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A Half-Baked, No Thought Given SS Power Rankings


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I’ll be honest – I haven’t paid a lick of attention to the Sponsor’s Shield tournament. A lot of it is probably because my player is due to retire at the end of this season, making multi-year contracts and money completely and utterly worthless. It’s also because I’m extraordinarily bad at multi-tasking, and when the VHL season is in full swing, I don’t focus on much else.


But with the darkness comes the dawn: I’m probably the single best person to give an unbiased power rankings, because I literally haven’t looked at the completed rosters before today. I also have looked at them for precisely 10 seconds a piece, so I am able to give roughly the same level of analysis that you’ll find on your local Bleacher Report blog.


And with that in mind, here’s my initial thoughts on how the tournament will break down. If even one of these selections ends up being accurate, I’ll consider myself lucky.


1. Haterade

At this particular point in the VHL season, the top five MVP contenders are likely forwards Gabriel McAllister, Podrick Cast and Matt Thompson, defenseman Joseph Bassolino, and goalie Tristan Iseult. The Haterade squad has four of those five, and the one they don’t have is the retiring old man. That doesn’t seem very fair, but it’s the nature of the beast – add in excellent players like Dragomir, Rayne and Bailey, and this one could very well be over before it starts.


2. Viking

A good combination of younger and older players gives Viking some well-rounded depth that should be able to be the Seattle to Haterade’s Riga. I always start with who’s in goal in these sorts of tournaments, and featuring Roger Sterling gives Viking a way to compete right off the bat. Malenko and Kane might very well be the top defensive pairing in the tournament, as does having young offensive stars like Smirnov and Odinsson. Add in both Louths, and there’s a lot to like here.


3. Netflex

How far can defensive ability take you? If I were to have a power rankings within a power rankings, I would put the order of importance as goalies, scoring then defense for what you want with a tournament like this. Netflex seems to be going all for keeping the puck out of the net through, with stars like Kiaskov and Malenko manning the blue line, and even its first line forwards containing a converted defenseman in Ironside. A lot is going to depend on Kriketers here – he’s going to have to do much better than his season .915 save percentage for the team to have a legit title chance.


4. Ubuyalot

The opposite of depth, this team has the four highest TPE players in the league… and I’m not even sure two full lines. I’m absolutely biased here, but I do think coming off a potential MVP season, Gabriel McAllister can solve a lot of problems. So can Norris Stropko, who I refuse to believe is as bad as his .916 save percentage this season. All in all, I see a scenario where the first line of Canmore, McAllister and Preencarnacion has each of the three near the top of round robin individual points, but the lack of depth means an early playoff exit.


5. Jolt Juice

This is the young “if everything comes together” team. Players like Crosby, Davis, McWolf and Pepper have the raw ability to be stars in the VHL in the next season or two, but they haven’t yet had their time to break out. Could this tournament be it? There usually is one or two players that use these offseason tournaments to put everything together, and if the young players get going, Jolt Juice could surprise a few people. But for now, I think they’re a year or two away.


6. True North

The bad part about power rankings is that somebody has to be last, but I certainly don’t think this team can’t compete. On the contrary, I think Shawn Brodeur is better than his current save percentage, that Arroyo can carry a team on his own when not a part of the Calgary machine, and that Wilson and Kovalchuk can be one of the top defensive pairings in this tournament in a season or two. But all of that also requires playing up to a potential that hasn’t been seen in practice, and especially this season, it may be asking a lot of the young players.

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