SPNHL, Season 30: Week One Review
One week into the new season, and there is one remaining undefeated team: the Colorado Avalanche. Woy, Eggman, and Sedin added on to their already strong core and created a team that looks incredibly difficult to beat. With two straight championship seasons, the Avs seem like they’re on pace for a third straight Cup. The sky’s the limit for the Mile High City, and they’re not stopping until another juggernaut emerges in the league.
On that topic, there are a few teams who look great so far and could possibly give the Avs a run for their money. The Eastern conference has been stacked for the past two seasons, with Tampa Bay being one of the top teams season after season. TrueLegend and Redflag construct a top tier team time and time again, but are challenged in the East by the New York Islanders squad led by Shepard and MG that boasts a perennial SPNHL All-Star lineup.
Let’s take a look at 5 winners and 5 losers from last week. The trade block is ALIVE early on in the season, so we’ll be looking at how some of those transactions have impacted these top teams. We’ll also be looking at their records, leading scorers, and MVP of the week. Let’s go!
1. Colorado Avalanche
Leading Scorer: Bstieboy (20G, 7A, 27P)
Arrivals/Departures: Macinnis (arrival), Francey (departure)
The Avalanche continue to get stronger. Four of their forwards had more than 3.7 points per game (Bstie, Woy, Will, and Chuck), their defensive pair in Sedin and Egg had 14 points each (3G and 11A each), and Rancher was a stud in net with 4 shutouts, not a surprise to anyone. With an incredibly well balanced attack at all ends of the ice, the Avalanche will be hard to stop.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
Leading Scorer: redflag (7G, 20A, 27 P) and TrueLegend (18G, 9A, 27P)
Arrivals/Departures: ChiTown (Arrival), Vibez (Departure)
TrueLegend and redflag picked up right where they left off last season, putting up 27 points each in their first 9 games. Krixx and the Playmaker have been a fantastic defensive core, but their rock has been Vince. An absolute stud of a goaltender who also had 4 shutouts but added on to that with an insane 0.91 save percentage. If he keeps playing like that, Tampa Bay is going to the cup.
3. New York Islanders
Leading Scorer: B-Wall (5G, 16A, 21P)
Arrivals/Departures: REHM (Arrival), Rath (departure)
With all the talent on this squad, it’s not hard to believe that they’re second in the East right now. MG, Bwall, and Burst have been a great top line in absence of Gui, but one man who has been getting it done at each end of the ice has been my boy Trout. 3 high scoring performances as a forward and 5 solid defensive games at D, Trout has been a shining versatile star on a strong New York team.
4. Edmonton Oilers
Leading Scorer: Julien (22G, 5A, 27 P)
Arrivals/Departures: PGH (arrival), Seguin (Departure)
Well, I was very wrong about this team. The Oilers have a winning record for the first time in multiple seasons due to the French Kids on the Bloc. Frenchy, Lacigal, and Julien have been studs at the core of this team, with Julien pacing the league with his 22 goals. If Edmonton keeps this pace up, they could surprise a lot of people with a deep playoff run.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
Leading Scorer: Larkin (7G, 10A, 17P)
Speaking of teams exceeding expectations, the Penguins have done that in spades. Larkin, Serg, and Duckweed have been quite productive as the main forwards for the team, while nearly their whole team has taken turns holding the anchor at D. However, in the land of goalies, Speedyturtle has stood above the rest. 3-1 with a 0.874 save percentage has made him emerge as the starting goalie for this squad.
1. Chicago Blackhawks
Leading Scorer: Linde (4G, 3A, 7P)
Arrivals/Departures: Soulx (arrival), Neon (departure)
A rough start from a team expected to be successful, Scalz and the Blackhawks need to regroup this week. A lack of availability on defense and goaltending resulted in some issues this week, but the signing of Soulx should be a nice addition to an offense lead by Linde. Pair Linde with Scoop and soulx, and Chicago may have the weapons they need to turn the ship around.
2. Winnipeg Jets
Leading Scorer: Reaper (8G, 6A)
Arrivals/Departures: Single (arrival), Arrow (arrival), Nylander (departure), Pooky (departure)
With only a 5 point week, the Jets aren’t flying as high as they want to be. Reap hasn’t been as successful as he usually is (partially due to the lack of his linemate Kidmoney), and the rest of their offense has also been underwhelming. Their one shining light in the darkness has been Ciulla, going 2-4 with a 0.840 save percentage. If Winnipeg can jumpstart their offense, they can rectify their record.
3. Vegas Golden Knights
Leading Scorer: jamiebenn (5G, 8A, 13P)
Arrivals/Departures: Nylander (arrival), Caper (arrival), Single (departure), arrow (departure)
Vegas didn’t have a strong team from the start, but getting 6 points with a tough schedule was a good start for an underwhelming team. Jamiebenn carried the torch for the Knights this week, but the arrival of Nylander should help bolster this team’s offense. If they get Yeap to play, he and Nylander could light things up and solidify a starting lineup for the Golden Knights.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
Leading Scorer: Al_bundy (11G, 6A, 17P)
Arrivals/Departures: Jag (departure)
Pemm and the Blue Jackets went 1-2 in each of their first three nights of the season, and find themselves at the bottom of a strong Eastern Conference. Goaltending has been the issue thus far, giving up 43 goals over the course of 9 games. This goaltending will turn around and give Bundy and a strong offense some support, and Columbus will remain a competitive team this season.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
Leading Scorer: NJ (8G, 7A, 15P)
Toronto had a strong team to start the season, but a controversial suspension doomed their week. Their offense has done very well thus far, but they have had the same issue that Columbus has faced: goaltending. Getting Fish back in the lineup this week will help motivate the Maple Leafs and get a strong team back into contention with a solid performance this week.
Week one shocked some of us and proved that I don’t really know what I’m doing with these rankings. However, actions speak louder than words and many players spoke volumes with their performances this week. I’m very excited to see how the second week of season 30 of the SPNHL goes, and challenge teams to either continue their dominance, or recover from their poor performance this week.
Remember to tune in to SPNHL: Off The Ice this coming Saturday at 10 PM EST!
See you on the ice!