Looking Back at the IceHL's First 20-Team Draft

Written by Kris Knesis, GM Helsinki Lynx

Remember the last time the IceHL had a 20-team league? Yeah, me neither. I wasn't around yet. Fortunately, stuff like that has been preserved online. Also, it's August, so I have a lot of free time and I miss hockey.

It was October 3, 2010 when the IceHL's first-ever 20-team draft took place. 

"Sid or Ovi?," pondered Jon Wold, the newly appointed GM of California Wave. "What about this Ryan Miller guy? Wonder if he's any good this year."

Ovi went first overall that year. Also, I made up Jon's internal debate there, but who's to say it wasn't exactly like that?

Many things have changed since the 2010-11 season — most of all, the look of the top 20 fantasy players in the league. I took a long, hard look at the guys selected in the first round of that season's draft. How many of them are first-round material in 2016?

It's a bit hard to tell, considering the first round isn't even expected to take place in any other form than that of Keepers. So I guess the question really is, how many of these guys are Keeper-worthy — the magic number being three — and how many of them, if any, would be kept/protected if the magic number were one? Thought I'd share my take. Off we go.

1. Alex Ovechkin

Current teams: St. Louis Archers & Alaska Huskies

Still worthy of a top selection and definitely the first round. Coming off his 17th Maurice 'Rocket' Richard trophy (that number may be exaggerated), he has remained excellent and will continue to be just that for seasons to come. Would I take Ovi number one? Probably not. But you would, wouldn't you?

2. Sidney Crosby

Current teams: Baltimore Blue Crabs & Winnipeg Winterhawks

Fresh off his second Stanley Cup victory, Sid the Kid is still number one in many books and would have a good chance of being drafter first if he were in the draft pool, a list his name will probably never again appear on within the IceHL.

3. Nicklas Backstrom

Current teams: Boston Colonials & Kansas City Smoke

Ovechkin's sidekick had a lot more value in 2010 than he does now, but he is still a protected player and as long as he keeps playing next to Ovi, he will continue to be at least second round material.

4. Steven Stamkos

Current teams: Washington Sentinels & California Wave

Stamkos is a scary guy, whether he's on the ice scaring the goalies or off the ice because of an injury or a contract situation scaring fans and fantasy owners. Still a first round talent but falling out of the top 10, I think.

5. Evgeni Malkin

Current teams: Boston Colonials & Edmonton Kodiaks

What a year 2010 was. Two Caps and two Pens in the top five. At times, Malkin has looked more dominant than his captain Sidney Crosby and that makes Geno still a guy to hold onto. So what if he's not even the top center on his team?

6. Ryan Miller (you read that right)

Current teams: none
Rights: none

Teams that want him? None. I mean, at this point, GMs are going to be very careful to draft a guy like Miller and that's not as much a slight on him, as the team he plays for. With 20 teams again, goalies are gaining more value. But even so, Miller's fantasy value is in the bottom third of the league goalies.

7. Drew Doughty

Current teams: New York Guardians & Fargo Frost

Coming off a Norris Trophy winning season, Doughty finds himself pretty high on everybody's lists. Not often considered a fantasy threat, Doughty has been kept by the teams of both leagues this year and will look to repeat last season's success.

8. Henrik Sedin

Current teams: none (not protected by Milwaukee Lagers & Houston Hellcats); 
Rights: Geneva Mountaineers

9. Daniel Sedin

Current teams: none (not protected by Boston Colonials & Alaska Huskies)
Rights: Osaka Samurai

I'm just lumping these guys together, heck, everybody else has been doing it since 1999. Fair or not, the twins were taken one after the other in the NHL and same here in the 2010 IceHL draft. Clearly, their best days are behind them, however the magic they make on ice together is still a treat to watch. I don't know for sure, but I don't think they've ever played on the same team in the IceHL. Obviously, they have to be drafted one after another and barring pick trades, only Minnesota Mammoths, Florida Flamingos, Salt Lake City Scorpions or Moscow Cosmonauts are in position to do that. Make it happen, IceHL.

10. Dany Heatley

It seems such a long time ago, as I'm writing this sentence, but that year Heatley was actually the 2nd best player on his Scorpions team, right after... Danny Briere. Good year for the Dans. Yeah, nothing much else to say here, moving on.

11. Alexander Semin

We expected so much of him, but in the end all we could do was watch him being murdered by Michel Therrien in Montreal. In 2010 though, he did okay, finishing second among forwards on a struggling Milwaukee Lagers team.

12. Zach Parise

Current teams: none (not protected by Minnesota Mammoths & Edmonton Kodiaks)
Rights: none

A young Devil drafted by Hellcats, seemed fitting in 2010. In 2016, Parise is still probably at least a top-100 player, but no longer a three-player-keeper-material. I think that has to do with his injury history as well as being on Minnesota Wild, the poster team for mediocrity.

13. Mike Green

Current teams: none (not protected by Milwaukee Lagers & Auckland Rockhoppers)
Rights: none

In the IceHL World he was a free agent for most of the season, always somewhere at the top of that FA list, but that's about it. He's likely to find home in a 20-team league, but possibly not via draft.

14. Pavel Datsyuk

This is going to be a really sad paragraph. Datsyuk won the IceHL West title with Scorpions last year and they probably wouldn't have kept him anyway, but what he brought to the ice was something special. Sorry for all the sad words. To lighten up the mood, let's all imagine Pavel in the ugly Coyotes jersey for a few secs.

