Last season, the Western League's Edmonton Oil Kings toppled Guelph of the Ontario League to win the Memorial Cup. Can the Oil Kings get back on top, despite losing a bunch of players and coach Derek Laxdal? Their old foes from Portland are still dangerous, while some new names are rising up, too. I consulted with a crew of experts from the region to put together power rankings for the league, then added one name to know for each team:
1. Portland Winterhawks – One to watch: Winnipeg Jets pick Nic Petan is a points machine who will gun for his second scoring title in three years.
2. Calgary Hitmen – Once Jake Virtanen is back from his shoulder injury, the Vancouver first-rounder will be a dominant offensive force.
3. Kelowna Rockets – Washington Capitals prospect Madison Bowey will anchor the blueline with his size and offensive talent.
4. Brandon Wheat Kings – New Jersey first-rounder John Quenneville will bring back his diverse game at center, where his strengths include skating and playmaking.
5. Victoria Royals – Draft-eligible center Tyler Soy is quick on his skates and helped Canada win gold at this summer's Ivan Hlinka tournament.
6. Edmonton Oil Kings – Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Tristan Jarry will have to be excellent in net again, with several top Oil Kings gone from last year's squad.
7. Swift Current Broncos – Dallas first-rounder Julius Honka was excellent for the Stars in Traverse City, exhibiting his elite offensive game from the blueline.
8. Seattle Thunderbirds – Draft-eligible center Mathew Barzal is a dynamic prospect with speed and quick hands destined to go in the top 10.
9. Regina Pats – It's all about Calgary Flames first-rounder Morgan Klimchuk. The left winger is a scoring machine who also works hard and plays with grit.
10. Red Deer Rebels – Carolina Hurricanes first-rounder Haydn Fleury anchors the blueline on a tough team with his size, speed and bite.
11. Tri-City Americans – Winnipeg Jets prospect Eric Comrie will be one of the best goaltenders in the country and a world junior candidate for Canada.
12. Vancouver Giants – He's not eligible for the draft until 2016, but left winger Tyler Benson is an incredible talent and rookie of the year candidate.
13. Medicine Hat Tigers – St. Louis Blues prospect Tommy Vannelli is a wizard with the puck on his stick and brings offense to the blueline.
14. Prince George Cougars – Draft-eligible center Jansen Harkins is a two-way center with playmaking abilities and a lot of character.
15. Moose Jaw Warriors – Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Brayden Point plays with a lot of heart and skill; look for him to put up huge numbers.
16. Kootenay Ice – Jaedon Descheneau played well for St. Louis in Traverse City, living up to his reputation as a smart offensive player.
17. Saskatoon Blades – Winnipeg prospect Nelson Nogier missed a lot of the season due to injury, but he's a big defenseman who moves very well.
18. Everett Silvertips – Draft-eligible defenseman Noah Juulsen has bulked up his frame this summer. He plays physical and skates very well.
19. Prince Albert Raiders – Vancouver prospect Mackenze Stewart is humongous at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. The raw D-man was actually born deaf (but can hear now).
20. Kamloops Blazers – Dallas prospect Cole Ully brings speed, hustle and a good amount of offense back to the left wing.
21. Spokane Chiefs – Brothers Keanu and Kailer Yamamoto are hometown boys the locals can cheer on together.
22. Lethbridge Hurricanes – Minnesota Wild pick Reid Duke brings back a growing two-way game to center for the Canes.