RED DEER – The Brandon Wheat Kings were the final team to book their ticket to the Mastercard Memorial Cup, after defeating the Seattle Thunderbirds 8-4. With Brandon heading to Red Deer, that means that the four teams participating in the tournament will be, host team the Red Deer Rebels, the Wheat Kings, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, and the London Knights. Heading into the tournament, this pre-tournament ranking is my prediction for who will win this season’s Mastercard Memorial Cup.
4) Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – QMJHL Champions
Though with players such as Timo Meier and Francis Perron, the Huskies has the least depth in comparison with the other three teams. Plus, what also doesn’t help their case is that they’ll most likely be without their star defensemen Jeremy Lauzon, who suffered a gruesome neck injury in the QMJHL playoffs this past April.
3) Red Deer Rebels – WHL (Host)
Though the host city Rebels did get ousted in the third round by WHL Champs Brandon, have a better squad than the Huskies. Led by excellent players such as Conner Bleakeley, Adam Musil, and Haydn Fleury, in the past the Host city has gone far in the tournament. Watch for Boston first rounder Jake DeBrusk, who was acquired by head coach and GM Brent Sutter at the deadline. If DeBrusk can be a gamebreaker for the Rebels, watch for them to do some damage.
2) London Knights – OHL Champions
For the fourth time in five years, the London Knights are back in the Memorial Cup Finals. The only thing this organization hasn’t done in the past five years, is win the Memorial Cup. Mitch Marner has been a man amongst boys this entire season, and dominated the playoffs. Christian Dvorak and Matt Tkachuk are great players themselves, and Tyler Parsons between the pipes has been a rock for this Knights squad. Could this be the year, the Knights finally get the job done?
1) Brandon Wheat Kings – WHL Champions
Yeah, Brandon better than London? Brandon has the offensive firepower London has with studs such as Jayce Hawryluk and Nolan Patrick. The two-way play of John Quenneville, as he will be the guy to shut down the opposing team’s top line, and shadow their top player. Not to mention, Brandon does have the best player in the tournament in my opinion, in Ivan Provorov, who is a stud on both ends of the ice.