15. Ilya Kovalchuk

In the 2010 IceHL Draft, Datsyuk went before Kovalchuk. In real life, Kovalchuk went to SKA St. Petersburg before Datsyuk. That's all I could come up with for this paragraph. Kovi sucks, I never liked him anyway.

16. Joe Thornton

Current teams: amazingly, none (not protected by Halifax Dragons & Salt Lake City Scorpions)
Rights: Helsinki Lynx (that's me)

What a year this bearded Scorpion-Dragon-Lynx had last season. I'm guessing not a top-45 guy in the league anymore (wait, what?), but if he can repeat once again, somebody's going to be pretty sorry for choosing Brad Marchand over Jumbo Joe.

17. Eric Staal

Current teams: none (not protected by Calgary Stallions)
Rights: none

Staal has declined very steadily and quickly too. He might be able to return to form this season with Bruce Boudreau coaching Eric in his new green sweater. Staal used to be a game changing juggernaut and can still be a valuable depth guy at least. Expect him to be off the boards by round 10. Or don't.

18. Roberto Luongo

Current teams: none (not protected by Hamilton Steelcats & Vancouver Lumberjacks)
Rights: none

Strombone enjoyed a Vezina consideration worthy season last year and his team, Florida Panthers, are on the rise. The problem with Luongo is his age and injuries and now he'll have to share the crease with James Reimer too. But just for the fun of it, whoever gets Thornton should also get Roberto. Old, awesome dudes.

19. Duncan Keith

Current teams: none (not protected by New York Guardians & Calgary Stallions)
Rights: none

Keith's fantasy value has never been as high as his on ice real life value, but he's coming off a strong season and after all the young hot quarterbacks are gone, you can expect Keith to be drafted by someone who's had him under the radar all along. And they'll come away with some nice points there.

20. Jeff Carter

Current teams: none (not protected by Florida Flamingos & Vancouver Lumberjacks)
Rights: none

Carter seems to be another one of those players who many think are past his prime but could actually start lighting it up. Especially if he keeps playing with Tyler Toffoli. The LA Kings are taking breaths, rather than steps at this stage, but they're not out of it yet.

So, four of the 20 guys are not even in the league anymore. Another two are not even likely to be picked. What about the others?

How many of 2010's top-20 players are now on a team? The number is six — all, but Ryan Miller, of the top seven from the 2010 IceHL Draft. Two more, the Sedin twins, lumped together once again, could be claimed by the Osaka Samurai and Geneva Mountaineers. And via the Compensation Draft, all the other ones could find homes before the 2016 IceHL Draft too — but that's a bit of a stretch.

And how many are top-20 worthy in 2016? I'll say five, which are also the first five guys taken in the 2010 IceHL draft. Sorry, Doughty.

What say you?

What Can We Learn From the History of IceHL Finals?

Written by Kris Knesis, GM Helsinki Lynx

New year, new IceHL Fantasy League finals. Some of the guys have been here before, but for some this is all new experience. This year saw a couple of new GMs added to the leagues and some had to depart. Others were and still are looking to keep their team in good shape and contend.

So what do the three final match-ups bring us this year? What do the six teams have in common with each other and past years winners? Let's dig in and find out.

IceHL East

Matt Riegler and his Minnesota Mammoths have advanced to the final for a second straight year. Opposing them are Mike Kelly's Detroit Chargers who beat the New York Guardians in a watertight battle to get to the final.

But who's been here before?

Minnesota Mammoths
2015 IceHL East Champion
2013 IceHL East Champion

Mammoths GM Matt Riegler
2015 IceHL East Champion
2013 IceHL East Champion

Detroit Chargers
No finals experience

Chargers GM Mike Kelly
No finals experience


Jamie Benn
2015 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)
2013 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)
2012 IceHL East Champion (North Carolina Nighthawks)

P.K. Subban
2015 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)
2013 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)
2011 IceHL runner-up (Saskatoon Sharpshooters)

Jonathan Toews
2015 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)
2013 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)

Ryan Miller
2015 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)
2014 IceHL East runner-up (New York Guardians)

Ryan McDonagh
2013 IceHL East runner-up (Quebec Armada)

Alexander Wennberg
2015 IceHL East runner-up (Baltimore Blue Crabs)

Mike Smith
2015 IceHL East runner-up (Baltimore Blue Crabs)


David Krejci
2013 IceHL East runner-up (Quebec Armada)
2012 IceHL Champion (North Carolina Nighthawks)

Andrew Ladd
2012 IceHL East runner-up (Montreal Olympiques)
2011 IceHL Champion (Alaska Huskies)

Dan Girardi
2015 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)

Tyler Seguin
2013 IceHL East Champion (Minnesota Mammoths)

Mark Giordano
2011 IceHL Champion (Alaska Huskies)

Troy Brouwer
2015 IceHL East runner-up (Baltimore Blue Crabs)

Alex Goligoski
2014 IceHL East runner-up (New York Guardians)

Advantage: MAMMOTHS


In the NHL there's an ongoing fight as to who's going to be the new modern dynasty — Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings? We can see something similar over at the IceHL West, where Boulder Beasts and Salt Lake City Scorpions will battle once again for the IceHL West title.

