth role.
Travis Walton (three points) and defenseman Jackson Caller (four points in 45 games) are the two other 1999-born players on the roster.
Import Issues?: Martin Lang put up 33 points in his first season and as an incoming 18-year-old could be in line for a breakout second season in North America.
Joonas Sillanpaa is also an incoming 18-year-old and seemed to adjust more and more the later we got into the season.
If they and the players want, Kamloops seems locked in to bring both of them back.
2019 NHL Draft: Quinn Schmiemann is the only Blazer listed. He is 94th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings.