The Qualification Tournaments are about to start and we have over 50 teams getting ready to try and earn their spot in our first season here in Rebound! I’m going to try my best to give my personal rankings of all teams I can here in this article. To start this off let’s go over my personal top 10 teams!
- Columbus Clappers (Panarin, Meat, Rodeo, Slime)
This pick shouldn’t surprise anyone. Panarin led the Clapper to taking all 5 SPL titles back in Slapshot 1 and they don’t seem keen on slowing down here in Rebound. Joining him is his arguably most star-studded supporting cast yet, with former SPL MVPs Meat and Rodeo. The Clappers have won every Rebound tournament they have competed in so far, will this 1st Qualification Tournament be another win they can notch in their ever-growing belt?
- Chicago Sail (Yuri Gagarin, Walster, Qslvr)
Last season’s runners-up keep their spot coming into this season, though with some interesting roster changes. Gone are almost-MVP, 1st Team All-Star Kyler and Pro’s most improved player TEE. Coming in is former Bandit Qslvr as Yuri once again brings their top tier defense to the starting lineup. The Sail have been putting up some great, consistent tournament placements over the off-season, the only problem is they were consistently not 1st. Still, out of our 50+ teams this season, the Sail seem like the most likely to end the Clappers’ dynasty in my eyes.
- Toronto Penguins (LemonBond, Panther, Kacktus, Donut)
Sliding into the 3rd spot are a team I think has tons of potential. Led by the master of the controller, LemonBond and forever a good internet connection away from a top 5 player, Panther, this team seems like the chance for all 3 of these players to finally realize the potential they’ve had since Slapshot 1. But they need to actually REACH this potential, which is not a guarantee by any means. If they do though, an SPL Championship is not out of the question whatsoever.
- Brooklyn Bandits (MDub, Derek, Kyler, Dave)
You could have given me 10 years to come up with lineups for Rebound and this one would not have crossed my mind even once. This oddball combination is certainly not lacking in the skill department. As I mentioned earlier, Kyler was only a few more games played away from an MVP award last season and Derek is the one who actually won that MVP, so the talent is certainly there. However I wonder if the chemistry will be there with this lineup. If not, Kyler certainly has a history of “forcing” his way out of teams he is unhappy with. Guess we will have to wait and see, but if this team can work together, they are a major threat for sure.
- Quebec Baguettes (Renard, Occelloth, Scodz, GaLzZy)
Occelloth has found his way back home as the Baguettes bring back their star for Rebound! While they are missing FSI for the true big 3 reunion, this Baguettes lineup looks pretty strong overall. My only worry is that, skillswise, I feel like they are a step below the other top teams. However, chemistry and teamwork is key, and Quebec has always been top of the line for that. We will see if that will be enough for them to make a run for the championship in our first Rebound season.
- Yosemite Grizzlies (Random Player, Baumz, Wendy’s Cashier, Darnell)
Yosemite is one of the few teams to not make a change heading into our first season of Rebound and it's hard to blame them. The Grizzlies ran through the Intermediate Division last season with an, almost ;), perfect season. Wendy’s and Baumz have certainly proven themselves as an offensive duo to be feared, that combined with Random Player’s solid defense makes this team an interesting contender this season. Main question is, can they keep up their success against the more stiff competition of Pro, if they make it?
- St. Cloud Storm (Kspyre, Seppy, SooperDooperKyle, Lazytrout)
My bias of this being a MN-based team aside, the Storm’s mix of veterans should be enough to at least earn them a spot in pro. Of course I do have some concerns, with Kspyre’s last season being...rough and Seppy not getting real playing time in a long time. However, I would be surprised to not see these guys find their way to Pro this season. But that's not a sure thing, so they better not let their guard slip in these tournaments.
- Pennsylvania Ball-Peen Hammers (Yurtle, Cherries B, hzr, Shallisa)
The earlier version of this list had the Hammers just barely sneaking into the top 10, however, after their performance in the last offseason tournament I decided to bump them up. Much like Yosemite, the Hammers are returning their full lineup from last season and with the chemistry these 3 have shown with each other it's easy to see why. This is a team that I think could really turn some heads this season, especially if hzr can continue to improve. They might not be championship level quite yet, but the Ball-Peen Hammers are certainly a team to watch out for.
- Orlando Otters (Speedchaser, Mace, TyrantK, Green)
Considering this team was all the way down in Open just a season ago, it might seem odd to have them pegged as a pro team. However, with the addition of Tyrant and the grinding that Chaser and Mace have put it in, I’m ready to give this team a top 10 spot. They have proved this offseason that they can compete with the best of the best, now we just need to see if they can transfer that sort of energy over to the games that count.
