SPNHL, Season 30: Season Preview
“Here’s your write-up, Fish Boy”
As the proverbial dust of the draft settles, the fourteen teams ready to vie for the Stanley Cup of the Sony Playstation Hockey League have formed. We have a Championship core looking for a third consecutive title, a couple powerhouses in the Eastern conference looking to build on the success of last season, and a couple new GMs looking to make a splash in a very competitive league.
Some GMs went with familiar faces in the draft, while others took some risks and went with rookie heavy teams. This has elicited success in the past but has also resulted in disaster in some cases. It’s a classic heads or tails scenario, and the sportsman in me hopes it works out for the best for them, while the competitor in me hopes it royally screws them over. Sorry, just being honest.
Let’s take a look at the projected lineups for the teams (thank you for sending these to me, GMs), and my projection of their finish in the standings. We’re going to break it down conference by conference, going from first seed to seventh (Reminder: the top 4 teams per conference make the playoffs). We did okay with the draft (4/14), so let’s see how we can do with our standings predictions.
Team: Colorado Avalanche
Projected Lineup: Woy at LW, Stoner at C, Beastie at RW, Eggman at LD, Sedin at RD, and Rancher at G.
Projected Finish: 1st in the West.
Well this team looks awfully familiar, doesn’t it? Eggman and Sedin brought back their star players from the last two cup runs in Woy, Stoner, and Rancher, and brought back one of their old running mates in Beastie. With a starting 6 backed up by some familiar faces in Neeposh and Chuck and talented vets like Francey and Will, it’s hard to see this team falling anywhere short of the Cup final.
Team: Arizona Coyotes
Projected Lineup: MJ at LW, Tread at C, Studword at RW, u12bme at LD, tommy at RD, and goalieman at G.
Projected Finish: 2nd in the West.
Tread, Goalieman, and MJ return after finishing at the top of the West last season and being upset by Vegas in the playoffs. Recruiting fellow NXG member Tommyboi and pairing him with u12bme at defense will be deadly, and Stud should pair well with MJ and Tread in front of Goalieman for a stellar top 6. Their backups aren’t too bad either: fivestar is an established vet, while soul, snach, and leonard are promising rookies who nicely fill out a talented Arizona squad.
Team: Winnipeg Jets
Projected Lineup: Reap at LW, Muse at C, kidmoney at RW, Scrappy at LD, Dynasty at RD, and ciulla in G.
Projected Finish: 3rd in the West.
Finishing at a similar position last season, the Jets have a good squad with a great top forward line. Their defense with Dynasty and Scrappy should pair with Ciulla nicely for a solid back half of the ice. They’re a team with solid depth with Death and Pooky up front and Bizness on the back-end, while wicked will play his rookie season alongside a Winnipeg squad with considerable depth outside of G. This team could surprise some folks and overpower them with offense.
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Projected Lineup: Linde at LW, Joe at C, Scoop at RW, Chicks at LD, Atreyal at RD, and DOUG BOY (dophares) at G.
Projected Finish: 4th in the West
After being a bubble team last season, Scalz and co. moved to the Windy City and stocked up on defense with Chicks, Atreyal, teamrun and himself. With four very capable forwards in Linde, Joe, Kinglyme, Scoop and backup forward in Neon, they are one of the most evenly dispersed teams skill-wise in the league. With Dophares and Cam handling goaltending duties, the Blackhawks have a great array of talent that will mould itself into a playoff team.
Team: Anaheim Ducks
Projected Lineup: Macinnis at LW, Alien at C, Harty at RW, CeeG at LD, Noto at RD, and Shadow at G.
Projected Finish: 5th in the West
After reaching back to back Cup finals in Ottawa, Kozmo moved West to Anaheim, bringing a decent team with him. Noto and CeeG make a solid d pairing in front of Shadow while Macinnis, Alien, and Harty make a very talented forward line. Outside of that top 6, they reunite the Arizona pairing of KllerJ and Onetimer, with Bigbear at D and Soicey joining the team as a likely backup G. A solid team, but availability issues will plague this team and their playoff hopes.
Team: Vegas Golden Knights
Projected Lineup: Jamiebenn at LW, Yesse at C, Yeap at RW, CapCan at LD, jielking at RD, and Sliyum at G
Projected Finish: 6th in the West.
Two seasons removed from their season 27 Championship victory, the Knights look like a completely different team. Although possessing a decent top 6, Vegas lacks the it-factor that a lot of teams possess. They have some of the best goaltending in the league with G6 backing up Sliyum, and their depth forwards in Arrow, Breno, and Spyking are decent, but few options at D will fatigue this team and lead to a low finish in the standings. The rebuild is now.
Team: Edmonton Oilers
Projected Lineup: Julien at LW, Frenchy at C, Nutty at RW, Bufford at LD, Blanche at RD, and Cookie at G.
