SPNHL, Season 34: Season Preview
“The Gang Comes Back”
I’ve always been an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Fan, but I’ve been watching so much of it over the course of the past two weeks. I’ve memorized almost all the songs in “The Nightmare Cometh” and I’ve almost mastered the D.E.N.N.I.S. system. I also picked up some magnum condoms for my monster d-
Welcome back everybody! NHL 20 is here and we have a brand new game to bitch about! Season 34 of the SPNHL is days away from starting and we have 10 teams vying for the Stanley Cup with a host of different characters leading the charge. Reigning Stanley Cup winning GM Reap leads the core of 6 returning GMs that includes fellow cup finalist FivePointOhh, playoff contenders Lomax and Yesc, and two GMs looking to rebound in Poolmagician and Peacekeeper. Among them we have 4 new GMs, some old and new: we have prosperous GMs in Redconcept, Sedinpower, and your’s truly, and one brand new GM in Ushkilledya. Ush, welcome to the league of extraordinarily pissed off and frustrated gentlemen.
This is a shorter season than the summer season, as we return to our normal 45 game schedule instead of the long two month summer season, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging. These teams will need to make the most of the 9 games over the 5 week period, so let’s take a look at their starting lineups, as well as their strengths and weaknesses on a conference basis. I have no clue how everybody is going to finish and I’m not gonna fuckin’ try to predict it, as I usually get this shit wrong. Make your own rankings! Let’s do this!
Detroit Red Wings
Overview: After a Cup winning season 33, Reap has changed the structure of his team and has gone from a team of relative SPNHL newcomers to an SPNHL legacy team. Reuniting with Kid and bringing back their strong Winnipeg line with Cupe, Detroit’s offense will be complemented by two offensive defenders in Triix and Freeze, while being backstopped by Kama. Their depth options are decent with Cookie and Belak having versatility they’ll have some decent cheap players in Hairy and Tickler.
Strength: this team will have one of the most powerful offenses in the East, with a top offensive line and two strong defenders who can move the puck with ease. Goals will be at a premium with a high flying Red WIngs offense.
Weakness: Unfortunately, depth in net will be an issue. Kamakaz is an all-star goaltender with not full availability. They will have to rely on Cookie man’s versatility to play when Kama can’t, which could lead to some high scoring games.
GM: Dirty-Dietrich (fuck yeah!)
Overview: I’m back bitches! I got the itch to come back as a GM and I had to do it. I did this resign draft thing and got the architect of Tampa Bay in Truelegend, and built around us with JMM, Francey (ChinesePeen), my boy Trout, and my son Ciulla (<3). We’ve got two good caliber goaltenders in Ciu and Cartman, some good backup forwards in Hughes/Boeser/Sandhu and this kid Bretzky, while M1key and Maybeland are gonna hold down the fort at D. I’m looking forward to this season.
Strength: offense is gonna be our forte this season. Raja and True are elite playmakers, while JMM and I are good scorers. Our defenders are very capable forwards, so we’ll have a five pronged offensive attack.
Weakness: with basically 4-5 forwards on the ice at all times, our team will have a lot of defensive irresponsibility. I feel like we’re gonna put our goalies in a few bad situations this season.
GM: Peacekeeper/Marv/change your fucking name.
Overview: Marv is coming back after a tumultuous season but has built a gritty team in the name of his new home in Philly. Third overall pick Servnspike leads a line with SLAPSHOTJOE and promising rookie Rolla. Marv and Daf will trade goaltending and left defense duties while DatsALLImSaying (one of the best names in the league TBH) will anchor that defensive line on the right side. Their backups include an elite forward in JCpens and some out of position players in NowYoDead and Icey, but their versatility may make this team work.
Strength: offensive depth is in spades for this team and will pay off for them. They have a variety of styles from solid defensive forwards to talented playmakers, and they will blend together quite nicely as this team gets their legs underneath them.
Weakness: defensive depth is the weak point on this squad and will play a huge toll on this team as time rolls on. Serv, SSJ, and NYD can all play D, but you’re taking away from some talented players up front.
GM: ThePoolCleaner (PoolMagician, but also a really good career path)
Overview: Another bottom feeder last season, Pool relocated from Boston to Pittsburgh in the hopes of assembling a top team, and his top line shows all the makings of one. After signing the dominant LW Sudzy in the resign draft, rabbing Jyuhhn and Barzy in the first round to form an offensively overpowered top line was a smart next move, while backup forwards in hockeygirl and Tragic provide good offensive depth. PNC will start most of these games behind Noto and Jamie, but Jamie’s lack of availability and the lack of other defenders may be this team’s Achilles’ heel.
Strength: offense. That top line is made of some top talent that will produce an astounding amount of goals against even the best of defenses. Plug a backup forward in there with any two of them and it will be smooth sailing.
Weakness: defense. That one was easy. Your top LD can only play three-five a week while you have no other natural defenders on your roster. Maybe Barzy can play RD while Noto moves over, but you lose that firepower that the top line has.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Overview: After a successful season in his return to GM, Lomax dragged Pliskin from Pittsbirgh to Toronto and built a team that is a step away from their usual defense-heavy lineup. Plisk’s move from net to the left wing could be beneficial, and having two talented and versatile forwards in MG and Fluri will certainly pack an offensive punch. They went with some SP vets in Shep, Hawks, and Vandoos to round out their top 6, while rounding out the rest of their roster with a few rookies. Maybe these cheap players will be a high value to the old guard.
