SPNHL, Season 29: Week 6 Update
By: Jake Dietrich
“The one where things get intense”
As we approach the last week of the regular season, we see the dust start to settle and get an idea of what we are going to see in the playoffs. The trade deadline passed this past Saturday night at 8 PM, and there was a bit of activity that evening. Some teams made some big moves to prepare for a deep playoff run, while select squads made no moves whatsoever and maintained their unit.
Trades at this point can be very high risk, especially if you have developed chemistry within your present unit. Sure, the player you are trading for could be at a higher skill level, but they could not be the right fit for the system. Make the wrong trade and your chances of going deep into the playoffs, or even making the playoffs at all, could disappear right before your very eyes.
Heading into week 7, every game is important. Many teams are still fighting for the last playoff spot, so they need to give it everything they have on the ice. Also, forfeits this week could kill a team’s hopes of pursuing the Stanley Cup, as FF point deductions are doubled this week. Let’s take a look at the standings, see who is in a playoff spot, and what teams could do to get one if they aren’t.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning.
Record: 37-12-2, 75 Points (1 FF Point Deduction).
Playoff Position: Patrick Division Leader, First Round Bye.
In a surprise to a few people (myself included), Tampa Bay was very active at the trade deadline, moving goaltender Soicey for jamiebenn and moving Bufford for bergysdeke. These moves may have been to make up for the sudden loss of star defenseman K1ng, but this is a nice way to make up for it. With a starting 6 of Truelegend, redflag, jamiebenn/Yeap, Bergy, Louie, and Rancher, the Bolts have a squad that may be cup ready.
2. New Jersey Devils.
Record: 34-11-6, 74 Points.
Playoff Position: Adams Division Leader, First Round Bye.
After flipping the roster almost twice throughout the season, the Devils have been a team possessed over the past few weeks. They are currently on a streak of 13 games without a regulation loss (11-0-2) and are challenging Tampa Bay for the President’s Trophy, sitting one point back of them (they battle on Monday, July 23rd at 9:45 p.m.). With players like Grammyhands, Raja, BennBros, DBS, Shayne, and turdburgler, this is a Cup-capable New Jersey squad.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs.
Record: 33-15-3, 67 Points (2 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: 1st Patrick Division Playoff Spot.
Having a quiet first half of the season, the Leafs shot up the standings in the highly-competitive Patrick division with incredible production from an all-star line of LeCupidon, Stamkos, and GM Jayscott. Not a lot of trades or free agency activity for Toronto this season, but they have two breakout defensemen in Dufresne and PghFANATIC supporting that top line. With many capable options in net, Toronto could make even more noise with a potentially deep playoff run.
4. Ottawa Senators
Record: 32-16-3, 65 Points (2 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: 1st Adams Division Playoff Spot.
Earlier in the season on an episode of SPNHL: Off the Ice, kozmo stated that he didn’t want the first-round playoff bye as he didn’t want his team to get rusty. He may have gotten his wish, as the Sens trail the red-hot Devils by 9 points for the division lead. Ottawa made one trade all season, but they didn’t need it. With a starting 6 featuring 4 players who played in the finals last season (toslick, marc, Ransom, and Noto), they have an experienced, talented, and Cup ready team.
5. New York Rangers.
Record: 31-18-2, 62 Points (2 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: TIED – 2nd Patrick Division Playoff Spot.
In his time since taking over New York, Dafoumanchew has had a rough go. After a hopeful first week that saw the team go 4-1-1 in a shortened week, the Rangers haven’t had the best of luck and are 2-7-1 in the last 10 games. New York needs to recover, as their only activity in the past weeks being the replacement of Kronwall with New360Guy. A Rangers squad with Hypey, Serv, execution, and Doug still have a chance at keeping the playoff dream alive.
6. Detroit Red Wings.
Record: 30-18-3, 62 Points (1 FF Point Deduction).
Playoff Position: TIED – 2nd Patrick Division Playoff Spot.
Holding last place in the Patrick division while still having more points than half of the league must be frustrating for the Red Wings. However, as New York has struggled, Detroit has strived, going 6-2-2 in their past 10 games. With a big week five pickup in MG, Detroit has found a scoring winger to play with Francey. Detroit GM Shepard and ChiefTrout have been great utility players for Detroit, while Tsibs has been a solid backstop to a possibly playoff bound Wings squad.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins
Record: 15-31-5, 29 Points (6 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: 2nd Adams Division Playoff Spot.
After the departure of Cookie, Chad took over as the GM of the Penguins and made a HUGE splash at the trade deadline. He brought which could basically be their new top line in kinglyme, etthan, and last season’s OT Cup hero in Boutch. This Penguins squad is still a little bare on defense but are expecting big things from Ballzdeep (why must I type this?) and Monokuuu. Backstopped by Chad, the Penguins could make give some playoff teams a run for their money.
8. Philadelphia Flyers.
Record: 8-38-5, 18 Points (3 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: 4th Place in Patrick Division, No Playoff Spot.
