Earlier in the month I looked at a different fantasy scenario with regards to expansion. In it, I submitted that of all the players in the league, you could win a Stanley Cup by taking players who played in just 3 junior hockey organizations. This time, the Kelowna Rockets get the spotlight.
We got the ball rolling on offence, where I declared all you needed up front were London Knights.
This time we will look at the back end, where I confidently state that if you want to win a Stanley Cup, draft defencemen from the team on Okanagan Lake. The scouting staff in Kelowna have done an incredible job developing tremendous defenceman ever since the Rockets came into existence.
Clearly subscribing to the theory that defence wins championships, they proved their logic was sound by winning the Memorial Cup in 2004. Always a massive accomplishment, it couldn’t have come at a better time for the city as Kelowna was nearly obliterated by fires that ravaged the Okanagan area. Their victory gave people something positive to cling to after having to swim in an ocean of bad news.
Throughout Kelowna’s history, they have injected talent into the NHL with impressive consistency, most notably with the exceptional talent in defensemen. So now that you’ve built your offence, it’s time to build your blueline, and I can tell you that all you need on defence are Kelowna Rockets.
Shea Weber RD 2nd Round Pick (49th) 2003
Consistently regarded as one of the top 5 defensmen in the NHL, he is a beast on the blueline. On any given day he has the hardest shot in the league, can hit, and is considered a player you would build a team around. Memorial Cup winner, World Junior Gold Medal winner. World Championship Gold Medal winner, 2 Olympic Gold Medals, NHL All-Star. Shea’s constantly in the running for the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenceman and is overdue to win. If he ever becomes a free agent, he’ll be more popular than the Beatles.
Dunan Keith LD 2nd Round Pick (54th) 2002
Another cornerstone that any team would build around, Keith is a clutch player that knows how to win. Plays mostly with speed and skill and puts up points, but can play physical too. Will also contribute with key goals while playing opponents top players. NHL All-Star, 2 time Stanley Cup Winner, 2 time Olympic Gold medal winner, 2 time Norris Trophy winner.
Alex Edler LD 3rd Round Pick (91st) 2004
Edler has established himself as one of the league’s top defensemen, having been a key on the Canucks blueline for several years. An offensive defenseman with one of the hardest shots in the league, he is physically imposing and can hit with the best of them. NHL All-Star, World Championship Gold medal winner, Olympic Silver medal winner.
Tyler Myers RD 1st Round Pick (12th) 2008
A huge defenceman who showed how good he was during an impressive World Junior tournament in 2009, he’s been a big part of the Buffalo Sabre’s blueline since 2009. Somewhat overlooked on a bad Buffalo team, his future is bright. U-18 Gold medal, World Junior Gold medal, NHL Calder Trophy.
Tyson Barrie RD 3rd Round pick (64th) 2009
He’s quickly proven to be a rising star in the league, having just signed a 2 year deal worth 5.2 million a year for the Avalanche after a breakout season in 2013. He led all Colorado defencemen with 13 goals last year. An offensive defenceman with speed, he’s on pace to become elite. Has shown clutch capabilities with 3 overtime goals last year.
“a big part of the young nucleus of our team. He is a gifted young defenceman who brings a lot of offence. We are pleased to have him under contract and look forward to his contribution this upcoming season.”-Joe Sakic
Luke Schenn RD 1st Round Pick (5th) 2008
A defensive defenseman who plays physical, he’s developed into a top 4 guy who is getting a larger role now in Philadelphia. Consistently in the top of the NHL in hits. World Junior Gold medal winner, World Championship Silver medal winner.
Josh Georges Undrafted. Free Agent signing in 2002
A good puck moving defenceman and a good shot, he has been a staple on the Montreal Canadiens blue line for years. Solid defensively and reliable in his own zone, routinely matches up against the opposition’s best. Recently traded to Buffalo, he should help bolster a defence with Rocket alumni Tyler Myers.
Darrin Hayes is a regular contributor for the Vancouver Canucks on TheHockeyWriters.com. Follow Darrin on Twitter @HayesTHW or on Facebook via TheHockeyWriters fan page.