The 2016-2017 Season is one for the ages - many teams are surging forward, making the SHL Cup the ultimate destination. The Scarlet Saviors and the Green Hornets are fighting for the prestigial Kingship Trophy, and ultimately home-game advantage. Teams like the Ultimate Royals and Branton Nickels are reinvesting their lines and proving their worth. But all in all, where does each team stand?
Right now, many awards in the SHL are already in talks - as to who should be nominated for it, or who is most deserving right now. Let's go over them in the bottom list.
Undoubtedly the most vaunted award in the SHL - the MVP. Most Valuable Player is a title many aspire to claim. But right now - who would be the three nominees for the award?
Ted Mauvre leads the league in assists, and has contributed to all four lines on his team, and has one of the highest +/- currently in the league - the stat may be ineffective to some, but with him being +10 above the next teammate, shows that Ted's chemistry is a strong factor. Bixby Clements is playing the best defensive game of his career, and his strong PP protection against several high scoring teams (such as the Centurions or the Lightning) show that lights out, Bixby is keeping them in the game. He also leads all defenseman in points after the fourth set. Rick Dowan, backing up Joel Kirkquist may not be seen as a benefactor, but while in net he is holding his ground, and serving as a mentor to Kirkquist, who has greatly improved his play this year. On top of this, Rick is finding his groove again, and currently stands as the best goalie in OT wins (11) and has made several 40-save games which has kept the team during divisional battles.
Conduct and professionalism is deserving in the league, and as such, we have a list of nominees.
Kevin Johnson, ever since his controversial conduct during the 2014-2015 Season, has set himself to improve and play better than ever before, noting that he won't make his coach (or anyone) despise his ethical play. Roy Vallus continues to be a key leader for the Centurions, playing with enough heart that last season's disappointment (losing the SHL Cup to the Black Blades) appears not to affect him. Igius Gonzalez has played with a lot of heart, mostly in the shootouts, claiming a league record in honor of his late grandfather, and on top of this, packing up the points for Team X most notably at the halfway point of the season, being tied with Chad Mackenzie with 46.
Goliath Ironwall Trophy
Who is nominated for the best goaltender?
Drew Gaudron is playing in his second season, and was crucial to building two 10-0-0 sets with the Saviors, while being 1.99 GAA, 4 SO, and having a 96.4% save percentage. Justin Lambré plays like his first season with the Nickels, making the key saves and leading his team to victory. He continues to carry his performance from the playoffs last year, where it all came down to facing enough shots; Justin has 2.01 GAA, 5 SO, and is tied for 2nd for most shots in the league (behind William Smith). Andre Montoja led Green to a victorious 15-win streak, winning 11 of those games on his own before losing 1-0 in OT to Team X. However, Andre's 1.89 GAA and 4 SO could lead him to his first ever trophy.
With the amount of rookies in the league, who makes the cut?
Korby Klauser contributes to be some of the best two-way play in the league, and currently has the most offensive line on the Blues. His level-head capability and astounding PP performance have led the NHB to an offensive breakthrough, and also, wins. Brady Bellack dominates offensively of all rookies, having 20 goals by the halfway mark, and currently has the most GWG of all rookies. On top of this, he is on pace for 42 goals this season, and has reignited the Crimson Ninjas' offensive capabilities on his line and for the team. Rick Felluni has played exciting defense for the Orange Orators, playing on the first and second line several times due to his defensive strategies. He is third in average TOI for all defenseman, with 27:43.
Who is having a breakthrough year?
Taoshi Kobasigawa missed over 40 games last year with a heavy leg injury, which led many to believe that the Nukes' goaltending hopes would diminish. Returning from his injury, Taoshi played admirably though he missed the playoffs. However, he currently stands with a 2.04 GAA and 4 SO, sitting 4th on the Ironwall voting list, and has made a record 56 save shutout this year. David Eir in his first full SHL season is outperforming various expectations, being named First Star of the Month, earning 6 goals and 6 assists in 10 games, and a +/- of 14. Although he was expected to be an awesome scorer, he is going above and beyond. Denis Durgmann missed the first 15 games of the season, but is already playing amazing defense, and scored 16 points in his first 7 games back, with 3 goals and 13 assists. Right now, his return is helping the Benton Bruisers attempt a playoff run, after Vince Benson was injured for a significant 10 games.
Iron Fist Trophy
The best defenseman?
Jesse Valwell's strong defensive play has propelled Scarlet to 20-7-3 in their last thirty games, not allowing a PP goal while he was on in 23 consecutive games. He is a strong contender for his strong two-way play. Seth Derchi of the Branton Nickels is aiding his netminder, Justin Lambré in facing less shots than he should. On top of this, he is second on the team in points, playing 28:32 minutes a game, and contributes well on both power plays and penalty killing. Bixby Clements is playing high minutes of defense, at 29:34 a game roughly, and also leading all defensemen in +/- and points. Compared to last season, Bixby has gotten 41 points by the halfway mark, and may be the next defenseman to have a PPG season. The points don't measure defense, but contributing what you can and stopping pucks puts Bixby on the list.
Player of the year?
Nick Phillips is on pace for 61 goals, and his third consecutive 60-goal season, being the first player to ever do so. Stats that boost his levels include being 100% on his slap-shot goals this season so far (13) and having several four and five point games with Brenden Donaghy and Chad Mackenzie. Mats Wyld of the Cochrane Wildcats is at a staggering 43 points in 35 games, and currently is on track for the most GWG, having already 8 by the halfway mark. On top of this he also has 10 GWA, meaning that he has been credited for all but 5 of his team's wins. Nikita Volkqvist, the most anticipated player this year, has broken league records in his first year - scoring 14 goals in 10 games, and is on pace for 57 goals this season, and has the highest +/- in the league, with +43.
Captain Victory Trophy
Who is the best captain?
Anton Steele is playing defensively and offensively, and leading his team in points and both matters of strategy and tactics. Although Damon City is at a unlikable record, he plays with huge heart each game, and is a driving force behind the Damon City Warlords' comebacks. Oliver Marton's play continues from last year, having the same and unyielding heart that is leading his team to a playoff spot. Oliver also leads the league in points, something he has held since Game 1 where he had 4 points. Nikita Volkqvist's offensive capabilities have inspired his team to be highly offensive and highly capable of creating two-way plays and performance. His speed as a captain is unmatchable on the battlefield and in the locker room.