2018-2019 Regina Pats
Record: 19-45-1-3 (42 points) (20th overall)
0.309 Winning %
173 Goals For
271 Goals Against
Power Play 17.2% (18th overall)
Penalty Kill 76.5% (15th overall)
Penalty Minutes 843 (10th overall)

How did the Pats get to this point? It's no secret that the Pats were buyers over the last three years. We can't forget about the 2015-2016 deadline, when the Pats acquired Cole Sandford for Gary Haden, Brian Williams, a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. And then of course the Pats traded away a lot of resources over 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons in order to load up for a long playoff run and a Memorial Cup tournament. Ideally, it would be great if the Pats never had to ever hit rock bottom, but if you're going to spend a lot of resources in a span of three years, eventually something has to give somewhere and this year was the price that had to be paid for 3 years of spending.

So how did the Pats do? It's all relative, but I think they did about as good as I expected them to, given the circumstances. We knew that the Pats had to be sellers this year in order to recoupe as many draft picks / resources as they possibly could. It was no surprise that Jake Leschsyhyn, Nick Henry, Scott Mahovlich, Tanner Sidaway, Parker Gavlas and Aaron Hyman were traded away before the deadline. It wasn't surprising that Jadon Joseph was traded away either (the Pats received him from Lethbridge in the Henry and Leschyshyn trade). The only trade that was even remotely surprising was the Robbie Holmes trade to Everett as Holmes was a good candidate to keep around as a 20-year-old next season. But the Pats received an offer for him that they could not refuse and I felt at the time that, that would be the only way that the Pats would trade him away, so that's why I wasn't completely surprised by the trade. The Pats did acquire a few players in trades (Justyn Gurney, Tyson Feist, Carter Woodside, Dean McNabb, Kyle Walker, Blake Allan for Marco Creta, but overall, the Pats should definitely be classified as bigtime sellers this year and they needed to be.

After the dust settled, the Pats were left with 11 rookies, 2 capable/good 18-year-old goaltenders and a bunch of journeymen or non-elite veterans.

Coaching- John Paddock moved to the GM role full-time and was not on the bench at all this year. Dave Struch took over as the head coach and Brad Herauf remained as an assistant coach. No other assistant coaches were hired. I believe that they were happy with the group they had, which is why they never hired another coach.

The Pats are an offensive minded team and they are a lot of fun to watch when they have a high-powered offense. The problem is that they didn't have that this year as they gave up a lot more goals than they scored. A friend suggested to me earlier in the season that the Pats should hire a defensive minded coach as all of the current coaches are offensive minded and I see the value in that even if the Pats want to remain offensive minded team moving forward. The Pats are rebuilding, they do not have a high-powered offense anymore and they have a lot of young defencemen on the team, so if the Pats can't score goals, perhaps they would benefit by not giving up as many. Perhaps a defensive minded coach (e.g. a former NHL defenseman) could teach the young defencemen on the team a few things that perhaps the current coaching staff cannot?

Another thing to note, which is coaching related, is the lack to team discipline over the last few years. Having one of the most undisciplined teams in the league combined with one of the worst penalty kill % 'sin the league is a recipe for disaster. At one point in the season the Pats were one of the most penalized teams in the league and had the worst or second worst penalty kill. I don't have the stats, but from what I understand, the Pats had a really good PK in February, which significantly improved their overall PK%. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come and next year the Pats will be even more disciplined and have an even better PK. They pretty much have to keep improving in these two areas if they want to make the playoffs next year.

I saw improvement in a lot of players from the start to the end of the season, which the coaching staff deserves some credit for.

Overall, I think I have to give the coaches a pass on the season. The team was relatively competitive throughout the season with the young team they had. They won about as many games as I thought they would with the talent they had and were able to get through the season without getting blown out of the water 10-0 every night. I highly doubt there is a coach on the planet that could have made the playoffs with the young team that the Pats had (as sellers). A lack of team discipline certainly falls on the coaches, which they need to get a handle on, but a lack of elite talent and a lack of a defensive minded coach lies on the GM.

