WHL Power Rankings – Week 21: Cream is Finally Rising to the Top


It is clear who the two best teams are in the WHL. The cream is finally rising to the top. If Las Vegas had odds for the WHL, the clear-cut favorites would be the Wheat Kings and the Rockets. They have only lost an incredible 17 of 109 combined games. The Winterhawks are clearly not as good as these two teams, but as we all know in sports, sometimes the best teams don’t win.

The Winterhawks had a rough week last week. They lost both games they played well in, including yet another loss to the Thunderbirds. After eight straight wins, who would guess they give up six goals to Seattle and don’t even sniff a victory. In my opinion, no team has an easier remaining schedule than the Winterhawks. With only one of their final 17 games against a team in the top ten, I expect them to make a run for the top spot in the U.S. Division.

They currently have a sixteen-point lead over the final wildcard playoff spot, so I think they put it all on the table to win the division. With a playoff all but sewn up, they have nothing to lose. They especially have nothing to lose after the way they started the season. No one in Portland could have ever imagined the Winterhawks competing for a division title a month into the season. Find yourself a date and spread some Valentines Day love this weekend by heading down to the Moda Center and supporting the Winterhawks.

Checkout where the Winterhawks fell in Week 21’s WHL Power Rankings:

[table colwidth=”8%|18%|8%|8%|8%|50%” colalign=”center|center|center|center|center|left” rowlalign=”center”]

1,Brandon Wheat Kings,41-9-5,—,1,”Brandon Wheat Kings~~The Wheat Kings train keeps moving forward. That is now 13 straight games without a regulation loss. They are averaging almost five goals a game this season, which is very tough to beat. ”
2,Kelowna Rockets,42-8-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,3,”Kelowna Rockets~~Usually not losing in nine games would mean you are the hottest team in the league. The Rockets unfortunately are not the hottest team in the league. I am sure they are still pretty content only having lost eight out of 54 games. ”
3,Calgary Hitmen,31-17-5,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +2,5,”Calgary Hitmen~~The Hitmen are ranked higher than they have ever been before. They have won eight straight games and firmly planted themselves in title contention talks. Next Saturday will be their next real test in Medicine Hat”
4,Medicine Hat Tigers,35-15-3,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -2,2,”Medicine Hat Tigers~~The Tigers are slumping right now big time. Once thought to be on the same level as the Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference, seem to have fallen behind a bit. With a tough schedule coming up, I wouldn’t be surprised if this skid continues.”
5,Portland Winter Hawks,31-20-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -1,4,”Portland Winterhawks~~It was a rough week for the Hawks as they only claimed one out of four points. All is not lost though as they are right in the thick of things for the division title. ”
6,Everett Silvertips,34-16-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,7,”Everett Silvertips~~The Silvertips are hanging around but cannot seem to get over the hump. Only 6-4 over the last ten games means they are neither gaining nor losing ground in the standings. They are firmly planted in the playoff picture though and could be a force to reckon with come tournament time. ”
7,Victoria Royals,30-20-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,8,”Victoria Royals~~The Royals are playing great hockey right now. Having only one loss in ten games, this team seems to be staying in the top ten. I am still not sold on the Royals competing for a title but they are one of the better teams in the league at the moment. ”
8,Regina Pats,30-17-6,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,9,”Regina Pats~~The Pats are making a strong push right now to solidify their playoff claiming at least a point in five straight. I wouldn’t put them into the top tier of teams just yet, but they are surely making a case. ”
9,Red Deer Rebels,28-17-8,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -3,6,”Red Deer Rebels~~The rebels have been pretty mediocre as of late. They aren’t winning all their games but aren’t losing them either. They should be a lock for the playoffs but I don’t anticipate them doing much once they get there.”
10,Seattle Thunderbirds,27-20-6,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,11,”Seattle Thunderbirds~~It’s the same story every week for the thunderbirds. They don’t belong with the top teams nor do they belong with the bottom teams. Streaking wins together has been their biggest issue and will most likely cost them an early playoff exit. ”
11,Spokane Chiefs,25-23-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,12,”Spokane Chiefs~~Only three weeks ago, the Chiefs were hot and on everyone’s radar. Since then they have only won two of the last eleven and slipped far down the standings. It doesn’t get much easier for the Chiefs either as they have four more road games in a row.”
12,Edmonton Oil Kings,25-25-6,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,13,”Edmonton Oil Kings~~Call these guys the kings because they continue to leak oil. Now 3-7 in their last ten, they have fallen all the way back to .500. At this rate, they might fall out of the playoff picture. ”
13,Swift Current Broncos,25-23-5,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,14,”Swift Current Broncos~~It looks like the Broncos are trying salvage this season late. Winning four of the last five has planted them nine points inside the playoff line. With a big home stand upcoming, they could firmly plant themselves in the postseason. ”
14,Kootenay Ice,27-26-1,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -4,10,”Kootenay Ice~~The Ice had a brutal three game stretch this past week. Two games against the Wheat Kings and one against the Rockets. You can make an educated guess on how they did. This team just does not have the talent to compete with the WHL powerhouses. ”
15,Kamloops Blazers,21-29-6,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +2,17,”Kamloops Blazers~~The Blazers faced similar fates of the Ice by having to play the Rockets twice last week. Not surprisingly, they lost both of those. They are barely inside the playoff picture right now and will need to start winning sooner rather than later. ”
16,Tri-City Americans,25-26-3,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -1,15,”Tri-City Americans~~If the playoffs started today, the Americans would be in. Now a game under .500, they are a hefty six points ahead of the Giants for the final spot. ”
17,Prince Albert Raiders,21-31-2,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -1,16,”Prince Albert Raiders~~The Raiders are all but eliminated from playoff contention. Four teams ahead of them in the wildcard and eleven points behind is a big mountain to climb. They have been playing in a way that looks like they have even given up hope. ”
18,Vancouver Giants,22-29-3,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,19,”Vancouver Giants~~Surprisingly, seven games below .500 and the Giants can still make the playoffs. Vancouver will play the team ahead of them twice more this season, so they slightly control their own destiny. ”
19,Moose Jaw Warriors,21-28-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -1,18,”Moose Jaw Warriors~~It’s going to be challenging for the Warriors to salvage this season now. They are nine points out of the last wildcard spot with seven straight road games coming up. They are not in a spot where they can afford to lose many more games. ”
20,Prince George Cougars,21-32-3,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +2,22,”Prince George Cougars~~It is hard for me to fathom that a team 16 games below .500, this late in the season, can still make the playoffs. It is a daunting task though as only one of their remaining games is against teams above them.”
21,Lethbridge Hurricanes,15-32-6,—,21,”Lethbridge Hurricanes~~The Hurricanes are now just playing out the season. The playoff hopes are gone and they can start planning for next year. ”
22,Saskatoon Blades,15-34-3,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -2,20,”Saskatoon Blades~~Worst team in the league by far. In fact, if they won their next 26 games in a row and the Wheat Kings lost 26 in a row, the Blades would still be behind in the standings. Just think about that.”


Ryan Boshoven
Ryan is a former Division 1 athlete now working in the world of sport marketing. He earned his Master's Degree in Sports Business. He likes to spend his free time playing golf and going to sporting events. Ryan also has two brothers that are the same age as him. "Being a triplet is pretty awesome!" he says.
Previous Post

Final Four: Portland’s Best Sports Logo

Next Post

Oliver Bjorkstrand’s WHL Excellence