Here’s a look at the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference heading into the 2013-14 season.
Saskatoon Blades (Last Season: 44-22-2-4; 1st in East Division)
A complete rebuild would seem accurate these days in Saskatoon as the organization enters its 50th year in the WHL. The off-season included significant change, as new ownership is now in place. In recent years, the team has traded high draft picks for veteran relief, none of which has resulted in much post-season success on the ice. Having hosted the most recent Memorial Cup tournament, it will be some time before the team threatens to earn another berth in the national championship event.
It's not easy to repeat as league champions, but the Edmonton Oil Kings appear poised to potentially buck that trend as they return a large portion of their WHL Championship team from last season. They might get a slight push from the Calgary Hitmen and Saskatoon Blades, but those are really the only two teams who can come even remotely close to matching the overall talent the Oil Kings possess.