So, yeah, they've been here before:

Salt Lake City Scorpions
2014 IceHL West Champion
2013 IceHL West runner-up

Boulder Beasts
2015 IceHL West Champion
2012 IceHL West Champion

Scorpions GM Kyle Grossman
2014 IceHL West Champion
2013 IceHL West runner-up

Beasts GM Robert Brown
2015 IceHL West Champion
2012 IceHL West Champion


Corey Perry
2014 IceHL West Champion (Salt Lake City Scorpions)
2013 IceHL West runner-up (Salt Lake City Scorpions)

Kris Letang
2014 IceHL West Champion (Salt Lake City Scorpions)
2013 IceHL West runner-up (Salt Lake City Scorpions)

Joe Thornton
2013 IceHL West Champion (Edmonton Kodiaks)

Tyler Seguin
2014 IceHL West Champion (Salt Lake City Scorpions)

Semyon Varlamov
2014 IceHL West Champion (Salt Lake City Scorpions)

Ryan McDonagh
2015 IceHL West runner-up (California Wave)
2012 IceHL West runner-up (Alaska Huskies)

Jason Spezza
2012 IceHL West runner-up (Alaska Huskies)

Gabriel Landeskog
2013 IceHL West runner-up (Salt Lake City Scorpions)

BEASTS Players

Jamie Benn
2015 IceHL West Champion (Boulder Beasts)
2012 IceHL West Champion (Boulder Beasts)

Joe Pavelski
2015 IceHL West Champion (Boulder Beasts)
2012 IceHL West Champion (Boulder Beasts)

Brent Seabrook
2014 IceHL West runner-up (Saskatchewan Snipers)
2012 IceHL West Champion (Boulder Beasts)

Brandon Saad
2015 IceHL West Champion (Boulder Beasts)

Nikita Kucherov
2015 IceHL West Champion (Boulder Beasts)

Anton Stralman
2015 IceHL West Champion (Boulder Beasts)

Advantage: BEASTS


Martin Chouinard and his Gold Coast Rush have beat their bitter rivals Osaka Samurai to advance to the final. On the opposite side, Kristofers Knesis' Helsinki Lynx beat their expansion cousins, the Munich Machine.

Who's been here before? None of the teams and none of their GMs. Rush came third last season and Lynx are only playing their first season.

Players, though:

Jared Spurgeon 2015 IceHL World runner-up (Royal London HC)

Joe Thornton 2015 IceHL World Champion (Royal London HC)
Pekka Rinne 2015 IceHL World runner-up (Osaka Samurai)
Filip Forsberg 2015 IceHL World runner-up (Osaka Samurai)

Advantage: LYNX

So, what can we learn from all of this?

It helps if Jamie Benn is on your team. He has five championship titles across all leagues and he plays in all three of the finals this year, courtesy of Minnesota Mammoths, Boulder Beasts and Gold Coast Rush.

2015 World Draft Analysis

Written by Kris Knesis, GM Helsinki Lynx

Editor's Note: After two months of action in the 2015-16 IceHL season, one GM analyzes the best and worst picks of each round in the 2015 IceHL World Draft.

Best pick: Jamie Benn (Gold Coast Rush) - 7th overall (Keeper)
Worst pick: Ryan Getzlaf (Quebec Armada) - 5th overall (Keeper)
Sleeper: Alex Ovechkin (London Royal) - 1st overall

Benn and Crete's Tyler Seguin will obviously feed each other for the remainder of the season. Stockholm's 2nd overall pick in Connor McDavid has been rather unlucky, but not necessarily bad. This is a keepers league, afterall. Getzlaf raised eyebrows as a keeper pick and has yet to deliver. Ovechkin, however, will get his points and has the potential to be the best of the round.

Best pick: Patrick Kane (Stockholm Hammers) - 14th overall
Worst pick: Tyler Johnson (Moscow Cosmonauts)  - 23rd overall
Sleeper: Evgeni Malkin (Munich Machine) - 15th overall

Kane is running away with it, scoring nearly 7 points per game. Johnson's had a slow start and was actually dropped by the Cosmonauts and picked up by Seoul Express. Malkin, who is slowly heating up, was drafted by Munich but recently traded to Auckland in a blockbuster deal involving six players.

Best pick: Brent Burns (Moscow Cosmonauts) - 35th overall
Worst pick: Dennis Wideman (Osaka Samurai) - 28th overall (Keeper)
Sleeper: Jonathan Quick (Crete Minotaurs) - 32nd overall

Burns is a beast with 9 goals and 11 assists on the season. Wideman was probably the strangest of all the keeper picks and unsurprisingly has less than 3 points per game. Quick will start the majority of games this season and has a good team playing in front of him, which should translate to many wins. Unlucky pick here is the injured Logan Couture (36th overall, Auckland).

Best pick: Marc-Andre Fleury (Seoul Express) - 42nd overall
Worst pick: Jiri Hudler (Gold Coast Rush) - 43rd overall
Sleeper: Matt Duchene (Geneva Mountaineers) - 46th overall

Fleury has been bailing out a struggling Penguins team for most of the season so far and the points have been coming in. Hudler was just recently waived and is not in a good place right now. Duchene started slowly but was unstoppable in November and has found good chemistry with line mates Landeskog and MacKinnon.

Best pick: Nathan MacKinnon (Munich Machine) - 51st overall
Worst pick: Semyon Varlamov (Quebec Armada) - 53rd overall
Sleeper: Taylor Hall (Seoul Express) - 54th overall

Nathan MacKinnon is bouncing back from his sophomore slump big time and was a steal at Round 5. His real life teammate Varlamov, however, has struggled with injuries and poor play and is a Free Agent in IceHL World right now. Hall is another Round 5 steal, courtesy of Andy Taylor and Seoul Express.

