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Three (Future) Star Selection: Portland Winterhawks

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Size:  3.1 KBIn this edition of Three (Future) Star selection we’ll take a look at the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.

In existence since the 1976-1977 season, the Winterhawks have come a long way from humble beginnings, that being a transfer franchise who couldn’t afford new uniforms in their first year. The uniforms they eventually wore were a used set from the Chicago Blackhawks. Early pictures feature the Blackhawks telltale “C” on the shoulders, later to be changed to a “P”.

While the team may have lacked flashy uniforms, their play on the ice certainly didn’t suffer, setting a standard for future Wintehawk teams. In fact, since their inception, the Winterhawks have missed the WHL playoffs only seven times, the first time being the 1987-1988 season. Winners of two Presidents trophies, the Winterhawks have climbed the mountain twice, winning the Memorial Cup in 1982-1983 and again in 1997-1998. Currently ranked as the top team in the CHL, the Winterhawks are poised to take a run at Memorial Cup number three.

And talk about a pipeline to the NHL. No less than 103 Winterhawk alumni have skated in the NHL and they have produced 27 first round picks. Notable names include current NHLer’s Marian Hossa, Brendan Morrow, retried brothers Wayne and Dave Babych, and Hall of Fame members Mark Messier and Cam Neely.Click image for larger version. 

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Third Star: Mac Carruth (20) – Portland Winterhawks – Goalie - @maccarruth31
Drafted and signed by the Chicago Blackhawks, if nothing else, at least Carruth will be used to the jersey. The Winterhawks all time leader in wins (115) and shutouts (11), Carruth clearly knows how to stop the puck, using all of his six foot three inch frame to his advantage. Expect some seasoning in the AHL before watching him in the big show.

Fantasy Value- two out of three stars

Second Star: Ty Rattie (20) – Portland Winterhawks – Winger - @TyRattie8
Selected 32nd overall by the St Louis Blues in 2011, Rattie raised his game to another level at this year’s World Junior championships. Since his return from the tournament, Rattie has been on a torrid scoring pace, sitting with 94 points in 54 games. An offensive whiz, the most impressive stat is a whopping plus 52, proving he knows how to play both sides of the puck.

Fantasy Value – three out of three stars

First Star: Seth Jones (18) – Portland Winterhawks – Defenseman - @seth_jones3
The potential first overall pick in this year’s draft, Jones has gotten stronger as the season has gone on. Dangerous in all situations, Jones has just begun to scratch the surface of his talent. Listed at six foot four and 206 pounds, he makes good decisions on offence, has a canon for a shot and great hockey vision. Defensively, while still prone to lapses in zone coverage, Jones covers a lot of ice with his large frame and has a genuine mean streak on the ice. 47 points in 53 games are great numbers for a WHL rookie defenseman.

Fantasy Value – three out of three stars

Led by these three players, this may be the best Winterhawk team ever. However, this lineup is amazing from top to bottom. The Winterhawks boast two goaltenders with at least 20 wins (Carruth and Brendan Burke), a defensive corp. that includes four players with 35 points or more (Tyler Wotherspoon, Troy Rutkowski, Derrick Pouliot and Jones), and a forward group that includes three of the top four scorers in the WHL this season (Brendan Leipsic 110 points, Nicolas Petan 106 points and Rattie 94 points). Again, the most telling stat is plus/minus. The Winterhawks have 6 players in the top 10 and eight in the top 15 in that category with numbers ranging from plus 36 to an amazing plus 64. Look out all other teams in the CHL, the Winterhawks are for real.

As always, I invite your comments and opinions and thank you for taking the time to read Three (Future) Star Selection. Join me on Twitter @fiveminutemajor

Comments

  1. Coach Pharling's Avatar
    Another great piece. Wow those plus/minus stats are pretty impressive!