Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Back when we started the CHL Power Rankings in September, Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts were the top-ranked team, led by the scoring of Mikhail Grigorenko. Over the following four weeks, the Kamloops Blazers, led by the astounding scoring line of JC Lipon, Tim Bozon and Colin Smith, climbed up the charts and on Oct. 18, these teams were ranked 1-2.
Now, they’re nowhere to be found.
The Remparts ran into an overflow of European talent and decided to trade Nikita Kucherov to Rouyn-Noranda in favor of keeping Grigorenko and Nick Sorensen on board. Since then, Kucherov has seven goals and 14 points, while Sorensen struggled in the WJC and has slipped with six points in his past 10 games. Grigorenko, meanwhile, graduated to the Sabres and is unlikely to return. Quebec has lost five of its past seven, including and embarrassing 11-2 defeat against Halifax.
Kamloops no longer dominates the WHL scoring race. Smith has only seven points in his past 10, while Lipon has one goal since returning from the WJC. The Blazers have been a .500 hockey team this month, but still hang on to third in the WHL’s Western Conference.
This is why they play the games. With the playoffs drawing ever closer, races are tightening. Here is this week’s look at the top teams across the Canadian League.