Welcome to the post Christmas edition of the WHL People's Power Rankings. Let's not waste any time and get right to it.
1. Lethbridge Hurricanes - Winners of 11 of the last 14 before the break. 18 PPG in those 14 games. Handily beat Red Deer in their last game before Christmas. Doesn't look like a team that needs to buy at the deadline.
2. Calgary Hitmen - 15 wins in 19 games puts them in a tie with Red Deer for 2nd in the division. Possibly getting Virtanen back is insurance. Will be a contender if he returns.
3. Red Deer Rebels - Play of late has not been up to par, extended stay near the top of the conference helps them immensely here. Play does not appear inspired for Memorial Cup hosts.
4. Brandon Wheat Kings - Still appear dominant often but have lapses in stretches. When McCrimmon returns to the team he will look to tighten up their game to last year's lofty standards.
5. Prince Albert Raiders - Keeping pace in a tight race with Brandon and Moose Jaw. Goaltending is their biggest asset will they look to add a defender or a forward come deadline day?
6. Moose Jaw Warriors - Missing Brayden Point for so many games and yet they are still keeping the division leaders within their grasp. Team game is key here and the continued growth of forwards not named Point. Sawchenko is a rock in the net for this team.
7. Regina Pats - Struggling to produce wins, having just 1 in the 8
games preceding the break. It is possible they move some parts around to
build for next season.
8. Edmonton Oil Kings - Streakiest team in the league. Finding this team has a very "me first" attitude, definite drop off from the top 3 divisional teams. Likely stuck in one of the 2 wild card spots.
9. Saskatoon Blades - A very interesting team with plenty of gimmicks to bring fans into the arena but the on ice product is suffering. Have not won more than 2 games in a row all season.
10. Medicine Hat Tigers - Just can not find a winning combination. Had won 4 of 5 before the break and a few against the Oil Kings but are just too far back. At least they have the new Arena right?
11. Swift Current Broncos - 2 and 14 over the last 16 and traded their best asset to the Rebels. Things couldn't be much worse could they?
12. Kootenay Ice - I guess things could be worse. 12 straight loses and only 6 wins on the season. Nothing doing here.
1. Kelowna Rockets - Lost back-to-back for the first time this year, but still maintain a healthy five-point lead for best record in the WHL.
2. Victoria Royals - Royals are dropping Divisional games consistently without head coach Dave Lowry and d-man Joe Hicketts.
3. Prince George Cougars - They appear to be setting up an epic battle for the number two seed and home ice advantage in the B.C. division with Victoria
4. Seattle Thunderbirds - Really hurting without their top three centers, who are all at the World Junior Championships
5. Spokane Chiefs - Suffered through Adam Helewka's six-game suspension and a slew of
injuries. They will need some wins in upcoming games vs. Portland, who
is right on their heals in the U.S.
6. Everett Silvertips - Flailing a bit lately and will need some points out of two huge games vs. Kelowna this week.
7. Kamloops Blazers -5-1 road trip through the prairies has the Blazers right in the thick of the playoffs
8. Portland Winterhawks - Welcomed the return of two of their top-six forwards with an epic OT win
over T.C. A few big wins and fans might want Hawks to start buying at
the trade deadline
9. Vancouver Giants - Red-hot Giants are now only four back of Portland for the final playoff spot
10. Tri-City Americans - Deal for McKenzie Stewart adds some size up front, but what does it mean for their other three overage players?