- Bermuda Breakaway (TEE, BradyB, Flaccid_Lettuce, Spleen)
TEE has left Chicago behind after an impressive season, deciding to team up with former teammate Flaccid_Lettuce and Spleen. This mix of former Pro players and Open journeymen should prove interesting, but with TEE’s and Spleen’s experience I feel like this team should be able to come away with a Pro spot. If this team wants to truly compete though, one of either Brady or Flaccid is going to have to make that next step up.
Alright, with the top 10 out of the way I want to highlight a couple of key teams sitting lower on the list
11. Salt Lake City Stampede (Sapster, Noxu, Resp)
1st highlight is the 1st team left out of the top ten, the Salt Lake City Stampede. Honestly it was a hard call to pick between the Breakaway and the Stampede for the 10th spot, but I think TEE and Spleen’s experience gives them the edge. However, much like the Otters this team has been grinding over the offseason and are definitely not one to overlook. While I don’t have them in the top 10, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them steal away that 10th spot by the end of this.
18. Atlanta Terror (Kodiak, Qdub, Underdog!, Cwrong)
The boys are back! Kodiak and Qdub return as they look to make their way into Pro. It was hard to rank this team because I don’t know how rusty they are. If they can play up to their former talent levels, this team could easily find themselves at the top of Intermediate and even with a chance at Pro.
27. Tuscaloosa Pride (BamaNick, ChrisLG, Kuzy)
Tuscaloosa impressed when we ran the beginner tournament this offseason and I’m very happy to see them signed up for the league! One thing that impressed me about this team was the great chemistry they showed during that tournament. While they might be a bit lacking skillswise, Pride’s teamwork should be enough to get them at least an Open spot, if not more.
Unranked. Brookline Acclimate (Zodii, Bato, Kuei, Makitor)
Like many of the newer teams who signed up for these tournaments, I haven’t seen enough of Brookline to give them a true rank. However, in our last offseason tournament Brookline put up some good performances, beating former Pro players on both the Porcupines and the Monkeys. While I do want to see more of them, I definitely have to say I'm very interested to see how this team does.
Unranked. Columbus Chill (Nasher, Clappy, JohnsPlan, Kosmic)
Last but certainly not least of the highlights here is a signup many people were waiting for. I would like to officially welcome Nasher to the Slapshot Premier League! Now, like many other teams, I haven’t really seen these guys play at all so I can’t give them a real ranking quite yet. However, if the hype is to be believed, they should find themselves high on this list in no time.
Ok, now that I’ve got all my useless “analysis” out of the way, here is my full ranking of every team signed up! Good luck to you all and if you don’t like your ranking, go out there and prove me wrong!
1. Columbus Clappers
2. Chicago Sail
3. Toronto Penguins
4. Brooklyn Bandits
5. Quebec Baguettes
6. Yosemite Grizzlies
7. St.Cloud Storm
8. Pennsylvania Ball-Peen Hammers
9. Orlando Otters
10. Bermuda Breakaway
11. Salt Lake City Stampede
12. Oklahoma Exotics
13. Canada Camels
14. Michigan Mallards
15. Cowtown Guppies
16. Portland Porcupines
17. Montreal Monkeys
18. Atlanta Terror
19. Tri-City Poloskis
20. Winnipeg Wrath
21. West Virginia Orangutans
22. Detroit Mighty Clucks
23. New Jersey Minutemen
24. New York City Cyclones
25. Tokyo Ghoulz
26. New York Cleavers
27. Tuscaloosa Pride
28. Ocean City Typhoons
29. Pennsylvania Bats
30. Arizona Outlaws
31. Alaskan All Stars
UNRANKED: Anaheim Smudge, Baltimore Slapshot Team, Bismarck Beginners, Boston Bagels, Boston Baked Beans, Boston Benders, Brookline Acclimate, Canadian Bald Boys, Columbus Chill, Cowtown Guplings, Cowtown Tadpoles, Fairbanks Knucklepucks, Hartford Wolves, Hershey Guitars, Houston Hotboxers, Kentucky Karens, Maryland Ice Orcas, Nebraska Monseanto Corp., New Jersey Noobs, New York Garys, Northern Hills Voodoo, Ottawa Drinkers, Philadelphia Light Emitting Dangles, Philly Pherrets, Queen City Cracked, SoCal Cruisers, Vancouver Rioters