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Saskatoon Blades Rank Third in Pre-Season Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings

September 18, 2019 - Western Hockey League (WHL) News Release

Toronto, Ont. - The Canadian Hockey League today announced the pre-season edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2019-20 season. The weekly rankings of the CHL's Top-10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

With promising talent on their roster, the Saskatoon Blades earned the third spot in the pre-season rankings. The Blades posted a 4-0-1-0 record in five pre-season contests, leading the East Division and sitting fifth overall in the 2019 Western Hockey League Pre-season with nine points. While Kirby Dach, the third-overall selection from the 2019 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, was not in attendance, he will look to guide the Blades offensively if he returns. Younger players on the roster including 2020 NHL Draft prospect Kyle Crnkovic and rookie Colton Dach, who showed promise during the pre-season in terms of offensive production, generating nine points (3G-6A) and six points (4G-2A), respectively. The Blades begin their season on the road, visiting their division rivals, the Prince Albert Raiders, on Friday, September 20 (7:00 p.m. MT) at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Kamloops Blazers were the next WHL team featured in the Kia CHL Top 10 this week, earning spot number five on the list. The Blazers led the way in the pre-season standings with seven straight wins. Rookie and 2021 NHL Draft prospect Logan Stankoven totaled 15 points (8G-7A) with Zane Franklin and Orrin Centazzo following in the second and third place, respectively. The Blazers will open their 2019-20 WHL Regular Season at home when they host the Spokane Chiefs on Friday, September 20 (7:00 p.m. PT) at the Sandman Centre.

Occupying the eighth spot on the list were the Edmonton Oil Kings. Much like the Blazers, the Oil Kings also achieved a perfect record, going 5-0-0-0 in the pre-season. With young stars in 2020 NHL Draft prospect Jake Neighbours and Dylan Guenther, the first overall selection from the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, the Oil Kings could be a top contender in the tough Central Division. On defence, New York Rangers prospect Matthew Robertson will also look to guide the team and improve on his 33-point (7G-26A) performance from last year. The Oil Kings' opening game of the season will see them play the role of visitor against the Red Deer Rebels on Friday, September 20 (7:00 p.m. MT) at the Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer, Alta.

The Vancouver Giants were placed 10th on the CHL's Top-10 Rankings. Bowen Byram, the fourth-overall selection at the 2019 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, could return to lead the Giants. In net, the combination of Arizona Coyotes prospect David Tendeck and Avalanche prospect Trent Miner, the back half of the Giants looks strong. Justin Sourdif, a highly-ranked 2020 NHL Draft prospect, will also look to step up his performance next season for the Giants and take on more responsibility as an offensive leader. Hitting the road to start their season, the Giants will face off against the Prince George Cougars (7:00 p.m. PT) at the CN Centre in Prince George, B.C.

Earning an honourable mention this week was the Calgary Hitmen. Although they went 2-2-0-0 in the pre-season play, expect the Hitmen to bring a strong performance to every game this season with their carefully-crafted roster. Building around captain and Ottawa Senators prospect Mark Kastelic for his 20-year-old season, the Hitmen have a talented group of forwards to lead them to the top. Combine that with the addition of Vancouver Canucks prospect Jett Woo, Philadelphia Flyers prospect Egor Zamula, and overage stalwart Dakota Krebs and Calgary looks ready to contend this season. Breakout star Jack McNaughton will also play a key role in Calgary's success between the pipes. The Hitmen will open their season against the Swift Current Broncos, on Saturday, September 21 (7:30 p.m. MT) in Swift Current, Sask.

Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings - Preseason

Rank: Team: Last Week Rank: Number of Weeks Ranked:

1 London Knights - -

2 Chicoutimi Sagueneens - -

3 Saskatoon Blades - -

4 Ottawa 67's - -

5 Kamloops Blazers - -

6 Halifax Mooseheads - -

7 Saginaw Spirit - -

8 Edmonton Oil Kings - -

9 Sherbrooke Phoenix - -

10 Vancouver Giants - -

Honourable Mention:

Peterborough Petes - -

Moncton Wildcats - -

Calgary Hitmen - -


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