Best pick: Justin Faulk (London Royal HC) - 72nd overall
Worst pick: Jordan Eberle (Auckland Rockhoppers) - 61st overall
Sleeper: Mark Stone (Osaka Samurai) - 69th overall

Faulk has been one of the few bright spots on Carolina Hurricanes, while Eberle has just recently returned to the lineup from injury, but hasn't yet produced at the expected rate. Mark Stone has the potential to be the best pick of the round, Ottawa being one of the top offensive teams in the league.

Best pick: John Klingberg (Osaka Samurai) - 76th overall
Worst pick: Cam Talbot (Moscow Cosmonauts) - 83rd overall
Sleeper: Gabriel Landeskog (Quebec Armada) - 77th overall

Already called 'The Next Lidstrom', Klingberg has impressed in his sophomore season. Talbot has been out of job for over a month now and isn't likely to find one soon. Landeskog is playing on 'The 9 Line' with MacKinnon and Duchene and will continue to produce.

Best pick: Ryan Suter (Munich Machine) - 94th overall
Worst pick: Alex Galchenyuk (Stockholm Hammers) - 95th overall
Sleeper: Cory Schneider (Crete Minotaurs) - 89th overall

In a round of solid choices, Suter averages nearly 5 and a half points per game (and over 28 minutes). Galchenyuk is not bad, but the other 8th-rounders have just been better. Schneider has what it takes to be one of the top-5 fantasy goalies this season altogether, Express were wise to acquire him, once Minotaurs waived the goalie.

Best pick: Daniel Sedin (Osaka Samurai) - 100th overall
Worst pick: Matt Moulson (Moscow Cosmonauts) - 107th overall
Sleeper: Jake Allen (Auckland Rockhoppers) - 108th overall

Daniel Sedin has regained vintage form and is producing very well to start the season. Moulson was dropped by 'Nauts on November 15. Allen, interestingly, was also dropped, but then again picked up by 'Hoppers nearly a month later — dodged a bullet there. Allen has been solid.

Best pick: Blake Wheeler (Crete Minotaurs) - 113th overall
Worst pick: Trevor Daley (Stockholm Hammers) - 119th overall
Sleeper: Alex Steen (Moscow Cosmonauts) - 110th overall

Wheeler averages over 5 points per game, not what you'd expect from a 10th round pick. Daley has been out of work for a month, after he was dropped by the Hammers on November 2. Steen has been a pleasant surprise and with such high quality line mates that he has, he might continue to wow.


Martin Jones (London Royal HC) - 14th round, 168th overall
David Krejci (Osaka Samurai) 13th round, 148th overall
Patrice Bergeron (Osaka Samurai) 11th round, 124th overall
Evgeny Kuznetsov (Geneva Mountaineers) - 15th round, 178th overall

Jones has become a true #1 goalie for his team, while Krejci and Bergeron — teammates in Boston and Osaka, have combined for 231 points so far. Kuznetsov was actually dropped by Geneva and immediately picked up by Helsinki Lynx.

Nov 2015 Recap

Written by Tony Pomposelli, GM Saskatchewan Snipers

For this month's edition of Inside the IceHL, I've decided to do something different. Now that we have two months of equal time in the books (that being 4 weeks of games in the league per month), how have our teams improved or slipped from October to November?

To determine this, I've taken a look at most of the stats that we track in the league, and created a stat metric to reflect this:

  • Each team starts at a neutral rating of 0.
  • A team earns a +1 to their rating if a stat improved from October to November.
  • Inversely, the team suffers a -1 penalty if their stat regressed from October to November.
  • If a team's position did not change or their stat did not improve or regress, the team will not gain or lose any rating points.
  • The stats that are compared are as follows:
    • Goals
    • Assists
    • Power Play Points
    • Blocked Shots
    • Goalie Starts
    • Goalie Wins
    • Points For
    • Overall Record
    • Division Standings

To take a look at the stats as they stood at the end of each month of action, take a look at the stats table for all three leagues here. Each league is on a separate sheet (tabs at the bottom of the document) so you can view the West, East and World individually.

Who's trending in the right direction? Who could use some improvement? Let's find out:


Frontier Division
Alaska Huskies: +6
Winnipeg Winterhawks: +1
Saskatchewan Snipers: +3
Northwest Narwhals: +2

Mountain Division
Boulder Beasts: +9
Vancouver Lumberjacks: +7
Edmonton Kodiaks: +1
Calgary Stallions: 0

Pacific Division
Seattle Aviators: +2
Portland Pioneers: +5
California Wave: +2
Hawaii Honu: -1

Sunbelt Division
Salt Lake City Scorpions: +9
Houston Hellcats: +7
Texas Outlaws: +9
New Orleans Gators: +1


Atlantic Division
Tampa Bay Barracudas: +6
North Carolina Nighthawks: +2
Washington Sentinels: +8
Baltimore Blue Crabs: +3

Lakes Division
St. Louis Archers: 0
Milwaukee Lagers: +7
Chicago Hitmen: +2
Minnesota Mammoths: +4

Seaboard Division
New York Guardians: +7
Boston Colonials: +6
Philadelphia Aces: 0
Hartford Mariners: -2

Valley Division
Detroit Chargers: -2
Montreal Olympiques: 0
Halifax Dragons: +2
Hamilton Steelcats: -1 


Empire Division
Moscow Cosmonauts: +1
Stockholm Hammers: +4
Helsinki Lynx: +7
Quebec Armada: +6

Mediterranean Division
Crete Minotaurs: +5
Geneva Mountaineers: +7
Munich Machine: +4
Royal London HC: +2

Oceania Division
Seoul Express: +4
Osaka Samurai: +2
Auckland Rockhoppers: +5
Gold Coast Rush: +1

What can we glean from these numbers? Teams with higher numbers are the ones who made some major improvements, and higher numbers tend to correspond to higher production and some standing movement as well. 

