We are pleased to launch our first edition of the DUBNetwork mailbag. Last week we asked for questions via Twitter, Facebook, and Email. Our team of contributors answered some of the questions we received.
If you want your question answered in a future edition, use the #DUBNetworkMailbag on twitter, respond to our tweet or Facebook post when we ask for questions, or you may email Josh Critzer at email@example.com
Question from Matt K: How is the schedule made, and how do you decide how many games to put on each day?
Answer from DUBNetwork staff: The schedule generally starts with home openers and any dates that are a must have date like the Teddy Bear Toss. The teams then ensure they fill in their required games like the bi-annual games between the U.S. Division and the East or Central Division as well as their own divisional games. The teams then figure out how many dates they have left that must be filled. The teams then go back and forth on filling those dates in which is how there are often 3-in-3 weekends as teams fill up the remaining dates.
The second part of the question is irrelevant, there is no league or team mandate to place a certain number of games on a specific date.
Question from Alan K: How far will the Spokane Chiefs make it this year? Also, a question from Kent B: Do you think Spokane will stick with Brkin or make a move for a goalie?
Answer from Brandon Rivers: Spokane is a team that has puzzled a lot of people this season. With Jaret Anderson-Dolan only playing in two games for the Chiefs, they are in a spot where they will essentially be bringing in the biggest name at the deadline (when he returns from the World Juniors). Might that be enough, for them to take a run at Everett and Portland in the U.S.?
Well that certainly will depend on what those two do, but I suspect they won’t stand still themselves.
Spokane has the makings of a top team once healthy (I picked them to make the WHL final with Prince Albert). But they have been so inconsistent. A lot of that is due to the netminding. They have two 19-year-olds in net, which to me means they don’t really trust either one fully. Bailey Brkin has played the best and has good numbers overall with a 2.64 GAA and 0.921 save percentage. But the Chiefs have to remember last season, where he was chased in the first round by Portland.
If Ferguson is available for the right price, or even another overage goalie in Griffen Outhouse of the Victoria Royals, I think the Chiefs have to do it.
I really don’t know if the Chiefs need to acquire anything else and losing any of their three overage players for a goalie would be a tough loss.
Luc Smith has put up ten points in ten games since coming in from Kamloops and Noah King already has a goal in seven games since being brought in.
They have already made some moves and may be happy with just bringing in a player like Anderson-Dolan.
In the games leading up to the deadline, they will not have Anderson-Dolan, Ty Smith, or Filip Kral, so we will get a good look at their depth. If they keep their current three-game streak going, look out for the Chiefs come mid-January when those three come back.
Question from @haroldbourgeo10: Can we expect action at the trade deadline like last year?
Answer from Jesse Phillips: The trade deadline last year was exceptionally busy. With a total of 41 trades from January 1st, until the deadline on the 10th, and 15 1st round picks changing hands.
This year, the WHL has instituted new rules limiting the trading of 15 and 16-year-olds and gave 17-year-olds (with a no-trade clause) the power to request their own trade and prevent the team from going to the player with a request to waive their no-trade clause.
Due to this reason, I feel we will see more draft picks, per trade, traded this year than ever before.
Will we see the same total amount of trades? It really depends if teams in the East think they can beat Prince Albert in a seven game series. If not, then maybe we some scared buyers.
Out West, it’s a different ball of wax. I think we could see some teams in mediocre positions buy a few assets to try to make it through a round (especially in the B.C. Division).
Question from Justus C: Who do you think will make the most/biggest moves at the deadline?
Answer from Brandon Rivers: I have my eye firmly on the Vancouver Giants. I don’t know if asking prices are going to be where GM Barclay Parneta wants them, but they simply do not have the play-making up front to go on a long playoff run when the checking gets tighter.
Their defensive system and goaltending has been incredible as they have allowed just 73 goals through 32 games (even less than the Everett Silvertips).
But with the trading away of James Malm, they do not have many creative play-making type forwards up front. Center Milos Roman is productive and they have a strong group of 19-year-olds who play 200-foot games. But they could really use some more roven offense. Henry and Leschyshyn would have been a great fit there, but Lethbridge offer was really high.
They like their overage group, so I don’t know of either Jared Dmytriw, Matt Barberis, or Davis Koch is moved, but if someone were to pull a move that shocked the league, bringing in a creative forward, I would not put it past the Giants.
Brandon is also a team that could stand to make some moves. They are in the second wild card right now, but i thought they would be in a better position. They sold off last season when they were in a better spot. Could they sell again? Stelio Mattheos and Schael Higson would certainly be targeted by teams. Or they could flip things around and bring someone like Tyszka in – likely one of the biggest names out there.
Question from @rogerapage: I’ve noticed officials having “meetings” and overturning calls this year. Is this a mandated thing or just four guys trying to save face on what was a bad call to begin with?
Answer from Caden Fanshaw: Having conferences, as us officials like to call them, is not a mandated thing by any means. It is encouraged after a big call that may be controversial to communicate with your partners on the ice to make sure everyone is on the same page with the situation at hand.