GM- Speaking of the GM, regardless of how I feel about the trades that he made over the last few years, I think he did a good job this year as a seller, replenishing the bantam draft picks etc. The Pats have put themselves in a position to be successful to the point where they now need to focus on picking the right players at the bantam draft. Picking the right players at the draft (every year) will help set the team up for success for years to come.

Austin Pratt – Credit to Austin for working hard in the off-season as it clearly paid off for him this year (25G, 26A). I believe that one way for the Pats to be competitive year in and year out is to recruit multiple quality American players. I know that the Pats acquired Austin in a trade last year and did not recruit him, but he's still an American, he led the Pats in points this year and the Pats need to recruit more quality American players. (Garret Wright and Makai Mitchell are both American as well). Hopefully Austin continues to work hard throughout the off-season (he says he will) and he comes back to have an even better year next year.

Ty Kolle – The Pats acquired him in a trade from Lethbridge. He's a smaller player, but he is a good skater and has the potential to be a productive one as well. My issue with him is that he was a 0.65pts/g player in Lethbridge, then he came to Regina and became a 0.37 pts/g player, while in a top 3/6 role. That level of production will not cut it next year as a 19-year-old. The Pats need him to be closer to a 1pt/g player moving forward. Credit to him for scoring 2 goals in the last game of the season +1 in the shootout, but I noticed in a few games before that, he was missing the net entirely on one-timers etc.. He just needs to put the puck on net more often and good things will happen.

Sergei Alkhimov – Sergei definitely came to the Pats as advertised. He puts his head down and surges forward like a bull. As a 17-year-old rookie, he had 13G and 14A, which is not too bad at all. He still has more offensive potential to tap into and I like the fact that he's a good skater and is strong on his skates (5'11 213lbs). He doesn't mind the rough stuff at all. It wouldn't surprise me if he scored 20+ goals and 20+ assists next year.

Riley Krane – Riley scored 12G and 12A as an 18-year-old rookie this year and was awarded the rookie of the year award before Sergei Alkhimov had something to say about it in the last two games of the season. Either way, Riley is a really good skater and well-rounded player and with 2 years of eligibility left, I certainly think that he has more offensive potential to tap into. It wouldn't surprise me if he was a 20G+ and 20A+ player next year.

Sebatian Streu – The Pats acquired him this year as a 19-year-old. He's a decent player, who put up 0.61pts/g as a 19-year-old. So far, him and Austin Pratt are the only two players on the team slated to be OA's next year. I'm not too sure what to think about him moving forward. He nearly tripled his production from last year, but that was largely because he had 5x as many assists this year. He only scored 7 goals this year (in 36 games). Perhaps he could have an even bigger year next year for the Pats or perhaps not. Do the Pats keep him next year as an OA or take a chance on someone else? I think it largely depends on what options the Pats have for OA's next year. It sounds like Sebastian plans on working hard in the off season so he can come back and be a leader on the team next year. We'll see what happens. A big year from him would be great though.

Duncan Pierce – I guess you could say that he had a “break out” season this year as an 18-year-old and was awarded the unsung hero award from the Pats. He scored 8G and 12A (.40pts/g), whereas over the last two years he was only producing at a rate of 0.06pts/g. That's a huge increase in production even though 0.40pts/g is not considered a lot in the WHL. He's a decent/good player, but I”m not too sure what to think about his potential for next year. I just hope that he has an even bigger year next year as a 19-year-old. He is a big / strong player, which will play to his advantage moving forward.

Koby Morrisseau – It's too bad that injuries have gotten in the way of his career. Hopefully he can get healthy, stay healthy, and have a big year next year as a 19 year old. He was a first round draft pick in 2015 and he has good size, he just needs to have some luck go his way for a change and stay healthy, so that he can try to get his career going.

Blake Allan – Blake is a good-sized 17-year-old rookie, who came to the Pats in a “hockey trade” with Kootenay for Marco Creta. He hasn't been a big producer for the Pats, but he has quietly went about his business, works hard in the corners and along the boards etc.. We'll just have to wait and see how he develops over the next couple of / few years.

