The opportunity to select an All-Star team is both a lot of fun and a large undertaking. Having the entire SPHL roster at your disposal for only one team is no easy task. To give some insight into my selections, I attempted to put together what I thought would be the best team. I sought out skill because of course, goals matter. The team should also have good defensemen, strong puck handling, some muscle and some character. I wanted a team that would be strong in every aspect of the game. That may fly in the face of the traditional logic: statistical compilation, but it’s my team. I can do what I want.
The selection parameters: 15 SPHL games for position players and 10 for goalies (In both instances by January 1st). The team was to have 12 forwards, six defensemen, and three goalies. The other rule I considered was that each team was to have at least one representative. I also wanted to assemble a “real” team. For example, I didn’t want 12 right wingers as my forwards. That in mind, I used the Pointstreak assignment to determine position. So any argument of “Yea, but So and So actually plays…” is disregarded.
Sy Nutkevitch (HSV) Center
Lou Educate (HSV) Right Wing
Keegan Bruce (COL) Left Wing
Notes: I want the league’s top goal scorer with the league’s top assist man. Bruce is no slouch with ten goals himself. This line should be high powered and keep the red light going.
Jake Hauswirth (FAY) Center
Dylan Nowakowski (HSV) Right Wing
Ryan Marcuz (MRK) Left Wing
Notes: My idea was to combine guys that do a lot of things well. There’s a combined 39 goals and 30 assists with this line. All three guys can dish as well as score. It’s an incredibly clean line also. There’s a total of 24 penalty minutes combined in the three players
John Siemer (MAC) Center
Cody Dion (PEO) Right Wing
Justin MacDonald (EVV) Left Wing
Notes: The third line mixes in some saltiness with the ability to move the puck around and create opportunities. There are another 32 combined goals here, and both Siemer and MacDonald are better than a point per game. Dion brings his 21 points and 45 penalty minutes to the line which makes this an interesting, difficult to match up forward line.
Line 4/Checking Line
Massimo Lamacchia (RNK) Center
Dakota Klecha (PEO) Right Wing
Luke Sandler (KNK) Left Wing
Notes: Even the checking line brings a combined 33 goals to the team. There’s also 120 penalty minutes on this line. This gang can bang and score at the same time. Plus, who doesn’t want Luke Sandler in their locker room?
Stuart Stefan (HSV)
Nolan Kaiser (HSV)
Notes: Why wouldn’t you keep these two Huntsville players together? Ten goals, 26 assists and a combined plus 38. That will work just fine.
Louis Belisle (PEN)
Mike Grace (MRK)
Notes: Both of these guys move the puck well and can pitch in offensively as well. Belisle has nine goals on the season Grace has 12 assists. Belisle is a +6 while playing in Pensacola.
Nick Schneider (RNK)
Brad Bourke (EVV)
Notes: There is the right combination of talent and crazy here. Nick Schneider can be some muscle for the team while still having 19 points so far this season. Bourke plays an all-around solid game and moves the puck well. He has 18 points himself but only 16 penalty minutes.
Jordan Ruby (MAC)
Sean Bonar (FAY)
Matt Zenzola (PEN)
Notes: Jordan Ruby is an easy selection. Sean Bonar’s GAA is remarkable with a solid save percentage. Zenzola was selected because his GAA and save percentage for the team that’s currently playing in front of him is remarkable. Would you believe Zenzola has the 3rd best GAA in the league? Outstanding.
Power Play 1 – Educate, Nutkevitch, Sandler, Belisle, Bourke
Notes: Nutkevitch and Educate are obvious choices. I’d love to have Sandler’s 6’2’’ 220lb frame screening goalies while Bourke has three power play goals and two power play assists. Belisle also has seven power play points
Power Play 2 – Bruce, Nowakowski, Hauswirth, Schneider, Kaiser
Notes: Hauswirth has eight power play goals for the season. Nowakowski and Bruce combine for another five power play points. Both Schneider and Kaiser each have two power play goals and Schneider has five power play assists. I think this line could move the puck well, take some shots from the point and bang in some rebounds.
Penalty Kill 1 – Dion, Nutkevitch, Stefan, Kaiser
Notes: Huntsville does everything well and Dion can work some corners
Penalty Kill 2 – LaMacchia, MacDonald, Belisle, Grace
Notes: All four play sound fundamental hockey. They can clear the zone and keep opposing teams from setting up their power play.
There can be no other choice than Glenn Detulleo. The Huntsville Havoc are the league’s best team and consistently crush their opponents. Talent matters on the ice, but the ability to harness that talent week after week is a unique skill set. In addition, the Havoc have the most players on my team and continuity in my locker room matters.
I had two players that I really struggled with not having on the team. Pensacola’s Riley Spraggs and Evansville’s Tanner Milliron. Both merit a selection this year on a team but given how I assembled my team and other depth at their position I wasn’t able to do so.
That is how I would assemble an All-Star Team. A traditional All-Star team doesn’t concern themselves with muscle, characters, etc but the “team” part of an All-Star team is important to me.
What would you change? Be sure to leave your feedback in the comments section!