The 2019-20 WHL season came to an unexpected end with the outbreak of Covid-19 across North America and the world.
That meant us at DUBNetwork had to scramble and put together our fourth annual awards.
I reached out to our beat writers and those associated with the site and had them vote on a variety of categories, just like we have done in the past.
Today we reveal our first, second and third all-star teams for both conferences. Earlier today we did the Western Conference. Now we head out east and do the Eastern Conference.
Eastern Conference First Team:
Forwards: Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), James Hamblin (Medicine Hat Tigers) and Aliaksei Protas (Prince Albert Raiders)
Cozens may have only played 51 games but he still piled up 38 goals and 47 assists for 85 points. That put him third in the league and first in the Eastern Conference in points-per-game.
When he came back from winning gold with Hockey Canada and teammate Calen Addison, Cozens was a man among boys most nights. The seventh overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft did everything for the ‘Canes. On the power play, Cozens was unstoppable. Either you let him unleash form the point and beat your goalie with a screened shot, or he found a teammate alone back door. I would not be surprised if he made a push to make the Buffalo Sabres as a 19-year-old next season.
Hamblin is the lone overager on either All-Conference team. He posted 36 goals and 56 assists for 92 points in 63 games. The Edmonton native had been about as consistent as out can get in the WHL, but he took it to another level this season. The highlight of his season was a four-goal outburst on January 18th vs Lethbridge.
Protas showed why the second season in the WHL for an import is worth waiting for,. He went from 40 points last season, to 31 goals and 49 assists for 80 points this season. The Belorussian, Washington Capitals-signed winger showed an elite wrist shot and once he got speed coming into the zone, teams struggled with keeping him from creating a scoring chance.
Defensemen: Calen Addison (Lethbridge) and Alex Cotton (Lethbridge)
Our voters are spread across the WHL. So having a forward and both defensemen on the first team for a Conference shows you how impressive the big-name players were for the Hurricanes this season.
Addison was expected to be among the best d-men in the league, as a Pittsburgh Penguins drafted and signed d-man (he was traded to the Minnesota Wild mid-season). Cotton was not someone anyone would have predicted to be one of the best two d-men out east.
Cotton carried a lot of the load for the Hurricanes, while Addison missed 13 games. Cotton led the WHL in scoring from the blue line with 67 points in 63 games.
That was 56 more points than the 2001-born native of Langley, B.C. had last season.
Goalie: Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Talk about unexpected. Cossa struggled with an injury last season, taking him out of the picture in net for the Oil Kings. He showed he belonged this season with an Eastern Conference-best 2.23 GAA and 0.921 save percentage. He also posted a 21-6-2-1 record. He also had four shut outs. Not bad for a rookie eh?
Eastern Conference Second Team:
Forwards: Tristen Robins (Saskatoon Blades), Jake Neighbours (Edmonton) and Riley Sawchuk (Edmonton)
Defense: Matthew Robertson (Edmonton) and Dawson Barteaux (Winnipeg ICE)
Goalie: Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat)
Eastern Conference Third Team:
Forwards: Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg), Brett Kemp (Medicine Hat) and Isaac Johnson (Winnipeg)
Defense: Scott Walford (Saskatoon) and Kaiden Guhle (Prince Albert)
Goalie: Jiri Patera (Brandon Wheat Kings)