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Walster’s SPL S3 IM Power Rankings - PRESEASON(7/6/20)

Author: Walster, 07/06/20

Walster ranks the Intermediate Division teams as we gear up for the start of the regular season.

1. Carolina Smokers

Rationale

Kacktus proved himself to everyone last season after scoring an average of 6.375 points on the Cows and 6.5 points on the Yetis last season. It is very likely that the Cows would have made the promo tourney last season if Kacktus had arrived a few games earlier. In addition to an MVP candidate in Kacktus, LemonBond will be able to provide a massive presence on both sides of the ice. Last season, he scored 66 points and recorded 31 saves. Kyle hasn’t seen much time on the ice in the last few seasons as his team saw a drop in his  performance. While it was clear that Kyle wasn’t playing at a pro level in Season 2, he has proven in the past that he is capable of playing at a pro level. This team seems to have great chemistry due to their experienced offensive duo and adding Kyle should only make them better. Also, M1NN can rig their matches. :)

Area(s) of Concern

This team doesn’t have too many weaknesses. LemonBond may mess up a few passes just due to some controller issues like stick drift and Kyle may be a bit geriatric and lethargic at times, but those issues shouldn’t stop this Smokers team from being very dominant. 

Impact Player(s)

Kacktus - His stats against IM competition are not to be taken lightly. He will probably be one of the frontrunners in the MVP race. If he has continued to improve his game, there is no doubt that his presence alone will be one that strikes fear into the opposing teams.


2. Baton Rouge Barracudas

Rationale

Donut finished 1st in points last season and put on a spectacular display of his skill during the promo tourney. He put up 46 goals while being in the “2” spot, so it will be interesting to see how he changes with his new “1” role. In addition to Donut’s changes, EpicMan67 is going to be sliding up to the “2” spot with Duker controlling the defensive duties. It will be interesting to see how far  EpicMan67 can reach in this position as this is essentially the first time that he will be doing it in his lengthy career. Duker seems to have solid positioning that should give him most of what he needs to be a strong defenseman. If he can improve his distribution of the puck, he will be a force to reckon with.

Area(s) of Concern

Hopefully, this team can be more precise with passes and rotations. As they have several positional changes occurring within the team, they may make more errors than usual as they attempt to become familiar with each other in their new spots. 

Impact Player(s)

Duker - Duker is making the biggest positional change out of this group. If he can find his groove in the back, this team will see lots of success. It’s a given that Donut will score enough to keep them competitive, so all eyes are on how strong their defense will be.


3. Olympia Omegas

Rationale

Vorq had a respectable 54 points last season with the Chicago Sail of the SPL Pro division.  His goalscoring will be a great asset to bring to this team. In addition, kyler is a versatile player who can shoot, pass, and dangle quite well. Shieldz should be able to make the reliable saves that will keep his team in games. Random Player is a solid IM player to have come off of the bench.

Area(s) of Concern

Kyler and vorq are some fantastic players, but they need to be disciplined when around their own net or they will be punished by some of the better teams. From the glimpse of them that was seen in the tournament, it seems like they rely on shieldz too much to save them in the back. Shieldz is still learning and improving, which means that he needs to be helped a bit more before he can be fully trusted to make solid passes and saves. 

Impact Player(s)

kyler - Vorq will easily score enough goals if kyler can get the puck to him. If kyler is in sync with his teammates, we can expect many points from him that will aim them at the top of the table. 


4. Quebec Baguettes

Rationale

Renard hasn’t played very much in the last few seasons, but he is a competent player who should be able to communicate well with his countrymen. He will be determined to come back and lead his team to victory. His presence always fills the locker room with good vibes. His selflessness bleeds into his game which makes him a great teammate. Scodz is a great “2” man who puts up solid numbers each season, scoring over 25 goals and 25 assists each campaign. EviL will be making his return. If he can return to his old form(assuming that style of play is strong against the current style of play), the defensive side of this team will see a massive boost. GaLzZy is a strong player who will be able to give them a dominant performance if/when he is needed. This team could easily finish higher, and I expect to see them higher in the standings after the first week. 

Area(s) of Concern

Renard and EviL have not seen very much league play as of late. They will need to get their minds ready for the challenges of a full season, in which the goal is promotion to the next division. 

Impact Player(s)

Renard - We know what scodz and GaLzZy can do offensively. However, now is the time for Renard to prove himself with a full season on the offensive. It will be very interesting to see how this team turns out with Renard being supported by scodz up front. 


5. Oklahoma Exotics

Rationale

Green showed that he was far too good for open last season by blowing everyone out of the water with his dominant stats. He will face his first real challenge this season, and can show how ready he is for competition at a higher level. Dolen had a spectacular season as well. His offensive presence was well appreciated last season, but he will need to keep providing in order to give his team a chance at breaking into the top tier of teams in IM. BooYAH has experience that will surely aid him in guiding his youthful team to glory. 

Area(s) of Concern

Dolen may be inebriated and/or stoned during some of their matches. In addition, this entire team will have to show that they are ready to challenge for the top 2 fast as they cannot afford to drop many games early on in the season. 

Impact Player(s)

Dolen - Dolen had  38 points last season in open. He needs to provide even more for his team if they wish to compete for a pro spot. 


6. Midwest ShrimpRiders

Rationale

HighFlyer will need Cape to score many goals if they want to see success. HighFlyer proved to be a good pickup for the Detroit Mighty Clucks last season, but he needs a supporting cast around him that can put up goals and benefit from his playmaking abilities. domikus has experience as well as a fun presence that will boost his teammate’s morale. Cape continues to improve as the days go by, so this team will be an interesting one to watch as they could finish higher if they steal some games from some of the top teams.

Area(s) of Concern

If Cape proves to be incapable of scoring, this team will lose some defensive power as HighFlyer will have to step in more on attack. Cape may do something to get himself banned/suspended again. 

Impact Player(s)

HighFlyer - This is HighFlyer’s team. It is his chance to prove himself to everyone with a full season in a strong IM division. Even if this team underperforms and finishes in the relegation zone, HighFlyer’s performance will be what determines if the next step in his career is up or down.


7. Drumbo Cows

Rationale

This team doesn’t scream relegation to me, but they don’t have anyone who seems super menacing on their team. Kappa has shown some glimpses of great play in the past, but his teams haven’t been the best. His scoring and playmaking will be crucial, but he will need to see help from Sapster and Toker to make things happen. Sapster’s 480p days are over which may mean that the days of a passive, non-factor version of Sapster are over. Hopefully, he can light up the scoreboard. Toker should provide a reliable stick in the back for this team.

Area(s) of Concern

Can this team defend the passes and shots of top teams? These are players who want to make the leap to being regarded as solid/strong IM players, so a poor start may be a shot into their morale. The cows will not make it far limping and will need to get off to a red-hot start, making upsets against big teams.

Impact Player(s)

Sapster - Sapster could become an offensive beast this season and propel this team to a top 5 finish. If he meshes well with Kappa, we may see a dynamic  partnership up front.


8. Tokyo Ghoulz

Rationale

Ghoul just gets it done. This team did well in the promo tourney. Ghoul put on a strong showing during the recent draft tournament If the ChillDonut can make a strong return to competitive slapshot, we will be treated to a strong Tokyo team. I can see this team finishing higher if they see an IM star emerge from a guy like Sherlock Holmes or if their entire team meshes together nicely.

Area(s) of Concern

Ghoul will need help from someone. 

Will Sherlock Holmes get some game time to carry his Open dominance to IM? 

Will ChillDonut come back as a new man? 

Will Sonicshadow be able to adjust to the new competition?

Impact Player(s)

Ghoul - Ghoul may not have anyone to rely upon aside from himself. This is his chance to show how much he wants to succeed. 


9. Bangor Yetis

Rationale

I don’t think that this team is far below the rest like we saw with the Winnipeg Wrath in season 2, but someone has to be in last. Shudder put up great numbers last season, scoring 54 points and systo had 45 points. Those numbers may seem nice, but the Yetis finished in 6th place last season out of 7 IM teams. Their team hasn’t seen any roster changes and this season of IM should only be more competitive. Last season there were 3-4 strong teams and this season there should be 5-6 strong teams, so the Yetis will need to change something if they want to become competitive.

Area(s) of Concern

There isn’t really a giant gaping problem with this team, but they need a star to emerge if they want to avoid relegation as finishing 2nd to last again will probably send them to the relegation tourney this season.

Impact Player(s)

Rudd - Rudd needs to  have a breakout season and provide lots of offense while commanding a strong defensive zone. 

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