Looking at some 2016-17 CHL league champions in this Sunday Ramblings...
Two-of-three Canadian major Junior league playoffs have come to an end and team's have earned the titles of the best in their region. Our own Kevin LeBlanc Rambled earlier this week with some updates from every series - now let's take a look at the outstanding members of each victorious squad:
Champions: Erie Otters
MVP: Warren Foegele (CAR)
The Otters loaded up at the trade deadline and were rewarded when addition Anthony Cirelli (TBL) lived up to his reputation as a clutch performer and tallied the overtime game-winner. Erie trailed by two goals for most of the final game, but made a last-minute (technically 1:15) comeback to force OT when Taylor Raddysh (TBL) competed his hat-trick. Let's not forget Dylan Strome (ARI) who had 3 assists in the winning effort, including the primary on the game-winner. Finishing the playoffs with 22 games played, its no surprise that many Otters are atop the list in post-season scoring. Alex DeBrincat (CHI) led the way with 38 points, followed by teammates Strome (34), Cirelli (31), and Raddysh (31). MVP Foegele is 6th on that list with 26. Foegele proved to be another key deadline pickup, scoring keys goals throughout the playoff run including OT and shorthanded game winners.
All of the players mentionned above were high-profile names before the playoffs started, but Foegele and Cirelli have really increased their fantasy stock this postseason. Its probably too late now to pick them up for nothing, but if you're already an owner, congrats on having top value to work with this off season. Both Foegele and Cirelli are at least 2 years away from NHL consideration, so don't be afraid of trading this good value now for something more immediate if you need.
Champions: St. John Sea Dogs
MVP: Thomas Chabot (OTT)
Ready for another big name living up to the hype? Thomas Chabot earned his MVP honors by being a fantastic all-around d-man in the playoffs while also putting up 23 points in 18 games played (leading all defenders). He becomes the first defenceman in 15 years to win the award. The winning effort was a dominant one, completing the series sweep with a 5-1 victory on the road. Mathieu Joseph (TBL) dished out four assists in the win, enough to earn him first place in playoff scoring with 32 points. The only player even close to Joseph in the scoring race was Armada forward Alex Barre-Boulet (LA), who put up an impressive 31 points in the postseason. One of the biggest stories of the series and playoffs was Sea Dogs trade-deadline pickup goaltender Callum Booth (CAR) putting on a clinic. He started all 18 games for St. John and finished with a 0.923 SV% and a 1.67 GAA. If it were't for Chabot's dominance on the blueline, he would've been a valid choice for tournament MVP. I'd say they won the trade.
There should be zero chance of Chabot not being owned in your dynasty leagues, but Joseph and Booth were not big names before now. Both are worth a look as freebie pickups, but neither hold the value of some of the future stars on the OHL section above. Tampa Bay is loaded with offensive prospects which dilutes Joseph's value there, that being said, at least one or two of their supply of scorers will eventually make it into their future top-six...and that's very valuable fantasy property. Goaltenders are voodoo and I won't try to predict Booth's future, but his consective starts and steady numbers are obviously very promising.
Game 6 of the finals is tonight between the Regina Pats and the Seattle Thunderbirds. Try to catch it at 6:00PM MDT - there have been some high-scoring games so far in the series so this should be a doozie as Seatte tries to finish off the tournament.
As always, thank you for readings and enjoy the last handful of games remaining in every league you watch. Savor our great sport now before the long summer begins.