Finally, it's my Parting Shot to preview the 2017-18 season for the Saskatoon Blades...which will then elicit a phone call from my biggest fan, Gary from Warman, one of his two or three calls a year that I now ignore as soon as I hear his voice...
After four seasons of not being in the W-H-L playoffs, the Bridge City Bunch will make a return this year...even if they are in the consensus toughest division in the league!
It's the toughest because you have Memorial Cup-host Regina, who should be the best second-half team while trying to piece together a lineup through the first half. Then, there's Moose Jaw, with three excellent overage forwards and two other 19-year-olds in Brett Howden and Noah Gregor plus young, star defencemen Josh Brook and Jett Woo. To me, the Warriors are not just the class of the East Division, but also of the Eastern Conference and the entire W-H-L!
After that, the Blades, Swift Current, Prince Albert and Brandon should all be .500 or better as they should dominate the, finally, weaker Central Division. I expect three of those four teams to qualify for the post-season...one in third place and the other two in the wild-card spots. It's those latter two where I expect Saskatoon to finish...thanks to not having to trade to fill their 20-year-old quota, better offence with the return of Cam Hebig, a veteran D corps from top to bottom and a solid goaltender in Ryan Kubic!