Teams who may have a positive number that are lower (between 1-3) are usually considered to be more static in their position, with less dramatic position shifting involved.

Teams with neutral or negative numbers generally indicate there's a step back from the previous month, with negative numbers being signs for concern because of the vast number of teams with positive records.

Oct 2015 Recap

Written by Tony Pomposelli, GM Saskatchewan Snipers


Frontier Division

Winnipeg Winterhawks: 3-1 in October
Wins: 113-54 vs. Saskatchewan, 226-155 vs. Portland, 188-178 vs. Boulder
Losses: 153-114 vs. Northwest
Upside: Winnipeg leads the West in goals scored, with 7 players potting 5+. There's only 38 of those in the NHL. Top-scoring team in the West.
Downside: On the other side of things, the team's not blocking many shots and if the recent injury to Carey Price is lengthy, a bumpy road's ahead.

Alaska Huskies: 3-1 in October
Wins: 107-98 v. Northwest. 178-147 vs. Saskatchewan, 154-138 vs. Edmonton
Losses: 187-164 vs. Saskatchewan
Upside: Corey Crawford + Martin Jones=a tandem that ties league lead for wins. Most blocked shots in the West & second-most points scored as well.
Downside: A slightly mediocre offense, though not terrible (but looks worse next to the defense). Krejci, Ovechkin, Callahan=55% of team's goals.

Saskatchewan Snipers: 2-2 in October
Wins: 133-108 vs. Calgary, 187-164 vs. Alaska
Losses: 113-54 vs. Winnipeg, 178-147 vs. Alaska
Upside: Snipers defense is good: top-four team in blocked shots, tied for the lead with goalie wins & field the second-highest scoring d-man. (Josi)
Downside: No team has scored less than the Snipers, who are the worst in the league with 23 goals. A lacking offense is really the biggest issue.

Northwest Narwhals: 1-3 in October
Wins: 153-114 vs. Winnipeg
Losses: 107-98 vs. Alaska, 129-120 vs. Seattle, 125-111 vs. Winnipeg
Upside: Good offensive corps of Tarasenko, Hall & Smith. Northwest has allowed fewest points scored in West, and though 1-3, lost all by 14 or less.
Downside: The Narwhals fail to capitalize on allowing the fewest points, scoring more points than only 1 team in the West. Depth concerns exist too.

Mountain Division

Edmonton Kodiaks: 2-2 in October
Wins: 127-67 vs. Vancouver, 171-136 vs. Boulder
Losses: 166-159 vs. Houston. 154-138 vs. Alaska
Upside: Strong top-5 offense led by MacKinnon, Malkin and Parise. The team's a top-5 placer in just about every major category. What's not to like?
Downside: A couple of underproducing players, but outside of the couple of bad bounces that just went the other way, this team is better than record.

Calgary Stallions: 2-2 in October
Wins: 121-90 vs. Boulder, 153-127 vs. Vancouver
Losses: 134-129 vs. Vancouver, 133-108 vs. Saskatchewan
Upside: 3rd-most goals scored on an offense led by Turris and Jagr. Defense has also allowed fewer points to be scored than all but 2 teams in West.
Downside: Ten goalie starts only yields two wins. The defense is worrisome: they're last in blocked shots & lack a player with 3.5+ PPG on the roster.

Vancouver Lumberjacks: 2-2 in October
Wins: 134-129 vs. Calgary, 125-111 vs. Northwest
Losses: 127-67 vs. Edmonton, 153-127 vs. Calgary
Upside: Ryan O'Reilly with a monster year (4-9-13 in 12 games) alongside Jeff Carter (4-6-10 in 10 games). Kris Russell killing it with 43 blocks.
Downside: Very anemic offense: 13th in goals scored, 15th in assists & dead last in total points scored this year. Absence of depth beyond big names.

Boulder Beasts: 1-3 in October
Wins: 150-123 vs. New Orleans
Losses: 121-90 vs. Calgary, 188-178 vs. Winnipeg, 171-136 vs. Edmonton
Upside: 2nd-highest goals scored in the West, helmed by Kuznetsov, Pavelski and Benn. Burns & Seabrook also strong on D, averaging 4.5+ PPG.
Downside: Depthwise, Burns & Seabrook are all the defense has right now. Allowed second-most points scored in the West, despite being top-5 scorers.

Pacific Division

Seattle Aviators: 4-0 in October
Wins: 101-99 vs. Hawaii, 129-120 vs. Northwest, 199-147 vs. Houston, 141-131 vs. Portland
Losses: None.
Upside: A solid offense, a decent defense, and a 4-0 record for the Aviators--that sounds like the month of October was an upside all on its own.
Downside: While they're 4-0, there's concern with consistency/sustainable production & goaltending. If big gun Schneider goes down things could sour.

California Wave: 2-2 in October
Wins: 184-159 vs. Hawaii, 144-103 vs. Hawaii
Losses: 107-93 vs. Portland, 145-128 vs. New Orleans
Upside: California fields Steven Stamkos on their roster--and has 5 skaters on their team with a higher PPG than the Bolts stud. The Wave run deep.
Downside: Splitting October while only getting wins against struggling Hawaii won't cut it in a division that no longer seems to be a 2-horse race.

