Monday, January 07, 2008

What Now? / East Division Prediction

There are some questions that need to be asked around these parts.....

What are the Broncos plans at the deadline now that three teams within the conference - all with a legitimate chance of facing the Broncos in round one - have loaded up and declared "full speed ahead"?

Have we been beaten to the punch or is it simply posturing, perhaps a sell off?

I've noticed a lot of Bronco fans hit the panic button today after another team in the conference loaded up. I'm here to say simmer down.....

The Broncos would NEVER pay that price for what we've seen in Moose Jaw. No way. Essentially it amounts two first round picks for Ty Wishart (4 month player at most) and a 3rd rounder.

Im not here to say it's a bad deal. Not at all. Chad Lang had the nuts to go out and create some excitement around an otherwise good...not great team. Are they better today than yesterday? Without a doubt. Could a long playoff run jump start the new proposed arena? Most definitely.

The Warriors have been in a virtual cold war arms race with Regina all season long. This puts them in position to compete for a division title. And, you heard it here first folks....pending another blockbuster, the Warriors will be east division champs and at the very least the 2nd seed in the conference hitting the post-season.

This isn't based on the acquisition of Ty Wishart although that helps. It's based on the remaining schedule the Warriors have left. It's by far the easiest of any contender in the conference. Here's the breakdown and other notes to support this:

- The Warriors have 32 games left, four more than Regina, even with Brandon and two more than the Broncos.

- Of their 32 games 19 are at home and 13 are on the road.

- Of those 32 games they play Saskatoon (4 times), Prince Albert ( 3 times), Red Deer (2), Edmonton (2). For the record they play the Broncos six times for better or for worse.

- There isn't a remaining schedule that can hold a candle to the Warriors. I don't mind the Broncos sked either but it's nowhere near what the Warriors have in the final 10 weeks.

While we're talking schedules, the Kootenay Ice easily have the hardest road to travel. Five left against Calgary, four with Medicine Hat, two with Spokane and two longer road swings to boot.

The Pats, Warriors and Hitmen have thrown caution to the wind. They've made the statement it's their year to run. So, what's the Broncos next move?

First and foremost we need to know the condition of 20 year-old overage defenseman R.J. Larochelle. How long term is his injury? Is it season ending? If it is, then R.J.'s spot may be needed Thursday for another overage defenseman. Fans have been asking the question for awhile now. Best case scenario is that RJ will be ok and he can finish his WHL career with his hometown team.

This is the WHL though and with it comes a business side and tough decisions. Case in point: In Kelowna, the Rockets are openly talking about releasing their 20 year-old captain and heart and soul in James Mcewan because of what's a a long term injury to his arm after a deep gash from a skateblade severed two tendons.

Either way, something needs to be decided. And if you take stock in message board rumours than get excited. If not, than conitnue on as is.

I'm not expecting the Broncos to be overly active at the trade deadline but let's make no mistake, there is a ton of pressure on General Managers around the league to do something after three or four major moves already. Some of the major players have been scooped up but there's more out there. (Go back a few posts to see a list)

I've come to learn to expect the unexpected though. There could be major movement with some high end players coming and going in Broncoland. It's fun to speculate but the decisions will be made in the end by Broncos Head Coach / G.M. Dean Chynoweth and when they happen they'll be on this site first.

Stay tuned,


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