The Western Hockey League’s January 10 trade deadline is less than two weeks away. As is typical for this time of the year, Brandon’s Wheat Kings may have some decisions to make.
Currently sitting in the final available playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, if the post-season started today they would have the unenviable task of matching up with the Prince Albert Raiders in the first round. What’s so bad about that you ask? Well at 67 points the Raiders are currently on pace for the most ever by any team in the history of the league. They also happen to have out-scored the BWK 16-4 in winning all three head-to-head matchups so far this year. Anything’s possible in junior hockey but there aren’t a lot of teams that would choose to be in that position if they had the option.
On the other hand a move up just one more spot in the standings and Brandon could draw a Central Division team in the first round. That would be a quality opponent in its own right but one perhaps closer to the Wheat Kings' equal if the current standings are any gauge.
One year ago Wheat Kings General Manager Grant Armstrong shocked the junior hockey world by trading veterans Tanner Kaspick and Kale Clague shortly before the trade deadline in exchange for players, prospects and draft picks. Last season was a unique setup in the sense that other teams in the East were engaged in an “arms race” of sort, creating trading conditions that aren’t necessarily there in a regular year.
Fans recently took to an eBrandon discussion to discuss this year’s team and what might lie ahead. You can see what those folks think and chip in with your own two cents in the attached discussion thread.