Portland Pioneers: 2-2 in October
Wins: 107-93 vs. California, 134-127 vs. Salt Lake City
Losses: 226-155 vs. Winnipeg, 141-131 vs. Seattle
Upside: While Portland isn't dominating the standings, they're consistent and competitive, and that's a large step forward from previous seasons.
Downside: There are concerns about where the points are coming from on the team, as the offense isn't scoring the goals & the defense isn't blocking.

Hawaii Honu: 1-3 in October
Wins: 156-112 vs. Texas
Losses: 101-99 vs. Seattle, 184-159 vs. California, 144-103 vs. California
Upside: Hawaii has a fun story on their team, with their two best skaters being a hotly prized rookie (McDavid) along with a grizzled vet (Streit).
Downside: The Honu has the second-lowest goals scored in the West, making offense a concern. Also, while 8 goalie wins is good, 9 starts isn't.

Sunbelt Division

New Orleans Gators: 3-1 in October
Wins: 76-73 vs. Salt Lake City, 145-128 vs. California, 138-127 vs. Houston
Losses: 150-123 vs. Boulder
Upside: Near the top of crop with assists and power play points, New Orleans is led by Trocheck. While not big with PPG, team isn't thin either.
Downside: Not buoyed by the goaltending (4 wins) or their second-to-last place in goals scored & points as well. Only Northwest allowed fewer points.

Salt Lake City Scorpions: 2-2 in October
Wins: 175-145 vs. Texas, 171-136 vs. Texas
Losses: 76-73 vs. New Orleans, 134-127 vs. Portland
Upside: Two close losses=Salt Lake City's 2-2 is positively misleading. Stars players (Spezza, Seguin, Niemi) lead the way with Toews & Marchand.
Downside: Forward lineup is hobbled: injuries to Drouin, Datsyuk, Barkov, non-production from Perry. Poor performance from Varlamov also an anchor.

Houston Hellcats: 1-3 in October
Wins: 166-159 vs. Edmonton
Losses: 133-90 vs. Texas, 199-147 vs. Seattle, 138-127 vs. New Orleans
Upside: Worthy defense with young gun Parayko's youth countering Beauchemin and Markov (highest-scoring D-man in league). Elders producing like mad.
Downside: While 15 goalie starts ties for the lead, 6 wins is less than stellar. So is their bottom-5 offense & allowing most points scored against.

Texas Outlaws: 1-3 in October
Wins: 133-90 vs. Houston
Losses: 175-145 vs. Salt Lake City, 156-112 vs. Hawaii, 171-136 vs. Salt Lake City
Upside: Monster of a defense here, as everyone but Travis Hamonic is producing north of 3.5 PPG. Led by Ryan Suter, it's pretty much the strong point of the team, though having a strong offense spearheaded by Patrick Kane, Gabriel Landeskog and Nicklas Backstrom certainly doesn't hurt.
Downside: Major reason for Outlaws' struggles: nine goalie starts, two wins. When the goalies improve (and Eberle returns) so does this team.


Atlantic Division

Tampa Bay Barracudas: 3-1 in October
Wins: 167-140 vs. Washington, 193-164 vs. Hartford, 161-130 vs. Washington
Losses: 106-90 vs. North Carolina
Upside: Tampa Bay's strong start is nothing to scoff at. They're second in goals scored & goaltending wins while also leading the league in points.
Downside: The goaltending is impressive given they have 2 goalies on IR. A few underperformers on the roster, but otherwise the Barracudas are good.

North Carolina Nighthawks: 3-1 in October
Wins: 106-90 vs. Tampa Bay, 163-132 vs. Minnesota, 143-141 vs. Baltimore
Losses: 157-132 vs. New York
Upside: Their wins are a lot like the team: solid but not incredibly flashy. Spezza, MacKinnon, Turris all very capable forwards for North Carolina.
Downside: Outside of Spurgeon, the Nighthawks defense doesn't have a real high-producing PPG player. Also, running only one goaltender is very risky.

Baltimore Blue Crabs: 1-3 in October
Wins: 161-123 vs. Chicago
Losses: 99-88 vs. Washington, 145-127 vs. Boston, 143-141 vs. North Carolina
Upside: Strong corps of Hall, Crosby & Tavares complimenting young and upcoming talent like Domi, Duclair & Draisaitl. Beauchemin star of blueline.
Downside: Lot of young, unproven talent is a risky strategy. Their defense: 6 wins in net rank in the bottom 5, as do their total points & blocks.

Washington Sentinels: 1-3 in October
Wins: 99-88 vs. Baltimore
Losses: 167-140 vs. Tampa Bay, 128-117 vs. Philadelphia, 161-130 vs. Tampa Bay
Upside: A strong defense spearheaded by Carlson puts Washington in the top 4 for blocked shots & is a strong bright side for this struggling squad.
Downside: Four wins from 14 goalie starts is devastating for the Sentinels, as is their bottom-3 total points scored and bottom-4 goals scored.

Lakes Division

St. Louis Archers: 4-0 in October
Wins: 105-104 vs. Minnesota, 142-137 vs. Milwaukee, 154-146 vs. Montreal, 168-144 vs. Milwaukee
Upside: The only 4-0 team in the East, St. Louis has scored the second-most points in the East, along with the most goals in the conference.
Downside: Their defense has been less than stellar, as their goaltending (12 starts, 5 wins) is lagging, and they've blocked 4th fewest shots in East.

