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Claimed:Parity in S46 Europe [Final: 6/6]


Hybrid1486
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Prior to last season, I wrote a media spot about the parity in the European conference. I thought every team had a legitimate shot at a playoff spot, a very rare occurrence in the VHL. For the most part, every team was pretty competitive, and the playoff race went down to close to the end of the season before the Dynamo, Reign, and eventual champion Titans locked down their spots.

This season, so far, seems to be another where the teams should end up pretty close in the standings. Through eight games, The three playoff teams from last season are sporting identical 6-2-0 records, while the Express are one win behind at 5-3-0. It seems that all four of these teams are going to be in competition for the three playoff spots for most of the season, presumably, while the Vikings are the outliers who are still looking for their first win of the season.

Riga
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The Reign have a very good chance at earning one of those spots, led by key free agency pickup James Faraday. Big Jim has twelve points in eight games so far, slightly in the lead for the team ahead of retiring standout Aksel Thomassen. With Bronson Faux and Kurtis Hunter also producing at point-per-game clips, and Bernie Gow rapidly improving in net (although struggling early), the Reign could build on a good showing last season and challenge for the top spot in the conference.

Predicted Finish: 3

Helsinki
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Last year's surprise Continental Cup winners aren't letting up on the gas this season. Wolfgang Strauss has joined last season's MVP, Thomas O'Malley, and imposing physical presence Christoph Klose at the top of the Titans' roster. Not to be forgotten, of course, are young forward Aleksi Koponen and last season's top pick, Phil Hamilton, as well as last season's top rookie, goaltender Greg Clegane. I brought up last season a lot, because the Titans were exceptional last season, and figure to be this season as well.

Predicted FInish: 2

Davos
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Davos was very good last season, relying on the defensive presence of Mason Richardson and the standout Callum Sinclair while being supported by top forward Freedom McJustice and the young buck Simon Valmount. This past offseason, they made a move to bolster the offense by bringing in the peerless Bismarck Koenig, who was a major player in Calgary's oh-so-close run to a Cup last season. Adding a superior offensive talent in Koenig to the roster that was already in place should ensure that Davos remains near the top of the standings for the entire season.

Predicted FInish: 1

Cologne
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Cologne is hanging around early on, despite losing their starting goaltender, captain and general manager to retirement after last season. Right now, though, they have four players scoring at least a point a game, led by the league's second-leading scorer in Rami Jakobssen. Young defender Thaddeus Humbert is becoming a well-rounded talent, and Sandro Clegane is adjusting to the VHL very well after a run as the top goaltender in the minors. They could be a surprise team this season, assuming the overachieving talent continues to produce.

Predicted FInish: 4

Edited by Hybrid1486
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