Projected Finish: 7th in the West
We’re calling this team Vandoos’ French Excursion Students because half of his starting line are Qubec based rookies. Vandoos will play third string to Cookie and Seguin, while Bufford, Puckzone, Haunted, and Dustywall will likely be backup forwards to the promising rookies. Aside from the kids, the vets on this team are not known to be elite players. This will put a lot of pressure on the young guns, and may lead to another disappointing season in Edmonton.
Team: New York Islanders
Projected Lineup: Gui at LW, Burst at C, MG at RW (y u do dis), Bwall at LD, Trout (who downright refuses to play LD) at RD, and Giroux at G.
Projected Finish: 1st in the East.
Stud central over here. Moving from Detroit to New York, Shepard and MG have built the most dangerous team in the East. Not only is their top 6 a perennial SPNHL all-star squad, their depth is phenomenal. Shepard can play anywhere, Rath can play anywhere on the left side, and bosanceros and gamingfreak could be steals for an immensely talented Islanders squad. Expect big things from this team this year.
Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
Projected Lineup: Truelegend at LW, redflag at C, Mclub at RW, Krixx at LD, Dominado at RD, Vince at G.
Projected Finish: 2nd in the East.
Always a powerhouse in the East, Tampa brings back star goalie VinceT and brings aboard star forwards Mclub and Dominado (a great defensive C, so the jump to RD should be easy), and rookie Krixx at RD. Their four players outside of that include rookies Langz, PL4Y, and Foxy, while joined by the returning and ever versatile VIBEZ. With a stellar top 6 and a backup core of decent players, the Bolts should continue their run of being a top Eastern conference team.
Team: Philadelphia Flyers
Projected Lineup: Lecupidon at LW, Triix at C, Rich2K8 at RW, Beaster at LD, Uber at RD, and Peacekeeper at G.
Projected Finish: 3rd in the East
Vinny, if you guys miss the playoffs, sell the PS4. The Flyers come back from being a bottom team in the league last year to being a top 5 team in the league to start the season. With elite playmakers and snipers on the starting 6, their backup forwards are no slouches including Suppa, Synyster, and Havoc, as well as Zestygenos playing backup to Peace (he is good enough to take over the starting job). This team is good enough to screw up our rankings.
Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Projected Lineup: Grammyhands at LW, Dirty-D at C (that rhymes, cool), toslick at RW, M1nor at LD, xBoeser (Raja) at RD, and Chad at G.
Projected Finish: 4th in the East
It was between us and Toronto, and I showed a bit of bias for the very first time in my writing career. Carolina is coming off the heels of a Presdient’s Trophy run and a disappointing playoff performance, so they are looking to rebound here. With great defensive options in PGH, Betobone, and steavex, acid playing a solid backup to the top line forwards, and G0D handling goaltending and defensive duties, the Canes have a deep and potentially playoff bound team.
Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Projected Lineup: Fish at LW, Jay at C, Jersey at RW, God at LD (not actually the big guy), NYD at RD, and BiPolor at G.
Projected Finish: 5th in the East
If we don’t make playoffs, these guys will. Toronto had one of the best top lines in the league last season, but did not have the depth at D and G to advance to the conference finals. They still have one of the best top lines in the league, and with a goaltending duo of BiPolor and Nocturnal, they have improved their goaltending. Their backup forwards of jfish, Smitty, Appler, and Mansel are decent options, but they lack the defensive depth to be a playoff team. Sorry!
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Projected Lineup: Ivan at LW, Nick at C, etthan at RW, Pete at LD, Cuban at RD, and PNC at G.
Projected Finish: 6th in the East.
I feel bad for putting these guys this low (because I love Cuban and Pete) and they aren’t a bad team, it’s just that the East is stacked yet again. This is a good top line and their depth isn’t that bad with Tyler, Rick, Al_bundy, and Jag as solid second line options, with Way2goal and Pemm backing things up defensively, but they have the same issue that Vegas faces: no it factor. They have the talent to prove me wrong, but it may be hard in this conference.
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Projected Lineup: Pliskin at LW, Serg at C, Larkin at RW, DatsAll at LD, Turd at RD, and Speedyturtle at G.
Projected Finish: 7th in the East.
See, another team that isn’t too bad, but Pittsburgh finds themselves at the bottom of our predictions. Turd moving up to D to make way for his FOUR goalies. The top line is a good mix of SP vets and young guns, but their backups are kind of underwhelming in Ballzdeep (why) and Duckweed as forwards, deadant at D (not too bad), and Cowboy at G (okay, not bad). In a competitive conference, the Penguins are unfortunately the odd men out.
On the surface, there appears to be some clear-cut favourites. However, we have seen many instances in the past where the supposed “cup winning team” just doesn’t have what it takes. That’s why this game is magical, because anything can happen. I’m talking about hockey here folks, not that magical BS that EA pulls on you when you’ve got a wide-open net on a one-timer.
With the season kicking off tonight, I wish everybody the best of luck and I look forward to seeing you folks on the ice. To the rookies: have fun and don’t get discouraged. You may face some hardships early on, but power through them. To the vets: be leaders. Help amalgamate the rookies into the league, because you never know when you might have the next Calder winner on your hands.