Eyes on 34th
It is very rare that two-time champ (as a C) Buddy Gandoke misses the playoffs. Last year his team was eliminated because of the tie-breaker. He is known for his unconventional strategies, (aka loading up on F sacrificing D at the draft) but this year he took a more balanced approach.
He started by picking up Sim Sandhu at 10 which could be the value pick of the draft. Last year’s Rookie of the Year will miss games but when he is there he is tough almost impossible to stop. For the back-end, he snagged Balraj Khosah who came off a monster year. Mans’ be hot.
We expect Manny Grewal to be the winger for Sim. In a similar role with AD, Manny put up career numbers and he will do more of the same this season. Randy Jhattu, Nick Janjua or Amir Bains could fill the role on the other wing amicably.
The second line could quietly become the top line. Jim Sidhu and Greg Gandoke belong together and they were drafted together. Buddy was so excited they were available that he just yelled out “JimGreg” at the draft.
Fancy would not have won last year without their key contributions. Jso will also be on this line. He is the ability to play any position in the top 6 but we don’t know what effect his recent leg injury will have on him.
Anuvir Bhullar, Iku, Jeevan Gill (no relation to Jiven Gill – we think) will be relied on to play solid defensively as a shutdown players. Sukhman Sandhu could find himself filling in on the top 6 as he has some offensive flair. We predict Harv Dhaliwal to be tenacious and hard-working F or D.
On the back-end, Harjot Sangha was circled on many draft sheets. He is a feisty, agile player that forwards hate to face. Indy Hari, Paul Sandhu and Vin Panesar round out a capable bottom 4.
Prediction: Eyes on 34th makes playoffs.
Fancy Doors and Mouldings
No Championship hangover here. Amit Mann has drafted another strong team. His first pick was controversial. He passed over Anoop Sahota, who carried his team to the ship last year. But can you really blame him. Arjun Dhaliwal beasted last year and he is only going to get better with age.
Jiven Gill puts up more points than forwards while playing d. He will be adding some offense from the back-end. Kanny Sandhu if allowed back into the country after his recent LA trip will be a great 1-2 punch with AD. Both can shoot from anywhere. Amit Mann or Sewak Lalli will take the second centre role.
Harsahil Josan is entering his second season with sky high expectations. As a rookie he put the league on notice and he got drafted early because of his strong defensive play.
Akash Thind might get an audition on the top line to start the season, he could make it permanent if he plays well. The third line might be asked to shutdown any team’s top line. Sweetness and Robby Bagri are defensively sound which should allow Gaurav to exercise any offensive flair. Naveen Dhaliwal may be a veteran presence in the top 6.
Manraj Chana and Rajbir Atwal are rapidly improving each year.
In net Joe Sandhu will be solid. He has an unorthodox style which gets the job done very efficiently.
Rounding out the D are Parry Gill, Prince Mehta, and Hinda Sandhu. When Jason Deol is arguably your 3rd best defenceman, you know your D is stacked.
Prediction: Fancy Doors and Mouldings makes playoffs.
Sarb Bath won the championship in its inaugural season and has made it to the finals two times since. Recently, he is in a bit of a slump and the vultures are circling. It is unwarranted but this season could add more fuel to the fire.
Sarb drafted Raj Grewal with the 9th pick in the draft. It surprised us that Raj Grewal was available at 9. In earlier years Vegas was offering 1.05 odds that he’d be a top three pick. He remains the top goalie in the PBHL although Balraj Khosah is making a strong case for himself. Second round, Sarb took Deepu Sandhu. Deep Sandhu is a two-time winner. Although he played an important part in both championships, this will be the first time he has been handed the keys and asked to be thee guy. Can he handle it? We think he can.
Amanvir Sanghera will probably flank Sarb and Deepu and he is coming off an interesting season. He was traded last year as there were rumours that he and his captain didn’t see eye to eye on some points. Knowing Amanvir, we think that was blown out of proportion and he should be back in form.
We can call their second line the underrated line. Robie Brar, Harminder Atwal and Mano Sidhu should get more credit. This may be the year where one or more of them reach that next tier.
The bottom half of the forwards are young and hungry. Andy Grewal, Gurdeepak Kalay, Roni Sandhu, Sahil Sharma, and Vick Grewal. It occurs to me that this guy drafted almost every Grewal in the league. Interesting strategy.
Ricky Grewal is no longer underrated. He is a quality player and his draft spot illustrates that. Rounding out the D we have Grind, Anoop Grewal, Jerry Heer, Sunny Sra and Rummi Aujla. On paper that doesn’t sound as sexy but try beating these wily vets, it is a very tough ask.
Prediction: Go Kia does not make the playoffs.
Sonny Sekhon has silenced his critics. Last year he captained his team to the finals. Players want to play for him and he does his research. This year he took a past league MVP, Sunny Matharu at 7 and snagged Shiv Puri in the 2nd round. He is a top-end goalie. Rajan Dhami fell into his lap in the third round and we think that Rajan Dhami will return as the ole Rajan Dhami, the one who terrorized defenders in the PBHLs early years.
Add Sandeep Gill and Khanna and you got a skilled top six with hands. We see Mahfouz drifting in and out of the top six because at times, the guy doesn’t need linemates to put up points. Suksham, Jaggi, Duggal, Preet will be relied on to play responsible hockey opening up room for rookies Aman Bharj and Kamal Gill to make their mark.
Mr. Composed, Chandan Sangha will lead the D. Pinky will be called on to eat big minutes. Scouts are expecting a breakout year from him. Sam and Sim Villing play a similar style, both are fast and hard to beat. Sahib Lalli and Jaspal Dosanjh round out a deep 6. There is an opportunity for the mentioned defenders to play a more offensive d-man role.
Prediction: Henry Singer does not make the playoffs.