Philadelphia still has a chance of making the playoffs after a disastrous season. As a matter of fact, They got more than 40% of their points so far this season in their last 10 games (3-5-2, 8 points). Peacekeeper made some moves at the deadline picking up Diirty-Triix, Beaster, and FrankJones, forming a great team core. If the Flyers can get at least 12 more points than the Penguins this week (which is going to be INCREDIBLY tough), they will make the playoffs.
1. Arizona Coyotes.
Record: 34-14-3, 69 Points (2 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: Smythe Division Leader, First Round Bye.
A favourite from the start, Tread has done very well in his rookie GM season. This Arizona squad is another team that was not very busy, and they had no need to
be. With the exception of jennjamty, the core of the Coyotes have been there from the start. Tread, last season’s Hart winner Mjvoell, Gripp, goalieman, KillerJ, and sINGLE have been mainstays of a very good Arizona team. With a top 6 like that, they Coyotes are more than capable of a deep cup run.
2. Calgary Flames.
Record: 30-15-6, 65 Points (1 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: Norris Division Leader, First Round Bye.
Another strong rookie GM in the west leads a division as Uberpwned has had a decent season as the head of the Flames. However, a series of questionable trades at the deadline have possibly jeopardized a deep playoff run. Trading away Seguin, Benn, and Bergy for Arrowhunter, Murphy, and Soicey (who is a good goalie, but a position Uber excels at himself). They still have threats like ages, Halak, and Redbeard, but aren’t as deep of a team as they once were.
3. Winnipeg Jets.
Record: 38-19-4, 60 Points.
Playoff Position: 1st Norris Division Playoff Spot.
In the midst of a fantastic season for himself, Reap has also put together a respectable run for his Jets team. With Kidmoney, Vezzy, Sam being constants at his side from the start, he has made some moves to pick up DeathClown to round out their top line and BrodtShadow to handle both forward and goaltending duties. Reap has made some good moves to help himself and Kidmoney possibly claim their first Stanley Cup in 10 seasons.
4. Vegas Golden Knights.
Record: 29-21-1, 59 Points .
Playoff Position: 1st Norris Division Playoff Spot.
In the West, no team had stronger momentum than Vegas. The season 27 Cup champions were on a roll, but made one of those high risk trades we had mentioned earlier. They traded Nuttyoutlaw, Servnspike, and Benner and got Sudzy, Seguin, and Devilspride. The availability of the first two is not the greatest, and caused Vegas to forfeit their last 3 games. The Knights still have Prodigy, Ajax, and Sliyum, and are very capable of making a run back to the cup.
5. Anaheim Ducks.
Record: 20-28-3, 41 Points (2 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: 2nd Smythe Division Playoff Spot.
Scalz, a long time VG staff member, decided to try his hand at being a GM this season. Even with lesser success than he may be used to, he still has put together a respectable season and Anaheim has a playoff spot. After trading away two of their top line forwards, the Ducks are going to have to rely on their depth at the position. With Linde, Smokeshow, and duckweed, the Ducks have decent offensive options to compliment the other half of a playoff ready squad.
6. Colorado Avalanche.
Record: 21-28-2, 40 Points (4 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: 2nd Norris Division Playoff Spot.
With the return of Woy (not even gonna try to spell the full name) and Kamakaz, the Avs have experienced a bit of a resurgence. If Eggman can convince Sedin to play a bit more, this is going to be a lethal team with a lot of potential. 9-1-0 in their past 10 games, this Colorado squad seems destined to return to the playoffs and go back to back as Cup champs. Picking up Stonerboy and Breezy create a great supporting cast to ensure the repeat happens.
7. Dallas Stars.
Record: 15-34-2, 32 Points.
Playoff Position: 4th in Norris Division, No Playoff Spot.
A former cup winner, Castles stepped up to the plate as a GM this season. However, he didn’t find as much success as he did two seasons prior, but he still has a chance to bring this Dallas team into the playoffs. He made a little noise around deadline time, picking up Sfic and returning him back to his home last season. With Sfic, Castles, and Tyler as a forward line and Pliskin in net, Dallas has a chance to scrap their way back into a playoff spot with a strong week.
8. Edmonton Oilers.
Record: 11-39-1, 16 Points (7 FF Point Deductions).
Playoff Position: 4th in Smythe Division, Eliminated from Playoffs.
Unfortunately for Edmonton, they are eliminated from the playoffs. Vandoos had a rough start to the season when his 3rd overall pick (martyceez) never showed. From there, it was a rough road to the end of the season. Having the first overall pick is a good potential start to next season though, and he has some decent forwards he could resign. Benner is a former Calder winner, while NuttyOutlaw was a stud for Vegas this season. That could be a good start to a winning team.
For the majority of teams here, these next 9 games are the most important games of the season. It will decide if they get the chance to go to into the playoffs and be that much closer to lifting the Stanley Cup. The rosters are settled, all the pieces are in place, and it is up to these teams to leave everything they have on the ice in search of a chance of dancing with Stanley.
I bid you adieu for now and wish you all the best of luck this week! Be sure to tune into SPNHL: Off the Ice this Saturday at 10 pm EST as there will be the unveiling of this team’s First, Second, Third, and Utility All Star teams! I am cottage bound this weekend, and I’ll dip my feet in the sand and do a front flip into the river for all of you. See you on the ice!