WHL Power Rankings – Week 23: Playoff Picture Clearing Up


Not much changed at the top of these rankings. Approaching the last three weeks of the regular season, the playoff picture is starting to clear up. Especially in the east where it is all but certain who the eight teams will be. The water is a tad murkier out west, where five teams are vying for three total spots.

Portland continues to play good hockey. They are slowly but surely creeping up on the Silvertips for the division lead. What seemed like months of solid goaltending from this team has now turned into a goal-scoring rampage. This team has scored more than five goals in each of the last four games. If they keep that up, the Silvertips have no chance of holding them off. The Winterhawks have both a game in hand as well as a game against the Silvertips.

With almost certain control of their own destiny, the hole the Winterhawks dug at the start of the year is almost officially filled in.

Checkout where the Winterhawks fell in Week 23’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,44-10-6,—,1,”Brandon Wheat Kings~~No surprises here, the Wheat Kings are still one of the two best teams in the WHL. In fact, the Wheat Kings and the Rockets are clearly an arm and a leg above the rest of the league. They are the Eastern Conference favorites by a big margin. ”
1a,Kelowna Rockets,46-10-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,2,”Kelowna Rockets~~I have put them at 1a because they don’t deserve to be #2 with how good they are. They actually have a better record than the Wheat Kings. They are the Western Conference favorites by a big margin. ”
3,Calgary Hitmen,36-18-5,—,3,”Calgary Hitmen~~Ten games ago, the Hitmen were 14 points back for the division lead. As of now, they are tied for the division lead. ”
4,Portland Winter Hawks,35-20-4,—,4,”Portland Winterhawks~~The Winterhawks gained ground on the division lead. With 22 goals in the last four games, it looks like they are surging. I still think they catch Everett solely based off strength of schedule. ”
5,Victoria Royals,33-23-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,6,”Victoria Royals~~Victoria is locked in the second position of their division. They are playing well right now, but with no motivation other than to stay conditioned for the playoffs; the Royals could start parking the bus. ”
6,Everett Silvertips,36-17-7,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,7,”Everett Silvertips~~The Silvertips are feeling the pressure of holding onto a division lead. The Winterhawks keep on winning and are right on their heels. I don’t think they will hold onto the lead. ”
7,Medicine Hat Tigers,37-20-3,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -2,5,”Medicine Hat Tigers~~The Tigers continue their free fall in the standings. They had the division wrapped up two weeks ago, and all of the sudden have been caught. I once thought this team was one of the elite teams in the WHL. I am rethinking that thought at the moment. ”
8,Seattle Thunderbirds,31-21-7,—,8,”Seattle Thunderbirds~~The Thunderbirds are flying high right now. It is a long shot to win the division, but they have firmly planted themselves in the playoffs by winning seven of the last nine. Lets all hope they meet the Winterhawks in the playoffs for an epic battle.”
9,Regina Pats,33-19-7,—,9,”Regina Pats~~The Pats are in the same position as the Royals. They are locked into their position in the standings. This means they do not have anything to play for the last couple weeks of the year, so I see their quality of play slipping. ”
10,Swift Current Broncos,29-25-5,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +3,13,”Swift Current Broncos~~The Broncos have decided to play some of their best hockey at the right time of the season. They needed it too as they were slumping but have now put themselves in a stress free position in regards to the playoff picture.”
11,Kootenay Ice,31-27-2,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +3,14,”Kootenay Ice~~The Ice have not lost in regulation in four games now, which means that they are now 11 points inside the dreaded wildcard line. They have a slim chance at a division title if lots of things fall right for them. ”
12,Red Deer Rebels,30-20-9,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -2,10,”Red Deer Rebels~~Red Deer seems to be playing a tad anxious at the moment. They seem to be afraid to lose, which is actually causing them to lose. If they keep this up, they will slip out of the division and into the wildcard. ”
13,Spokane Chiefs,27-27-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -2,11,”Spokane Chiefs~~Spokane is in the middle of the hotly contested Western Conference wildcard race. Due to the U.S. division being so tough, the Chiefs are competing with five teams for two wildcard spots. Fortunately, they are in first out of those five teams right now. ”
14,Edmonton Oil Kings,27-27-6,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -2,12,”Edmonton Oil Kings~~The defendings champions haven’t exactly had a season to write home to mom about. Yet, they are most likely going to make the playoffs and have clearly proven they can win playoff games. Can anyone say sleeper?”
15,Vancouver Giants,26-31-3,—,15,”Vancouver Giants~~The Giants are in a tight race to make the playoffs. From what it looks like, they either make it in as the third team in the division, or miss the playoffs. With both Kamloops and P.G. right on their heels, they better keep winning. ”
16,Tri-City Americans,27-30-3,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,17,”Tri-City Americans~~The Americans are on life support. Only three wins in last ten have them sneaking into the playoffs as we speak. The upcoming schedule for the Americans is a real doozy too. I see this coming down to the last game of the season. ”
17,Prince Albert Raiders,24-33-3,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,18,”Prince Albert Raiders~~The Raiders are going to need a bigger miracle than the 1980 USA hockey team. Out of all the teams with a chance to make the playoffs, the odds for the Raiders are the slimmest. Winning three of the last ten didn’t help either. ”
18,Moose Jaw Warriors,24-31-5,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,19,”Moose Jaw Warriors~~I think the Warriors are in the same boat as the Raiders. All but certain to be out of the playoffs barring a modern day miracle. If anyone can do it though, it’s not the Warriors. ”
19,Kamloops Blazers,22-33-6,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -3,16,”Kamloops Blazers~~The Blazers might currently sit last place in the west, but with one good week could find themselves jumping the wild card teams. As a sports fan, I am rooting for this to happen since no one thought it was possible. ”
20,Prince George Cougars,24-33-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-up] +1,21,”Prince George Cougars~~The Cougars are fighting and grinding for a chance to make the playoffs. They continue to win and lose about the same amount of games each week, which is not helping them gain ground. ”
21,Lethbridge Hurricanes,18-35-7,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -1,20,”Lethbridge Hurricanes~~The second worst team in the league without argument. ”
22,Saskatoon Blades,17-39-4,[icon name=icon-arrow-down] -2,20,”Saskatoon Blades~~The worst team in the league, without argument. ”


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.