Strength: The Leafs are offense-heavy in comparison to Plisk and Lo’s past team/teams, boasting a collection of puck movers who will be able to dish the rock effectively and create a bevy of scoring opportunities.
Weakness: this team will have some depth issues, and will rely on these rookies working out to be steals. Also, having Vandoos in net and no other goalies will make Plisk have to play backup quite a bit.
Overview: being a GM for the first time is always rough, especially when you have to waive or trade two of your guys in the first week. Regardless, Ush had some bad luck in the draft and has built a team that has a few solid players, but a host of mediocre talent. Arrow and Duhaime are backup caliber forwards, and their expensive players like Stoner and Montoni are going to be limited (Stoner said he wants three games a week to me, at least). Calgary may make a reach for that final playoff spot, but this is going to be the basement dweller of the West. Sorry, Ush.
Strength: next season’s draft picks. Well, let’s not get too asinine. Maybe this team’s defense? IDK. I think they’ll have guys who show up, but they won’t be that good. We’ll say offensive depth. Actually fuck it, let’s just say goaltending.
Weakness: well, where do we start. Lack of top talent could be it. Outside of goaltending, the Flames don’t really have much to offer or many names to be scared of. They’ll make a few games interesting, but they won’t win more than 15.
LW: Bean (SUCCME).
After a 15 game winning streak at the end of last season, the Hawks lost 4 of 7 games in the playoffs and their woes forced them out of Chicago and into Dallas. Yesse and Grammy paired with Bean to create a top line with organic chemistry, with a defensive pair who has played together for years. Add Chad into the mix and you have one of the most talented starting lines of this season. They have some decent backup forwards in Sidd, Mister H, and Serg, while the rookie IceCold will look to prove himself.
Strength: this starting line is enough to make anybody quiver. Their combination of defensive ability with scoring prowess will make the potential Threepeat Vezina winner Chad’s life in net that much easier than it already is.
Weakness: defensive depth. IceCold is Jesse’s real life best friend and the only reason he’s on this team. As he is the only defender aside from Royal and Gamer (neither of who have full availability), they will have to rely on their top 6 a lot.
Overview: after a few seasons away from being a GM, Redconcept has returned to a position of authority within SP and has drafted a well balanced team. Resigning Yeap and taking BK first overall has formed a dynamic 1-2 punch while Ivan will fill out that top line quite well. Marek is a great goalie and the duo of Red and Beaster will provide some relief. Having Pucky and Topshot as backup forwards doesn’t hurt, but the issues may become visible with their backup defenders.
Strength: this team is quite deep offensively, and I don’t think there is a lineup they throw out there that doesn’t have a chance to win games. Red drafted some solid scorers that will
Weakness: while having BK and Yeap will do some damage up front, there may be some issues with defense. Red isn’t playing on his natural side, while Devon and Danger aren’t the most solid options to support a high risk offense.
Overview: The most prolific player in SP history returns as a GM as Sedinpower returns to the West and hasn’t lost a step in building a team. This team has multiple Hart winners and Conn Smythe winners, with a very strong back-end in Uber, Sedin, and Sliyum supporting a top line of Bstie, Tommy, and rookie althewall (LGAHL star). Turtle will backup Slim while Bergy will backup Uber, with sniper and Christboyz as backup forwards when needed.
Strength: everything. This is an incredibly strong team, with a multitude of Vezina caliber goalies, Norris level defenders, and potential Art-Ross winners on their roster. Anything less than the top two seeds will be a disappointment.
Weakness: availability may be an issue with Bstie and Tommy, which will force their backup forwards (two rookies) to play more games. While they’ll still have defensive support, their offensive production may not be as strong.
Vegas Golden Knights
Overview: Fresh off a finals berth, Five has rebuilt one of the most controversial teams in recent memory, but they are looking for a clean slate and looking to add (another or first, depending on your perspective) a championship to that plate. The talented trio of Fish, God, and NJ bring their boy Noodle into the fold and are filled out with SP veterans Pete and Polar in what will either be a really good team, or a team that will self-destruct and fall apart halfway through the season. Let’s discuss:
Strength: talent. When it comes to pure talent, few rosters will boast this amount of talent. GP and Fish are electrifying forwards, while Pete and NJ are great puck moving defenders who will have this team scoring at will.
Weakness: availability is gonna be dog shit for these guys, as most of them play in another league or just got a new job that will take up their time (congrats, Pete). When the availability drops and if the team starts losing, it will implode.
We are almost upon the ceremonial opening night puck drop on season 34 of the SPNHL, and while some teams might be confident in their abilities (and for good reason), some may be nervous about their potential performance and go into games with an abundance of pressure. That’s not gonna do shit. Go out there, kick ass and have fun. Bust your ass, and you’ll get the job done.
To rookies: make yourselves known. Shoot the shit with people in the Discord and make some friends/some enemies. Submit availability for your team each week and get out there and show them what you got at every chance you get.
To the veterans: let’s make this league great again. Way too much bullshit has happened over the past season, and we’ve got the chance to reshape the identity of the league. Give it the family feel that it once had.
Make sure to tune into www.twitch.tv/thespnhl_media for episodes of SPNHL: Off the Ice! We’ll have a broad variety of guests this season in addition to the usual hoodlums we have hosting the show. We have no idea when we’ll be conducting the show but we will be sure to let you know as soon as we do.
Thank you for taking your time to read this, and I wish everybody the best of luck tomorrow night. We’ll see you on the ice!