EIHL Season Predictions

Winter Sports

ByTheMinWinterSports

The 2017/18 EIHL season is upon us. With any new season, there came another long summer of many players coming and going from the Elite League rosters. With the addition of two new sides to the league, it's sure to be one of the most competitive campaigns yet.

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12. Dundee Stars Unfortunately half way through the summer, former Stars' head coach Marc LeFebvre left the team to pursue a career back in North America. This meant that the Stars have had to build the roster and replace the management staff in very little time. New coach Omar Pacha has done really well to get the players he has, but budget issues limit them going into the season ahead.

11. Guildford Flames One of the league's newcomers have recruited well, managing to snap up some key players that know the league including goalie Brian Stewart, along with top Brit players including Kevin Phillips and Ben Davies. However the quality of the league grows year on year and with none of the players playing together before, it could perhaps result in a poor start to their EIHL dreams

10. Fife Flyers Recruitment has been very slow from Fife this off-season, finally managing to pull in a group of players in the last month. The Flyers could have been patiently waiting and not rushing into signings. Of course, only time will tell, but there appears to be a lack of top quality in the forward position, coupled with playing three line hockey, it could be a tiring year for the Fifers

9. Edinburgh Capitals Edinburgh's recruitment has seen them look to the Russian leagues for most of their imports this year. While a few players have played at the top level in Russia, eg Alex Islamov, the question remains if there will be enough in the way of quality. It could be close to call, but with only 8 playoff places available, it could be heartbreaking for the Caps players and their fans

8. Milton Keynes Lightning The league's other newcomers would appear to have recruited extremely well. Snapping up Wiikman in nets, Nickerson at the back and top forward Doucet, who are all known to the league's fans as top drawer players. Brit Ashley Tait is a solid addition also. This MK team will be competitive and could finish higher than just making the playoffs in their inaugural year.

7. Manchester Storm Ryan Finnerty's new look Storm side should be exciting to watch, especially with ex-Clan men Matt Beca and Mike Hammond leading the charge up top. My concern lies in their defence and whether they have enough experience and quality to make a real push for a top half finish. That being said, Finnerty will have his team up for every game and will be tough to beat at home.

6. Coventry Blaze Provided Coventry can stick together as a team this year, they will be tough. Their conference is favourable with both new sides in there with Manchester. I believe Blaze have recruited well and found a balance in their squad. With Canadian Kevin Natsiuk between the sticks, they have a formidable goaltender who will be hard to pass on any given night. A good year for Coventry.

5. Belfast Giants Another side with a slow summer recruitment, it's clear to see that it's paying off with some of the announcements being made out of Belfast for the season ahead. Always a difficult side to face, the Giants have brought in a wealth of experience with the signings of Cole Jarrett and Dustin Johner to add to their considerable experience already, it'll be another solid year in teal

4. Sheffield Steelers I think this will be the season the Steelers take a back step. I feel as though other teams have recruited incredibly well thus far and feel Steelers lack that this year. While the players Sheffield have brought in are quality, other sides have been striving to build rosters with a better mix of players that suit a number of styles. It will be close at the top come the end.