Each league of course has favorites to win the entire thing, and we have chosen two teams to this category. At this point of the season it doesn’t matter how much historical data you read or what are the names on the roster, it’s impossible to be certain of the future, but to my understanding these two teams are the ones that are most likely going to place top2 in the standings after the regular season. What you read below is based on statistics available at the time of writing the article.
Luleå was one of the favorites, if not the favorite to win SHL last season too. They placed 1st in the standings after the regular season with a somewhat comfortable lead to their rivals. Success has avoided the team and the city for quite a few years, as their previous championship is from the 1995-96 season.
Luleå lost some of their key players from last season as Emil Larsson travelled to Örebro (SHL), Joonas Jalvanti to Pelicans (Liiga), Joel Lassinantti to HK Sochi (KHL), Victor Berglung to Boston Bruins (NHL) and Konstantin Komarek to Dinamo Riga (KHL). On the other hand they were able to keep guys like Eddie Larsson and Linus Klasen who joined the team in the spring, and Isac Brännström signed extensions as Nils Lundkvist also did during the summer. They have also kept most of their top point scorers like Erik Gustafsson, Juhani Tyrväinen, Jack Connolly and Arttu Ilomäki, so they are more than ready for the challenge.
Overall the core group of Luleå HF is really strong, but the most interesting part of their team in my opinion is between the red metal pipes. Luleås veteran starting goalie David Rautio can have a rough start to the season and his runner up, 17 year old Jesper Wallstedt, is eagerly waiting for a moment in the spotlight. We might see a generation flip in terms of starting goalie, which in this case I see as a positive for Luleå. You need competitive goalies to be able to fight for the title properly, and at the moment young Wallstedt is showing symptoms of taking the next step in his young career.
- Outright Betting Tip: Luleå to win SHL with odds of 4.7+
Färjestad BK, the pride of Karlstad has been waiting for their next championship for a while. They won 4 titles between 2002 and 2011, but since then the trophy has been avoiding the team. When this season comes to its end, it's been 10 years since Karlstad enjoyed a championship win. In the 2018-19 season Färjestad won the regular season and advanced to the playoffs as the favorite to hoist the cup at the end of the season. They won HV71 in the first round in game seven, but that series demanded a bit too much from them and they fell short against Djurgården in the semis in game seven.
The offensive end for Färjestad is a-ok, one of the league's elite even if you may, and it’s not like there’s something wrong with their defensive end either. They made some big signings over the summer catching guys like Aleksi Mustonen, Jesse Virtanen, Olle Lycksell, Jacob Peterson and Jacob Nilson add a lot in terms of depth to the roster. And to be fair, there are expectations for these guys in terms of scoring points too.
Färjestad has an interesting goalie tandem. Arvid Holm is still only 21 years old and he is not not ready to carry the load of starting goalie yet, but Färjestad was active over the summer and got Henrik Haukeland, a 25 year old Norwegian national team goalie, who played in KooKoo (Liiga) last season. He had 50 starts with 2.03GAA and 91.4% being amongst the top goalies of the league.
The quality of their roster is very good and Färjestad does carry a legitimate potential to go very far in the spring.
- If you believe in Färjestad, you can pick them to win SHL with odds of 9.0+