Each sport and each season have their own favorites. Before the puck hits the ice for the 1st time to kick in the next season you already have an idea how the season could go. There are quite a few factors that affect the final score at the end of the season, but we can still come up with estimates. For this preview we picked two teams that are likely to go all the way and win the 2020-21 NL season:
- 3x NL Champions during the 2010 era (2012, 2014, 2018)
- Won the 2019-20 regular season
- Biggest odds favorite to win 2020-21 season
The Zürich Lions had a somewhat quiet summer as the team saw very little changes, but to mention a few key transfers that took place:
- Pius Suter, the point scoring leader from last season -> Chicago Blackhawks
- Fredrik Pettersson -> IK Oskarshamn
- Joni Ortio -> Barys Nur-Sultan
At the same time players like Garret Roe, Maxim Noreau, Denis Hollenstein and Patrick Greering stayed in Zürich for the 2020-21 season. To replace the spot that Ortio left open, Lions acquired Ludovic Waeber who played for Fribourg-Gotteron and HC Ajoie last season and he is looking to overthrow Lukas Flüerer away from the starting goalies position.
Possibly the biggest and most interesting transfer is the home coming of Sven Andrighetto, who played 5 seasons in NHL & AHL after which he spent last season with Avangard Omsk in the KHL. During his last season with Omsk, Andrighetto scored a solid 13 goals and 27 points in total in the 56 regular season games he played. He is definitely an upgrade to the ZSC Lions roster and as he is still only 27 years old he might turn out to be the most dangerous offensive player in the entire league.
The ZSC Lions’s core group is very strong. They have a solid defense who can also score quite a good amount of points throughout the season. That combined with their offensive power and good goaltending is a recipe for success. Is it their turn to get back on the championship train? If you believe so then:
- Zürich Lions to win NL 2020-21 season with odds of 3.75+
- Played in NL finals in 2017 and 2019, but lost both.
- Placed 2nd in the regular standings in 2019-20 season
- Were able to keep the most important players in the team
- Got a couple of great new players over the summer so the lineup is even stronger than before.
Zug places 2nd in the standings at the end of the 2019-20 regular season, but as we have said quite a few times, that was it for the last season. Not much happened for or against Zug over the summer as the team was quite quiet during the off season in terms of transfers. They lost only one noteworthy player, Oscar Lindberg, who travelled to KHL and joined Dynamo Moscow for the 2020-21 season.
Zug has been able to hold on to their most important players which means you will see Gregory Hoffman, Jan Kovar, Lino Martschini, Raphael Diaz, Carl Klingberg, Santeri Alatalo and Erik Thorell skating in the Zug lineup. On top of that they were able to hold on to both of their goalies that pretty much sums up why Zug are amongst the favorites to win the entire thing. In my humble opinion I genuinely think that Zug is more likely to win than Lions.
Before we get sidetracked, Zug has been able to win NL once during it’s time since 1967. Their only championship is from the spring of 1998, so it would be about time for them to hoist the cup at the end of the season. If you believe they will do so, then:
- Pick EV Zug to win NL with odds of 3.8+