Logan Nijhoff – He didn't have a huge year production wise (7G and 11A, 0.29pts/g) as a 17-year-old, but he basically took over from where Jake Leschyshyn left off, even though he hasn't been able to fill Jake's skates (yet?). From what I understand, Logan has been working hard at playing a 200ft game and won nearly half of the face offs that he took this year. I think he's a good hockey player and I expect him to have an even better year next year. That overtime goal he scored against Calgary, where he went end to end with the puck and put it top shelf is a testiment to the hard work that he put in this year.

Garrett Wright – Garrett was a 17-year-old rookie this year. When I saw him at the start of the season, he looked quite ordinary. By the end of the season, he was showing multiple flashes of speed and skill. He's a good skater and a good player in general and hopefully he can develop into a bigger producer in time. The goal he scored in Moose Jaw, where he flew down the wing and put it top shelf, was a beauty.

Carter Massier – Not unlike Garrett Wright, Carter looked like an ordinary player at the start of the season (as a 17-year-old rookie). By the end of the season, he was also showing multiple flashes of speed and skill. He led the Pats in short-handed goals (2) this year. Some people have been comparing him to Austin Wagner. While I think he's a good skater and has high-end break away speed, I'm not sure that he has Austin Wagner speed (..yet?). However, I do hope that he works hard in the off-season and becomes even more dangerous and puts up a lot of points next year. Carter does seem to have better hands and finish than Wagner though, so I think he has a lot of potential to put up a lot of points over the next few years. I was a big fan of Austin Wagner and I'm sure I'll be a big fan of Carter Massier if he “breaks out” in a similar fashion.

Cole Dubinsky – Cole was one of two 16-year-old rookies on the Pats this year. When I watched him play as a 15-year-old last year, what stood out to me was that he did a lot of the little things right. He worked hard, hit everyone in sight, he could stick handle, pass the puck, he could draw penalties by keeping his feet moving etc.. This year I believe he rolled his ankle before training camp, so he had to miss camp and the first part of the season. And then he was suspended for 4 games at the end of January, so he only ended up playing 47 games. There is a case to be made that he could have played in Midget AAA this year to further develop, but over the last month or so, he has elevated his game bigtime, so I don't think playing in the WHL has hindered or stunted his development.

Cole absolutely ran over Ty Thorpe of the Wheat Kings the other night. He scored a beautiful goal against Red Deer, where he went inside out on the defenseman, then picked the far corner. He had that behind the back pass to Alkhimov (and other passes) in Saskatoon, and of course there was the play against Brandon in the last home game of the season where he won the puck battle in the corner, skated behind the Wheat Kings net, and threw a no-look behind-the-back pass out to Alkhimov, who scored his second goal of the night. Not to mention his power play goal on the same night where he shot the puck from the side wall, which reminded me of a former Pats player, who I will not name. The skill level and understanding of the game that he displayed on the ice as a 16 year old this year was incredible and it's too bad that he couldn't have played more games this year. The thing about Cole is that he can skate with the puck and make plays. He's not just a shooter, he can set his teammates up as well, which is huge. I think he has a fairly high ceiling and it wouldn't surprise me if he puts up a lot of points before his WHL career is over.

Cole should be able to score 10G and 10A next year for sure, but if he has a good off-season, a strong camp, stays healthy and earns a lot of ice-time and opportunity next year, who knows what kind of points he could put up.

Steven Zonneveld – It was Steven's 17 year old rookie season. He's a big kid and seems to be a decent hockey player. He's not the most graceful skater as he seems a little bit lanky, but he has a big frame and it will be interesting to see how he develops over the next couple of / few years.

Tyson Feist – It was Tyson's 17 year old rookie season as well. He's about the same size as Zonneveld and he seems like a decent/good player as well. One positive thing about Tyson is that he is not afraid to drop the gloves. He tko'd Davis Murray with one upper cut and gave Riley McKay all that he could handle. It'll be interesting to see how he develops over the next couple of / few years as well.

Kyle Walker – It was Kyle's 18 year old season this year. He's a big strong defenseman and he is pretty good hockey player as well. With Brady Pouteau and Liam Schioler moving on next year, the Pats should be looking at Kyle to take more of a leadership role on defense next year.

