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2016 Memorial Cup Predictions

By HockeyNow on May 18, 2016

The panel has spoken. We asked our Major Junior writers to give us their predictions on how teams will stack up at the Memorial Cup, and if their opinion means anything, which in our opinion (if our opinion means anything) it does, one team is certainly emerging as the favourite.

Ryan McCracken, WHL
[1] Knights    [2] Wheat Kings    [3] Huskies    [4] Rebels 

Mitch Marner magic is on the horizon. The 19-year-old London Knights forward has been making national highlight reels all season long, and after leading London to a four-game sweep over the Niagara IceDogs, the Knights stand as the biggest threat entering this year’s Memorial Cup. 

The powerhouse Brandon Wheat Kings will provide a formidable challenge, and could even pull off the upset if players like Nolan Patrick and Jayce Hawryluk can keep clicking at peak performance. 

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies enter the tournament following their first-ever QMJHL championship, but they’ll face a steep uphill climb out west. While they boast some serious talent up front in the likes of winger Francis Perron, they’ve got a lot to prove against some junior hockey juggernauts. 

Finally, the host Red Deer Rebels will see a strong boost from their hometown crowd at the ENMAX Centrium, but they’ll be in tough at this year’s big show—even after the long list of blockbuster trades arranged by owner, head coach and general manager Brent Sutter.

Iain Colpitts, OHL
[1] Knights    [2] Huskies    [3] Wheat Kings    [4] Rebels 

With their star-studded lineup, the Knights enter the Memorial Cup as the belles of the ball. There doesn’t seem to be any weaknesses in the lineup as London led the OHL in both goals for and against this season.

Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk are the obvious threats on the front end and Tyler Parsons has been excellent as the last line of defence.

Rouyn-Noranda is built similarly, with enough high-end talent up front and a stingy defence backed by overager Chase Marchand, who was lights out in the playoffs with a 1.35 goals against average and .946 save percentage.

Brandon and Red Deer will make things difficult. The Wheat Kings especially should make a pretty good run and it will be interesting to see what WHL MVP Nolan Patrick can do on the grand showcase.

Many early forecasts for the 2017 NHL Draft have him going first overall.

However, goaltending will dictate who hoists the trophy and the Knights and Huskies look stronger between the pipes.

Mike Beasley, QMJHL
[1] Knights    [2] Huskies    [3] Rebels     [4] Wheat Kings 

The 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup will mark London’s fourth trip to the national championship in the last five years.

In their previous three appearances, the Knights lost in OT, and finished third and fourth, so they will be hungry to add a second Memorial Cup to their collection.

London is loaded up front with Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk and is on a postseason roll, outscoring their opposition 84-40 and sweeping the last three rounds of the playoffs.

Rouyn-Noranda is fast, highly skilled and can play both ends of the rink scoring. The Huskies were ranked atop the CHL weekly rankings for most of the season and finished the year with an impressive 54-9-3-2 record.

The host Red Deer Rebels will start the tournament well-rested and play before their boisterous, hometown fans, which is always a bonus.

For the Brandon Wheat Kings, winning the WHL championship is a grind in itself with travel, fatigue and injuries, which could potentially affect their performance.

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By HockeyNow| May 18, 2016
Categories:  Major Junior|Events

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