The Oil Kings added to their stacked back end on Wednesday by acquiring Edmonton Oilers high second-round pick David Musil from the Vancouver Giants for Mason Geertsen and a first-round bantam pick in 2013.
Musil was dealt because Giants GM Scott Bonner decided to kick his squad into rebuild mode after their brutal 4-10-0-0 start. Rumors started to swirl last week among WHL circles that the Oil Kings and MasterCard Memorial Cup-host Saskatoon Blades were in talks with Bonner over Musil.
The Oil Kings are turning into the Edmonton Oilers' personal junior team. They now have four Oilers prospects: Travis Ewanyk, Mitchell Moroz, Martin Gernat, and Musil. Daryl Katz's Rexall Sports own both the Oil Kings and Oilers. Therefore, it does make perfect sense for them to want to groom their future players in their own backyard.
If Musil is paired up with New York Islanders first-round pick Griffin Reinhart, they will undoubtedly be the scariest defensive duo in the Dub's Eastern Conference. They both stand 6-foot-4 and have a combined weight of 405-pounds. It will be near impossible for players to stand in front of the net or win battles along the boards against these two mammoths.
The icing on the Oil Kings' blue-line cake is Carolina Hurricanes second-rounder Keegan Lowe, the son of former NHLer Kevin Lowe, as well as Cody Corbett, and Ashton Sautner, very strong depth players. Not to mention, they are expected to get their cherry on top this January when Martin Gernat, who scored nine goals and 55 points in 60 games last year, returns from his shoulder injury.
The closest thing the WHL has to a brick wall, Laurent Brossoit, backs Edmonton's defence. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder was solid in last year's playoffs, posting a 2.04 average and a .933 save percentage. He has, however, gotten off to a lukewarm start this year, maintaining a 2.93 average and .890 save percentage throughout 10 games. Nevertheless, as BTN's Cam Charron pointed out, the Calgary Flames prospect seems to heat up in the latter half of the season.
Calling the Oil Kings the clear-cut favourites in the Dub wouldn't be fair to the 16-0-0-1 Kamloops Blazers.
The Blazers' offense has been unstoppable this year. Their top scoring unit of JC Lipon, Colin Smith, and Tim Bozon has combined for an outstanding 43 goals and 110 points throughout 17 contests. To put their stats into perspective, Charron laid out last week that the Kamloops trio has outscored the powerhouse 2007 London Knights line of Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, Edmonton Oilers' Sam Gagner, and Nashville Predators' Sergie Kostitsyn thus far.
It would be easy to breakdown a possible future WHL finals series between the Oil Kings and Blazers as the best defence in the league against the best offense. But that isn't fair to Edmonton's elite goal scorers and Kamloops' strong defensive players. These two squads have a lot more going for them than their play at just one end of the ice.
The Oil Kings' offence has it all. They have the offensive pizazz in New York Rangers prospect Michael St. Croix, an elite two-way forward in 2013 draft prospect Curtis Lazar, a pesky scorer in Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder Henrik Samuelsson, a strong defensive forward in Ewanyk, and additional top scorers in Moroz and overagers T. J Foster and Dylan Wruck.
Kamloops' back end doesn't look that hot on paper. They don't have any NHL draft picks or a highly touted NHL draft prospect. Nonetheless, on the ice they have looked just fine. They have let in only 38 goals, which is second best in the 22-team WHL behind the Portland Winterhawks.
It is no secret that puck-stopper Cole Cheveldave is the key to the Blazers' strong defensive play. His 1.94 average and .925 save percentage say it all. He has been nearly unbeatable.
That's not to say the Oil Kings and Blazers can't be knocked off their pedestals. The post-season is never predictable. It is way too early to count out the Winterhawks, Spokane Chiefs, Calgary Hitmen, and Prince Albert Raiders.
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen.