How They Compare

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With the new EIHL season just over a month away Jono Bullard compares top league experience of each of the rosters so far…

Bored on a rainy Saturday afternoon I decided to have a look at how the rosters stand of each of the EIHL teams. Thanks to Elite Prospects I was able to look at roster experience in other top leagues around the world for each EIHL team. The leagues featured are the NHL & AHL in North America; Sweden’s SHL & Allsvenskan; The Finnish Liiga; The KHL; Germany’s DEL; Switzerland’s NLA and finally the Czech Extraliga.

I’ve split each team into their respective conferences, starting with the Gardiner Conference:Gardiner

From that it is clear to see that Braehead Clan have by far and away the most top league experience throughout their roster, including six players that have had previous NHL experience. Not only that, so far they have 443 more games of AHL experience than Sheffield Steelers (1,594 games). With Clan having players who have played in all the featured leagues (something only matched by Belfast Giants currently). What is perhaps more frightening is that Clan still have to sign two more imports to complete their roster.

Elsewhere in the Gardiner no other team really comes close to Braehead in terms of experience, the nearest is the Dundee Stars who will be looking to improve on a disappointing campaign last season under new head coach Marc Lefebvre, while both Edinburgh & Fife look short in top league experience. New boys Manchester Storm could be forgiven for their apparent lack of top league experience being that they started building their roster two months after everyone else and still have four imports left to sign

Now for the Erhardt Conference:Erhardt

What surprised the most when I put the table together was the lack of top league experience at Coventry. Chuck Weber appears to have built a competitive side on paper but they are well behind on European league experience when compared to their conference rivals. Another side who have completed their roster is the Sheffield Steelers. The champions will be defending their title but also have the pleasant distraction of the CHL pre-season. Many have said that they don’t look as strong as last season but you can never write them off.

With at least three import forwards to sign before the campaign starts Panthers will be very strong on paper once again in what will be a crucial year in Corey Neilson’s tenure as coach after a poor season by our standards. So far Corey has gone for some big signings like Peckham, Bohmbach & Kolnik and it will be expected that more big names will arrive to complete the squad.

Like Panthers, Belfast Giants still have roster spots to fill and have a lot of top league experience throughout their roster. With their new recently announced coaching regime they will surely be a force to be reckoned with after a disappointing season by their high standards. The Cardiff Devils have a big season ahead with a move into their new arena mid-season. A glance at the table above would make the casual observer think they are lagging behind but after last season you write off the Devils at your peril.

The Erhardt Conference looks incredibly close and many have said that will hand the title to Braehead as no team from the Erhardt will be able to pull away. From the stats available so far it currently looks like that on paper, the title is Braehead’s to lose but, as often has been shown in the past, the game is played on ice. Stats are one thing but they don’t show how teams will be coached, how they will gel or if they’ll be affected by injuries. Nothing is decided in August whatever the statistics say, let battle commence and may the best team win.

You can follow Jono on Twitter @JonoBullard

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