The Swedish Hockey League kicked off the season Thursday night and it did not disappoint. Once again the SHL will be the best league in Europe. With players opting not to play in the KHL and returning home from abroad the league has never been as strong from top to bottom.
Here's a look at how the Game Notes crew thinks the final standings will look come March.
Farjestads - Vegas Golden Knights 7th-round draft pick Carl Lindblom comes over from Djurgarden and will get the chance to lead the team between the pipes. I believe the beers will be flowing in Karlstad at the Championship parade like they were in 2022.
Frölunda - The top defenseman in Europe Henrik Tömmeres returns from Switzerland. He will be the Victor Hedman of the SHL, playing big minutes and producing a ton of points.
Timrå IK - Filip Hallander is back from North America and his time with the Penguins organization. His arrival adds another horse to the impressive stable of forwards.
Växjö - Finnish goalie Emil Larmie was unbeatable last season during their Championship run and will give the Lakers a chance to win every night.
Rögle - Newcomers Czechia goalkeeper Petr Kvaca and Latvian Rodrigo Abols will make a big impact and have Rögle in the hunt for the Championship.
Oskarshamn - All eyes will be on Dalibor Dvorsky the Blues' #10 overall pick who makes the jump to the SHL this season.
Skellefteå - Joakim Lindström has finally retired, but nobody reloads better than SAIK. Their pathetic performance finding the net on opening night will have us weary of riding them again this year.
Luleå - Former teammate of Edmonton Oilers great Ryan Whitney, Linus Omark is back with the club in the far North and always brings the fans out of their seats.
Orebro - The top scorer last season Rodrigo Abols and #2 Overall pick Leo Carlsson are gone so Orebro will see a dip this year.
HV71 - Our former Penguins teammate Kris Beech is now the development coach in HV and he will help this team stay out of the relegation zone.
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Ryan is Flying, and Murley just got an assist from Kris Beech….
Leksands IF - Slovak winger Peter Cehlarik returns to Leksands and is a major upgrade for them especially on the PP
Linkoping - Former Senators goalie Marcus Höberg looks like a giant in the net and will be the only reason they are in most games
Malmo - Survived the relegation last year but, will find itself in the shit again.
Modo - Whit’s old team is back in the top division, but will struggle like him putting in the latest Sandbagger.
Boots were on the ground in Timrå opening night when Frölunda came to town and it looked like it could be the Finals matchup come May. $EBR Rule #1 took care of the crew with a home team win 4-2 and Over 5.5.