Nikita Sedov – At the start of Nikita's (17 year old rookie) season, it seemed like a lot of people were talking about him as he was on NHL's Central Scouting preliminary players to watch list in early October (and in November). However, he did not stand out a whole lot to me. I wasn't really seeing what other people were seeing. He has since fallen off NHL Central Scouting's list of (221) players. However, I have taken notice to his game as the season has went along. He's a really good skater, he can carry the puck and he seems like a well-rounded player in general. He was the Pats' defenseman of the year this year as he had the most points for a defenseman (19A). Nikita Sedov and Ryker Evans should be the Pats' two best offensive defencemen next year. I can see them both playing a lot of minutes in general and on special teams.

Ryker Evans – It was Ryker's 17 year old rookie season this year and he did not disappoint. I noticed early in the season that he was a great skater and that he possessed a well-rounded skill set, even though he is a smaller player. He only got better as the season went along. If Dawson Davidson can lead the league in points for defencemen as a 20-year-old and Aaron Hyman can be a top 10 defenseman as a 20-year-old, I don't see why Ryker Evans can't be one of the best defencemen in the league at some point down the line as well.

Makai Mitchell – It was Makai's 16 year old rookie season this year (he only played 24 games) and I think he had a pretty good showing for being a 16 year old. He already has good size (6'1 194lbs) and he seems to have good hockey sense. He needs to work on his foot speed and get stronger in the off-season, but in terms of his ability to play hockey, I think he has the potential to be a really good defenseman at the WHL level.

Max Paddock
– With the way Max played last year in the second half of the season as well as in the Memorial Cup Final, I was hoping that he would have a really solid season this year. He ended up having a slow start to the season, but then he started playing better / more consistent in the second half. He ended up earning two shut outs this year and making a lot of big saves along the way. I think Max is a really good goaltender, he just needs to stay focused and play his best for an entire season and not just for the second half of the season.

Dean McNabb – I think Dean put in a lot of effort this year and he showed that he's a capable goaltender at the WHL level. He earned 1 shutout this year and made a lot of big saves as well. Him and Max both stood on their heads at times and it was great to see when it happened. However, with Dean and Max both being 19 next year, there's a good chance that one of them will get traded in the off-season or at some point before the deadline.

How do the Pats keep this rebuild going? I don't know what John Paddock will do, but:

Bantam Draft – The Pats need to draft the best players that they possibly can with the picks that they have. This is one area where they can gain a lot of ground on other teams. It's difficult to build a Championship team through trades and it's also extremely expensive.

Develop the current players – Develop and coach your players better than other teams! I think the Pats have done a pretty good job in this regard over the last few years. Having talent with a lot of potential always helps.

Recruit quality American players – I've said for a while that the Pats need to recruit more quality American players. Currently, the Pats have Austin Pratt, Garrett Wright and Makai Mitchell on their roster. There's also the possibility that Jake Johnson and Ty Smilanic (and hopefully others) will join the team over the next couple of years. Apparently Jake Johnson was born in Canada, but lives in the USA. I'm not sure if he's considered to be Canadian or American (in the eyes of the WHL) or if he has dual citizenship and can decide which country that he wants to represent (not that it really matters at the WHL level).

Import Draft – There is the option of trading / releasing one of the current import players in hopes of drafting a high-end veteran import sniper (or defenceman), but it remains to be seen if John Paddock wants to go that route or not. Egor Zamula is a top 10 scoring defenseman this year, after the Pats released him last year, in order to make room for Libor Hajek. Of course, John Paddock had to make that move at the time and I am not suggesting that Nikita Sedov will be a top scoring defenseman in the league if the Pats decide to go a different route next year. John Paddock will have to determine how well he thinks Sergei Alkhimov and Nikita Sedov will play over the next couple of years and weight that in comparison to the potential import player(s) that he may be able to draft over the next couple of years, in order to make a decision. With the Pats having the ability to pick high in the import draft next year, they should be able to upgrade one of their import players for next year, but that doesn't necessarily mean that John Paddock will go that route. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

Recruiting quality Canadian players that are committed to playing college hockey in the USA – For example, Nick Henry

Trades - The Pats might acquire more assets by trading away more players next year (e.g. a 19 year old goaltender)