Chicago Hitmen: 2-2 in October
Wins: 123-106 vs. Milwaukee, 148-117 vs. Hamilton
Losses: 161-123 vs. Baltimore, 184-78 vs. Minnesota
Upside: Relatively decent roster in terms of depth, with few players below 3.0 PPG. Parise and Stafford lead in goals, Streit leading on defense.
Downside: Bottom of the pack with assists & goaltending starts & a bottom-5 with power play points. Chicago also scored the least points in the East.

Minnesota Mammoths: 1-3 in October
Wins: 184-78 vs. Chicago
Losses: 104-105 vs. St. Louis, 163-132 vs. North Carolina, 186-142 vs. Detroit
Upside: Game lost via tiebreaker means Minnesota could be 2-2. Benn, Zuccarello been huge at F, big reason why they're in the top-5 of goals scored.
Downside: Dragging a little on power play points, as only 2 teams have less. Also, 14 goalie starts and only 6 wins is a little less than ideal.

Milwaukee Lagers: 1-3 in October
Wins: 145-133 vs. Halifax
Losses: 123-106 vs. Chicago, 142-137 vs. St. Louis, 168-144 vs. St. Louis
Upside: The Lagers rank in top-3 goals scored on this roster with Kane, Kuznetsov and others. Also part of 4-way logjam for top-3 goaltending wins.
Downside: Milwaukee is a bottom-5 team with assists and power play points. They've also allowed more points scored than all but two teams in the East.

Seaboard Division

Boston Colonials: 3-1 in October
Wins: 192-153 vs. Hartford, 145-127 vs. Baltimore, 162-116 vs. Hartford
Losses: 123-43 vs. Philadelphia
Upside: Boston's D corps of Russell, Ristolainen and Wideman lead the Colonials defense to top-3 spot for blocks. Allowed 5th-fewest points scored.
Downside: What's hurting the Colonials the most is the lack of effective goaltending: 13 goalie starts, two wins (tied for last in the East) to show.

New York Guardians: 2-2 in October
Wins: 157-132 vs. North Carolina, 151-117 vs. Philadelphia
Losses: 93-77 vs. Hartford, 187-134 vs. Montreal
Upside: Lots of consistent performers for New York, who field only 5 skaters with <3.0 PPG. O'Reilly, Jagr, Vanek leading F, Karlsson big on D.
Downside: Only one team has scored less goals than the Guardians, who only have 22. Despite 7 wins, there's a little lack of starts (only 10 so far).

Philadelphia Aces: 2-2 in October
Wins: 123-43 vs. Boston, 128-117 vs. Washington
Losses: 139-131 vs. Hamilton, 151-117 vs. New York
Upside: The Aces have scored the 4th-most goals in the East & also have least points scored against them. Plekanec an early surprise. (5-7-12 in 13)
Downside: Philadelphia has less assists and power play points than all but one team, and have only outscored three teams in the East.

Hartford Mariners: 1-3 in October
Wins: 93-77 vs. New York
Losses: 192-153 vs. Boston, 193-164 vs. Tampa Bay, 162-116 vs. Hartford
Upside: Hartford paces the league with the most assists & power play points out East. Zetterberg, Hudler, Markov big contributors on assist/PPP.
Downside: The Mariners have allowed more points than any other team in the East, won the fewest goalie starts, & are a bottom-three team in blocks.

Valley Division

Detroit Chargers: 3-1 in October
Wins: 105-81 vs. Montreal, 163-152 vs. Halifax, 186-142 vs. Minnesota
Losses: 178-110 vs. Halifax
Upside: Detroit has scored the 3rd-most points in the East while blocking more shots than all but 1 team. They've also got the 3rd-most goalie wins.
Downside: The Chargers are a bottom-5 team in goals scored & they've also allowed the 4th-most points to be scored. Depth really falls off in lineup.

Montreal Olympiques: 2-2 in October
Wins: 187-134 vs. New York, 148-129 vs. Hamilton
Losses: 105-81 vs. Detroit, 154-146 vs. St. Louis
Upside: No team has more goalie starts/wins than the Olympiques, with 16 & 10. They're also in the top 5 for blocked shots, assists & points scored.
Downside: Montreal is 3rd-worst in goals scored in the East. Perry's 3 assists in 11 games is the only major blemish on an otherwise solid roster.

Hamilton Steelcats: 2-2 in October
Wins: 95-80 vs. Halifax, 139-131 vs. Philadelphia
Losses: 148-117 vs. Chicago, 148-129 vs. Montreal
Upside: The Steelcats have allowed the 2nd-fewest points scored, are 1 of 4 teams with 8 goalie wins & have 2 players with 10 A (Hedman, Hanzal).
Downside: Lots of tough injuries to E. Kane, Barkov, Hanzal. Hamilton's 21 goals are fewest in East, 45 assists are bottom-3. 2nd-least points scored.

Halifax Dragons: 1-3 in October
Wins: 178-110 vs. Detroit
Losses: 95-80 vs. Hamilton, 163-152 vs. Detroit, 145-133 vs. Milwaukee
Upside: Halifax is among the top 5 in goalie wins and have also allowed the 4th-fewest points in the East. 4 players with 5+ G make a deep offense.
Downside: One goaltender is always a concern, regardless of performance. Eberle and Green injuries hurt too. Dragons have blocked least shots in East.


Empire Division

Moscow Cosmonauts: 4-0 in October
Wins: 93-79 vs. Quebec, 187-178 vs. Helsinki, 172-125 vs. Stockholm, 153-148 vs. Quebec
Upside: The Cosmonauts scored the most goals in the World, blocked the 3rd-most shots, and has scored the 2nd-most points while allowing 4th-fewest.
Downside: Moscow's sitting incredibly pretty, no lower than 7th in major stat areas. This team is for real, and only the recent Price injury stings.

