All-Star teams are supposed to be the best of the best coming together to put on a show for the fans, no matter what sport it might be. Leagues have traditionally wanted to make sure to have the fastest and most skilled forwards and defenseman to go along with the most athletic and talented goalies to form one super team that is sure to entertain. Fans of the SPHL have never been treated to an All-Star game but The Sin Bin is having some fun and coming up with an All-Star team that would certainly entertain and put on a show if they were to get the chance to play a game against a worthy opponent. Here are my selections for the 2016-2017 SPHL All-Star team, along with my insights!
C Sy Nutkevitch Huntsville Havoc
C Jake Hauswirth Fayetteville FireAntz
C Berkley Scott Knoxville IceBears
C Massimo Lamacchia Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs
RW Riley Spraggs Pensacola Ice Flyers
RW Lou Educate Huntsville Havoc
RW Cody Dion Peoria Rivermen
RW Tyler Gjurich Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs
LW Mike Moran Mississipi RiverKings
LW Jordan Wood Huntsville Havoc
LW Keegan Bruce Columbus Cottonmouths
LW Jake Trask Macon Mayhem
First, let’s begin with the talented group of forwards. Imagine having a 4th line centered by a guy with a name like Massimo Lamacchia, complete with his small frame but non-stop hustle and playmaking ability. Or imagine having a PP unit that had the sniping abilities of Jake Hauswirth, Lou Educate, and Jordan Wood up front with the veteran presence of Jason Price and Stuart Stefan holding down the blueline. That PP unit would put the fear into any PK and goalie tandem. The forward combinations of this All-Star are complete with playmakers who love to dish out assists and goal scorers who love to put the puck in the net. Cody Dion gives you some strength and muscle up front while guys like Tyler Gjurich can provide the highlight reel, silky smooth moves. In my opinion, this is the best combination of forwards in the SPHL.
D Louis Belisle Pensacola Ice Flyers
D Nolan Kaiser Huntsville Havoc
D Sean Robertson Fayetteville FireAntz
D Josh Elmes Evansvile Thunderbolts
D Stuart Stefan Huntsville Havoc
D Jason Price Knoxville IceBears
Now let’s talk defense. Picking defensemen for an All-Star team can be tricky as you want to get guys who have some offensive ability and can score but yet the main job of a defenseman is to keep the puck out of the net. I take a couple of things into consideration when choosing a defenseman for the All-Star team. I look at their +/- versus the number of points they have scored. Defensemen who have scored fewer points but still have a positive +/- rating to me are doing their job in keeping the most pucks out of their own net while on the ice. For this reason, I have guys like FireAntz defenseman Sean Robertson and IceBears defenseman Jason Price on the All-Star team. It is, however, fun to see a defenseman jump into the play and create some offense and that is where guys like Louis Belisle and Nolan Kaiser come into the mix. You could create some solid defensive combinations by putting stay at home guys with more offensive minded defensemen with these defensive selections and for that reason, I feel like these are right picks.
G Sean Bonar Fayetteville FireAntz
G Tyler Steel Huntsville Havoc
G Jordan Ruby Macon Mayhem
Next, it is the netminders. Certainly being a goalie in an All-Star is not the most fun job as the most talented players in the league are taking aim at you with little defense being played in front of you many times. I am taking this All-Star team selection from the perspective, however, that the whole team is of a more normal mindset when it comes to defense. Therefore, the goalies I chose should be thrilled to be selected to this team. The stats speak for themselves when it comes to goalies. Sean Bonar has been an ironman for the FireAntz and is tied for the league lead in wins with 12. He also has saved more pucks than any other goalie this season keeping 552 pucks out of his net all the while maintaining the lowest goals against average in the league at 2.19. Tyler Steel has been a winning machine for the Huntsville Havoc with a record of 11-3 and currently leads the league in saves percentage with an outstanding .934 rate of saving shots being thrown his way. Finally, Jordan Ruby has stepped in when Garrett Bartus headed to the ECHL and has been nothing but spectacular for the Mayhem. These three goalies deserve the All-Star selections.
Any head coach would love to coach a team like this but for me when it came to picking the head coach of the SPHL All-Star team, I went with both respect and entertainment value for my choice. Jean-Guy Trudel of the Peoria Rivermen is always one of the more colorful coaches in the league. If he isn’t quipping out one-liners in post-game remarks, he is making it clear to the rest of the league that he believes his teams are the best and should win the championship each and every season. You never doubt a Trudel coached team and if the team isn’t performing, you can expect to see him make some roster moves to correct things in a swift manner. Trudel could put together a pretty great game plan with a team like this and for that reason, I chose him as the head coach of the SPHL All-Star team.
While this team will never actually play a game, I am hoping one day that the SPHL finds it worth the time and effort to actually hold an All-Star game. In the meantime, we can dream and have fun putting together SPHL All-Star teams on paper.
Please consider becoming a Patron as a way to say thanks and support us for what we do! https://www.patreon.com/thesinbinhockey