The DWSHL will be getting a fresh start. Many new general managers will be hired in the offseason as the league looks to move on to a new simulator. Rule changes will be looked at including adapting the shootout format into the league for the first time ever. The league has been running tests and is looking specifically at tests for finances. Also, though there is no official word on contraction, our money is on Boston, since they look to be very deep in debt at the end of the season.
Several teams are going to be looking for new GMs in the offseason. Reno, Jacksonville, Texas, Helsinki, and Washington currently are the only official teams currently operating without a GM, however, there have been other inactive GMs that will likely be replaced soon. The leagueís goal is to see all teams with some activity or GMs are not likely to be asked back.
Copenhagen has been up near the top for a good chunk of this season. For the third time in GM Mike Osterlohís career, his team is going to be in the top four and is in the Jack Daniels title race. Though he was unable to move defenseman Derek Morris, this could turn out to be a good thing since his team is poised to make a run. This teamís future is very bright since it has several future stars on the Snowcats.
The T-Rex decided to hang on to center Henrik Zetterberg for the playoff run. Apparently, letting him walk at the end of the season is worth more to GM Ryley Weir than trading him for lesser value. This team looks to move deep into the playoffs and possibly move past the Skyleafs for the division lead by the end of next week.
The Crunch are a playoff team looking to shed millions this offseason, however this team needs to watch its finances closely, especially if they donít make it past the first round. Straka and Carter are likely playing their last games in the DWSHL and look to make their opponents pay in the playoffs. Rumor has it that the Mosquitoes will be moving out of Sudbury and currently several cities are currently looking to land the development league team.
The Battalion had goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin on the block, but GM Tyler Weir couldnít pull off a move at the deadline that he liked, even to playoff teams desperately needing a goaltender. Instead, he will move along in the playoffs with what he has, which is a strong team that could take another Jack Daniels title if the Falcons slow down during the final stretch.
The Rams were unable to move defenseman Brian McCabe, who has only one year remaining on his contract. However, GM Jason Mazzei managed to move veteran Hal Gill to the Wolves for Eric Belanger and a future second line player in Ethan Moreau. Mazzei could be moving a center or two during the offseason to shore up his weaknesses.
Antwerp GM Brett Ommen is rumored to be skeptical about the transition into a new simulator and has elected to wait out on offering contracts to any of their players that are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents. However we canít see this team not making even a low offer to goaltender Marty Turco.
The Galaxy have had cap problems for weeks and a player or two may get cut just to get under the $47 million mark. They field a team that boasts young offensive centers in Vincent Lecavalier and Jason Spezza that look to make a solid run in the playoffs.
GM Trent Karvonen made some excellent trades, however it appears management forgot something: a goaltender. Many backup goaltenders were available, but underperforming Pascal Leclaire continues to be the starter in Billings. The Sabercats are clearly pushing for the playoffs, but with their weak goaltending it will be an uphill battle. They will likely finish with few funds, but with the changes in the financial landscape they might come out alright.
The Spartans recently clinched a playoff berth and need to win at least seven of their last eleven to win the Pacific division. GM Matt Visser gave up a lot to get to their prominent position and his team now has a shot at taking the organizationís eighth Jim Beam regular season title. Stopping the Wolves will certainly help their chances.
The Skyleafs stood firm on deadline day, but will GM Matt Chinnick regret his decision to trade conservatively this season? The team has played excellent hockey up until the deadline and still holds the lead in the now much closer Jim Beam title race. There was a rumor that Alex Ovechkin was up for grabs, but our sources were confused since it isnít April Fools Day. Rumors are popping up that the team may not stay in Canada and there are suitors in the northeast part of the U.S.
Another team that did virtually nothing towards the days running up to the deadline is the Michigan Falcons. GM Randy Steffer did not touch his team, but likely for good reason. His team is cruising to at least a second place finish in the Jack Daniels conference and needs to hold off the Battalion in order to take the regular season title.
The Wolves clinched a playoff berth for only the third time in GM Robin Jones career. With the recent additions of Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi, the Wolves bring the strongest defense they have held for a while and we should see the rise of the Wolves defense for years to come. Speaking of defense, the Wolves kept Mattias Norstrom, who recently announced his retirement at the end of this season. Robert Esche is also likely to retire, but he has caught fire ever since he was acquired from the Icebats. The St. Johnís Stealth are likely to be moving out to the west coast, but we are only basing this on the fact that Jones was stating the difficulty of transferring DL players to the pro league and vice versa.
The Chevaliers did not make the playoffs this season, but got a ton in a trade for Brendan Morrow. Franchise goaltender Carey Price looks to be the backbone of this team for a long time. The Montreal organization is looking to the offseason, specifically at the draft and we could see the team rebuild itself in the next few seasons. There are rumors that the team will move during the transition.
The Edmonton Racers were able to shuffle around assets in order to keep their expenses down as they finish near the bottom of the Jim Beam conference and will soon be officially eliminated from contention, possibly as soon as tomorrow. However, GM Umbi De Biasi has his team set up nicely for the future with such offensive talent in Evgeni Malkin, Alex Semin, and Mike Green heading up this young team for the future. This team could sink or swim as far as finances go, but we really canít see how this will play out well.
Many teams look to the stretch to get as much out of their teams as possible. One position change can mean the difference between making money and losing it. Currently, several teams are rumored to be moving out in the offseason.
GMs have been strongly advised if they have low funds to bolster their farm teams in order to gain money through the DL. If anyone has forgotten how that works, according to the CBA if you finish in X place in the standings, you get/lose Y money. This is the problem with certain teams and that is part of the reason teams need to look at liquidating their assets like JL shares.
Jim Beam Ė Expert Analysis
The Jim Beam race is very tight in the final 10 games as five teams can take runs at the title. Currently the Skyleafs are in the lead, but over the last week they have seen that lead collapse as the Spartans have made a late charge.
Biggest games down the stretch will be the home and home matchup between the Spartans and the Wolves. This will be the strongest indicator of who will take the Pacific division. The Spartans have a 3-1 series lead, but the Wolves recently surprised the Seattle franchise 9-1.
Prediction: Spartans win Pacific division and Jim Beam title, Skyleafs win Big Canada division
Bubble teams: The Icedogs have made a statement and look to finish better than 8th in the conference. The top 8 are set in this conference and the only thing that needs to be decided is the order.
Jack Daniels Ė Expert Analysis
On the Jack Daniels side, the race is even tighter. With only seven points between the first and fourth place teams, the title is very much up for grabs. The Blizzard and Galaxy have very light schedules ahead as they face very little challenges. However, the Battalion and Falcons have tough opponents ahead including each other.
Biggest game here is the Battalion and Falcons matchup. The two teams meet each other two last times in what could be the race for the Jack Daniels title. The Battalion have dominated this series 3-0-1 this season.
Prediction: Battalion win East division and Jack Daniels title, Galaxy win Euro division.
Bubble teams: The Cannons donít deserve to be in the playoffs and will likely not remain there as the Justice should catch them. The top seven are almost certainly locks.