With no current Royals information to speak of, I decided to look back at the organization as a whole, and create a Royals/Bruins franchise all-star team.
In 2006, the Chilliwack Bruins were formed as an expansion franchise. Their first five years in Chilliwack resulted in less than stellar results. The Bruins never made it past the first round of the playoffs and with attendance dropping they were moved to Victoria in 2011.
The franchise itself has never made it past the second round of the WHL playoffs, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t had a steady stream of talent.
If I was to put down my franchise All-Star team on paper it would look like this:
|Left Wing||Centre||Right Wing|
|Braden Tracey (ANA-1st)||Tyler Soy (ANA-7th)||Oscar Moller (LA-2nd)|
|Ryan Howse (CAL-3rd)||Matthew Phillps (CAL-6th)||Austin Carroll (CAL-7th)|
|Jack Walker (TOR-6th)||Dante Hannoun||Brandon McGee|
|Mark Santorelli (NSH-4th)||Kevin Sundher (BUF-3rd)||Robin Soudek|
|Nick Holder||Brandon Manning|
|Joe Hicketts||Chaz Reddekopp (LA-7th)|
|Scott Walford (MTL-3rd)||Travis Brown (CHI-5th)|
I placed Braden Tracey on the top line even though he hasn’t seen much time with the Royals yet. As the only first-round NHL draft pick in franchise history, and after seeing his game live, I felt as though the talent level warranted a first-line spot.
Tyler Soy is the franchise leader in games played, goals, and assists. He has yet to see any time in the NHL, however, following his stint with the Royals, he did play in the ECHL. He has since moved to USports hockey, playing with the University of Alberta for the past season and a half.
Oscar Moller is one of the only players to have NHL experience. I never got to see him play but as a second-round pick, I feel like the talent level of the winger from Stockholm, Sweden would have meshed well with Tracey and Soy.
This decision was based purely on the novelty of having all Calgary Flames picks on one line. Matthew Phillips is still probably the best talent the Royals have seen to date, but I had to allow the franchise leader in all major categories to have the top line spot.
Although I have not seen Howse play either, his stats suggest he was quite the sniper. The majority of the Prince George native’s points were in the form of goals. He finished his WHL career with 51 goals in 71 games. With Phillips being an elite playmaker, I can see no better selection to put on his wing.
Austin Carroll, while being no slouch in the offense department, would mesh well on this line being the power forward that forechecks hard, and gets the puck to the gifted Phillips.
Three players in the top five of points in Royals history. These three were fan favorites during their time in Victoria. Even though this is a physically small line, this would be the “energy line”. Hannoun and Magee were always reliable for clutch goals and despite their size, they would never shy away from the opportunity to throw a big hit.
The pair were often put together during their time with the club, and I can remember them giving the other team fits with their relentless forecheck. Pair that with Toronto’s 6th round pick in 2016 Jack Walker and you have a perfect third-line formula.
Primarily a Chilliwack Bruins line, I don’t have a ton to go off of here. Sundher played in Victoria for one season posting 64 points in 40 games, he also posted point-per-game numbers during the playoffs for the Bruins. Depth scoring is vastly important especially during the playoffs. I feel like this is a great fourth line center option here.
Santorelli set Bruins team-highs with 74 assists and 101 points, earning the team’s first major WHL trophy by leading the league in scoring in 2007-08. Soudek played the last two of his four WHL seasons with the Bruins/Royals and had matching 57 point seasons.
The first pairing sees two solid NHL players paired together. Brandon Manning has 255 NHL games under his belt. Nick Holden has become one of the Vegas Golden Knights’ most reliable shutdown defenders. Hard to say no to a couple of NHL vets patrolling this blueline.
Having Joe Hicketts and Chaz Reddekopp on the second pairing allows for a good balance between offensive instincts, and shutdown physicality. Both players are responsible for some of the biggest, most memorable hits in team history. With 307 WHL points between them, you better not take your eyes off of them in the offensive zone either.
Bottom pairing I wanted the same idea of physicality and offensive touch. I chose Montreal’s third-round pick Scott Walford and Chicago’s fifth-round pick Travis Brown. Walford is the more defensively responsible choice while also providing respectable offensive numbers. Brown is the offensive engine on this paring. 18 goals in his final WHL campaign, and some crushing hits. This is my “Reddekopp Jr” pick. Not elite defensively but there is no need to play defense if you either spend all the time in their end or crush them when they try to cross your blueline.
Griffen Outhouse is the obvious choice here. Coleman Vollrath posted 84 wins with the Royals and his GAA and save percentage was respectable; Outhouse, however, has been the model of calmness and consistency between the pipes. Nothing appeals to coaches more than consistency at the goaltending position.
With Outhouse you have 114 Royals wins and a save percentage that has never dipped under .913 in his WHL career. The franchise leader in wins and shutouts, with an NHL camp invite under his belt, this is the starter for a potential Royals/Bruins franchise all-star team.
I hope this has been a fun trip down memory lane for anyone that has followed since the Bruins days. This franchise, while still in its infancy compared to other organizations, has seen some NHL level talent come through its doors. I can’t wait to see what other prospects can succeed with the Royals and hopefully see more players’ names called on NHL draft day.