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. First, we will do the Western Conference.
Western Conference First Team:
Forwards: Adam Beckman (Spokane Chiefs), Seth Jarvis (Portland Winterhawks) and Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers)
The top three forwards in the league were about as locked in as possible. Beckman, Jarvis, and Zary got far more votes than the rest, making this an easy and comfortable top three.
Beckman had an incredible sophomore season in the WHL. He led the entire league with 48 goals and 59 assists for 107 points. That was nine more than anyone else. Of Beckman’s 48 goals, nine were game-winners (second in the WHL) and 16 came on the power play (second in the WHL). Beckman showcased an incredible wrist shot that made teams commit to blocking it. He then showed his quick feet by often cutting to the net past a sliding defender. At his best, Beckman seemed to generate a quality scoring chance on every shift.
Beckman then capped off his great season by signing an entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild. Should he make the NHL as a 19-year-old next season, I do not think anyone would be too shocked.
Jarvis’ burst in the second half of the season was otherworldly. The “17-year-old” had 63 of his 98 points after the Christmas break. That was a span of just 26 games. It seemed unlikely he would catch Beckman, even at his torrid pace, but it would have been a fun ending regardless. The 2020 NHL draft-eligible forward saw his draft stock shoot up as his second-half progressed with many believing the speedster will be a first-round pick.
He and linemate Jaydon Dureau were fun to watch. Both possess blazing speed and the number of 2-on-1 rushes that speed set up were in-numerous. What that combo can do for the Scotty Munro trophy-winning Winterhawks next season has to push them into the upper echelon of WHL teams in 2021-22.
Zary was on a dangerous line for the B.C. Division winning Blazers as well. He notched 86 points in 57 games for Kamloops; a team that ended with three of the top eight scorers in the league. Zary is a game breaker in the WHL, but what has many scouts excited about him as an NHL prospect for the coming draft, is that he does everything well. There are not many weaknesses in the late 2001-born forward”s game.
He has an incredible blend of speed and tenacity that NHL teams have to be drooling over.
Defensemen: Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs) and Johnny Ludvig (Portland Winterhawks)
For the third season in-a-row, Smith was named to one of our all-Western Conference teams. He was second-team in 2017-18 and first-team last season. Again this season, the New Jersey Devils prospect made the first team in convincing fashion.
Smith ended the season fourth in scoring by a d-man but was second behind Jake Christiansen in points-per-game with 59 in 46 games.
Ty won gold with Hockey Canada at the U20 World Juniors and missed time at the start of the season while in camp with the Devils.
His three goals and five assists for eight points on February 28th is something that I will always remember from this season. His ability to shut down the other team’s best line on one end and then pick apart their defense on the other is a combination that should have him wearing an NHL sweater next season.
Ludvig just edged out a bigger name to make the first team for us. That seems fitting as the Florida Panthers prospect has been often overlooked in his hockey career. The Kamloops native went undrafted in the WHL Bantam Draft and then went from Junior B to the WHL as a 17-year-old. The following season, he quickly became a reliable shutdown defenseman for the Winterhawks, gaining more and more minutes as the year progressed.
After being drafted by the Panthers, Ludvig knew he had to work on his offensive game and what he did certainly worked. He potted 17 goals and 45 assists for 62 points in 60 games. That follows a season where he had 18 points for Portland. Ludvig filled in nicely as the power-play quarterback and he notched nine markers on the man advantage. Ludvig has yet to be signed by Florida, but if the third-round pick keeps getting better with the puck, that contract will be sent to him in a hurry.
Goalie: Dustin Wolf (Everett)
It’s getting to the point where you can just pencil an Everett Silvertips goalie into this spot every season. Carter Hart got top billing for us for two straight seasons and now Wolf follows suit.
Wolf led the league in goals-against average at 1.88 and save percentage with 0.935. He also posted a 34-10-2-0 record, which ties him for the most victories.
The Calgary Flames drafted netminder from California also posted nine more shutouts which have him gunning for the WHL record over a career. He has 20 regular season blank sheets in just 127 games played.
He also got to play for the United States at the World Junior Championships. What Wolf can do next season as a 19-year-old has to have the Silvertips very excited.
Western Conference Second Team:
Forwards: Bryce Kindopp (Everett), Orrin Centazzo (Kamloops) and Eli Zummack (Spokane)
Defense: Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants) and Wyatte Wylie (Everett)
Goalie: Joel Hofer (Portland)
Western Conference Third Team:
Forwards: Zane Franklin (Kamloops), Cole Fonstad (Everett) and Gage Goncalves (Everett)
Defense: Jake Christiansen (Everett) and Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets)
Goalie: Shane Farkas (Victoria Royals)