Coming together as a team to discuss calls is especially important for linesmen to have a voice because ultimately they don’t wear the bands and can’t make the same calls mid-game a referee can.
It’s all about using the tools in your toolbox, might as well use as many as possible.
Question from Zach P: Which player(s) stand the best chance of being traded before the deadline? And which teams would be interested in those players?
Answer from Brandon Rivers: A lot of the most obvious choice for this question have already been moved. With Swift Current, Regina, and Kootenay falling out of playoff contention, they moved a lot of their most tradable assets. Those being players like Nick Henry, Jake Leschyshyn, Max Patterson, Aaron Hyman, Brett Davis, Cameron Hausinger, Andrew Fyten, Noah King, and Kaden Elder. What exactly is left that those teams would want to deal?
The category of player most likely to be moved is an overage or an NHL-signed 19-year-old. From those three teams, most of the players that other teams would be making strong offers on were included in that previous group.
An interesting player though that has not been moved yet by Regina is 19-year-old forward Austin Pratt. He has 13 goals and 16 assists in 34 games this season, and is far and away the shots on goal leader on the Pats with over twice that of any other player on the team. At six-foot-two and 205 pounds he could provide a right-handed shot on the top-six of a contender and bring the Pats even more to refill their cupboards which they had run dry.
The problem is that Pratt is very likely to come back as an overage next season and Regina may want him to lead the team in what is sure to be another rebuilding season.
If Pratt is available, he would be a good fit on a lot of teams, but maybe a team like Red Deer brings him back in like they did with Hausinger.
If you look out West, a team likely wanting to deal is the Seattle Thunderbirds. They have a productive group of overage forwards in Zack Andrusiak, Nolan Volcan, and Noah Philp, but perhaps their most valuable asset is 19-year-old defenseman Jarret Tyszka. The smooth-skating blue liner was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens but has yet to sign. He suffered an injury during Montreal’s camp and has only played in six games. During those games he has a goal and four assists.
The price value on a d-man who can move the puck and produce offensively is sure to be really high. Literally any team in the league could use someone like Tyszka, but I like the Kelowna Rockets to be in the bidding as Tyszka could very well come back as an overage next season which is the year they host the Memorial Cup.
Prince George is also out of the playoffs as it stands now. They could very well be looking at moving 19-year-old left wing Josh Maser. He has 13 points in 33 games this season, but put up 36 last season and if put with a play-making center could break out.
Kamloops is extremely intriguing. They have an overage goalie in Dylan Ferguson who a lot of teams have likely called them over. Goaltending is an issue a lot of contenders would love to shore up. While Ferguson has only a 3.30 GAA and 0.905 save percentage, he has a strong pedigree and would be someone you would love in your net come playoff time.
Jermaine Loewen is also someone likely being looked at. He has 15 points so far this season as an overage. The six-foot-four, 227 left wing would be a guy that could create a lot of space for a top team and produce more with an elite center feeding him the puck.
An overage player would have to go the other way for either Kamloops player and GM Matt Bardsley seems like he does not want to totally sell off, meaning this could be a situation where each GM believes the trade shored up an area of weakness.
Question from Jesse K: Where would you rank the Thunderbirds prospect pool (signed only) among the rest of the U.S. Division and league?
Answer from Brayden Sullivan – DraftGeek: The Thunderbirds have a deep prospect pool. For me I wouldn’t rank them first in the U.S. Division based on the fact that they have more depth than top end prospects. They are also a bit dry on the back end. Seattle’s top up and comer is currently Kai Uchacz of the Okotok Oilers Midget AAA’s, he currently sits top 10 in AMHL scoring and was Seattle’s first round selection in the 2018 WHL Draft.
Past Uchacz, players like Lucas Ciona, Conner Roulette, and Mekai Sanders are looking like promising WHL players. Seattle has three goaltending prospects on their list right now with Thomas Milic, Roddy Ross, and Cody Creasy.
Question from Derek J: Who are some of the top players in BC for the 2019 WHL Draft? Also, any Americans on that list playing in BC? What about players in PCAHA?
Answer from Brayden Sullivan – DraftGeek: Brandon Lisowsky is currently our top ranked BC player in this year’s WHL Draft. A small naturally gifted scorer with top end speed and puck control. Mats Lindgren is the top defenseman right now coming out of BC. The best skating defenseman in the draft, Lindgren is a tremendous puck moving defender whose efficiency with the puck and fluid four-way mobility makes him hard to handle offensively and harder to beat defensively.
Past those two Burnaby players, Brayden Schuurman, Brayden Boehm, Grayden Siepman, Jason Spizawaka, and Tyson Zimmer are recognized as potential first round players come June.
Joshua Niedermayer is ranked high in our second round, son of Scott Niedermayer he was born in the US but currently suits up for the Okanagan Hockey Academy of the CSSHL.