Stockholm Hammers: 3-1 in October
Wins: 120-94 vs. Helsinki, 123-97 vs. Quebec, 138-119 vs. Helsinki
Losses: 172-125 vs. Moscow
Upside: The Hammers have been stingy on the defense, allowing the fewest points scored. Kane/McDavid/Ehlers is a nasty one-two-three on offense.
Downside: Lacking in the defense with blocked shots, Stockholm has less than any other team. They've also scored 3rd-fewest points in league.

Helsinki Lynx: 1-3 in October
Wins: 173-133 vs. Quebec
Losses: 120-94 vs. Stockholm, 187-178 vs. Moscow, 138-119 vs. Stockholm
Upside: The Lynx are a top-5 team in goals, assists, points scored & goalie wins. Some of their early struggles can be blamed on a hard first month.
Downside: That said, not all of those struggles can be--Helsinki's defense is a struggle, having blocked 3rd-fewest shots & allowing 2nd-most points.

Quebec Armada: 0-4 in October
Losses: 93-79 vs. Moscow, 123-97 vs. Stockholm, 173-133 vs. Helsinki, 153-148 vs. Moscow
Upside: Neal's doing great this season, as is Landeskog & Carter. Close game against dominant Moscow. Quebec's best stat: 7th most points allowed.
Downside: Let's just call it October, as nearly every stat sees the beleaguered Armada in the bottom 5. Quebec has scored fewest points in World.

Mediterranean Division

London Royal HC: 2-2 in October
Wins: 81-60 vs. Crete, 169-161 vs. Geneva
Losses: 154-120 vs. Munich, 182-150 vs. Osaka
Upside: London's defense has blocked the most shots in the World on the backs of Josi, De Haan, Russell. One of 4 teams with 7 wins in net.
Downside: Surprisingly, outside of the upsides, Royal HC is ranked in the bottom 5 in about every other stat, including dead last in assists/PPP.

Munich Machine: 2-2 in October
Wins: 154-120 vs. London, 163-152 vs. Seoul
Losses: 99-88 vs. Geneva, 158-128 vs. Crete
Upside: Munich's defense is solid, having blocked the 2nd-most shots in the league and allowing the 3rd-least points scored against the Machine.
Downside: 14 goaltending starts shouldn't translate to only 3 wins, but it does here. Munich also struggles on most offensive fronts outside of goals.

Crete Minotaurs: 2-2 in October
Wins: 158-128 vs. Munich, 158-108 vs. Geneva
Losses: 81-60 vs. London, 169-133 vs. Gold Coast
Upside: A mixed bag for the Minotaurs, but highlights include placing 4th in assists & allowing 2nd-fewest points scored. Near-middle for few stats.
Downside: Crete has scored the fewest goals, blocked the 4th-fewest shots, scored 4th-fewest points & have more goalie wins than just 2 teams.

Geneva Mountaineers: 2-2 in October
Wins: 99-88 vs. Munich, 136-120 vs. Auckland
Losses: 169-161 vs. London, 158-108 vs. Crete
Upside: Geneva has allowed 5th-fewest points scored & are one of 4 teams with 7 goalie wins. Tarasenko, Spezza & Marchand are quality contributors.
Downside: The Mountaineers have scored 2nd-least goals, 3rd-least PPP & the 2nd-least points. The offense lacks some depth beyond Tarasenko/Spezza.

Oceania Division

Osaka Samurai: 3-1 in October
Wins: 148-115 vs. Gold Coast, 174-123 vs. Auckland, 182-150 vs. London
Losses: 169-126 vs. Seoul
Upside: Osaka's got a good thing going, placing in the top 5 of nearly every major stat, including the most PPP, goalie wins and points scored.
Downside: It's a good thing the Samurai put up more than anyone else, otherwise allowing the 4th-most points scored might be a bigger issue for them.

Seoul Express: 2-2 in October
Wins: 197-152 vs. Gold Coast, 169-126 vs. Osaka
Losses: 122-78 vs. Auckland, 163-152 vs. Munich
Upside: Seoul leads the league in assists, is a top-3 team in PPP, is tied for the most goalie wins, & has scored the 3rd-most points in the World.
Downside: The Express also allowed the 3rd-most points while scoring the 3rd-least goals in the conference. Little scoring beside Tavares/Hall/Little.

Auckland Rockhoppers: 2-2 in October
Wins: 122-78 vs. Seoul, 162-149 vs. Gold Coast
Losses: 174-123 vs. Osaka, 136-120 vs. Geneva
Upside: Auckland's offense is potent: Pacioretty, Parise, Weise and Domi are big reasons why the Rockhoppers have the 2nd-highest goals scored.
Downside: Auckland's biggest struggles are assists and PPP, where they rank 2nd-to-last. Also, 5 goalie wins isn't great and 9 starts is a league-low.

Gold Coast Rush: 1-3 in October
Wins: 169-133 vs. Crete
Losses: 148-115 vs. Osaka, 197-152 vs. Seoul, 162-149 vs. Auckland
Upside: The Rush's offense: 3rd-most goals & assists & 4th-most PPP. All combine to be a big reason why Gold Coast has the 4th-most points scored.
Downside: The Rush's defense is a bit flatter, placing in the bottom 5 for blocks and goaltending wins, but coming in dead last for points allowed.