Don’t expect much out of the Regina Pats in 2010-11
by Autumn McDowell, Sports Writer
After yet another season of underachieving in 2009-10, it would appear that the Regina Pats can only go up.
Because they are the oldest franchise in the Western Hockey League, one would think that the Pats could have perfected the formula for winning by now, but that just isn’t the case. Although the Pats definitely have some top notch players, it looks like the team has already written the 2010-11 season off as a “rebuilding” season, which is just an excuse in case they fail to make the playoffs once again.
In an attempt to save this sinking team, the Pats used the offseason to make some changes behind the scenes, but it’s not clear if that will make a difference. The Pats hired GM Chad Lang to replace Brent Parker. However, the Pats couldn’t fully rid themselves of Parker as he seems to have promoted himself to be the team’s president and governor. Returning behind the bench this year will be head coach Curtis Hunt. as well as his sidekick Shawn Sutter. The duo seemed to work well together last year, even though the team struggled. Hunt has gone on the record saying that he blames himself for last year, but everyone knows Parker was the mastermind behind last season.
Although the Pats are a team with many lows, they do have a few high points. The highest point is standout forward Jordan Weal. With the departure of veteran forwards Jordan Eberle, Matt Strueby, and Brett Leffler, Weal will definitely be looked at to carry the team on his shoulders this year, at least when it comes to scoring goals. Back in June, Weal was taken 70th overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft by the Los Angeles Kings. Obviously, the biggest knock against Weal is his size, listed at a generous 5’9, but his speed and nose for the net more than make up for his small stature.
The Pats recently got news that right wing Carter Ashton has returned from the Tampa Bay Lightning and will also be looked at to take up a large portion of the scoring. Captain Garrett Mitchell will be leading the Pats, but I doubt it will be on the score sheets. Sure, he will chip in where he can, but Mitchell is best known for his grit and work ethic, not necessarily his sense for scoring.
The blue line will be looking a lot younger and smaller this year, with Colten Teubert and Mitch McColm moving on. However, Brandon Davidson will be returning as a sophomore to help out on defence after his stellar rookie season. Cody Carlson and Myles Bell, who both had great seasons in Regina last year, will also be returning to the back end. Carlson will help chip in on offence as well. Although none of the defencemen are guys that are purely on the team to fight, none of the guys are afraid to drop the gloves either, which is something everyone loves to see.
Damian Ketlo will be back as the guy who needs to be the best penalty killer, the goalie. Although Ketlo is without a doubt the number one goalie for the Blue and White, Dawson Guhle will be hot on his heels fighting for more ice time.
The Pats sported just a 1-4-1-0 record during this year’s preseason, and although that record isn’t exactly something to be proud of, it’s just the preseason and in the long run, this stat won’t matter. If the Pats can stay consistent throughout the season, then maybe the dream of making it to the playoffs will still be alive. Otherwise, fans may as well start saying their goodbyes to Hunt now.