Guten Tag and välkommen NHLGamers,
We'd like to welcome you to another exciting ECL Pro division season! It's only three weeks ago that we saw the grand finale of ECL 7, but here we are again, the short waiting is over and we are hyped to see the road to Elite starting over again. Can the promoted teams make a direct impact? Are the relegated former Elite teams capable of a bounce back season? Time will tell but here are some teams, that should be watched and followed for sure:
Teams to watch - Group 1
Checkmate had an impressive ECL 7 - the defensive minded team were hard to beat last season and didn't hesitate on the chances they got. 47 Points (23-6-1) were good for the second place in Group 2, so the pressure was high on the team for a decent playoff run. Unfortunately their offense struggled a lot in the elimination to CLUB ONE in 5 games, as they got shut out three times. They have kind of a rebuild as they lost three of their starters where two of them were their top scorers. It will be interesting to see if they can handle this situation with fresh blood for another playoff campaign.
After a disappointing season in ECL 7's Elite, the Gotham Knights are back into the Pro division where they don't plan to stay for long. They were one point shy of no-mans land so the relegation was quite unlucky. Nevertheless they didn't fall apart as many relegated teams - most of the guys stuck together to prove that they are better than what they showed last season. Their one and only goal for this team should be an instant Elite promotion, and with the addition of another Elite experienced player in @selänne8 this time, for good.
SIKA was a late promotion to Elite before ECL 7, but many of us thought they will handle the higher division pretty well as they were very strong in the pre-season. Well, 23 losses later we now are aware that maybe they couldn't handle the pressure properly. Alike Gotham Knights, SIKA will also try to bounce back in the Pro division of ECL 8. Therefore SIKA decided to turn back the clocks and rebuild together with former members of EN HUND (SIKA members from way back). It will be fun to watch how the hounds and pigs will hunt together for points.
The Black Jacks
The ECL 7 champion of the Lite division will try to make a direct impact in uncharted territory. Their brutal offense will still be the key factor in their game and they will score some goals, but it will be interesting to see if they can handle the more defensive powerhouses and find some new ways to get the puck to the back of the net. Without any noticeable additions, these Swiss guys are trusting their core players to step up into the new level of competition.
Teams to watch - Group 2
Speedy Bros Hockey
The Speedy Bros had a decent playoff run after finishing 4th in Group 1 of ECL 7. They were even next in line to get an Elite promotion but after they lost their starting center just at the doorstep of the season, they stepped down to this and will try another run in Pro. By adding @LastMandalorian they get a player with Elite experience and the top scorer of ECL 7 @Tzon93 will try to have another outstanding season to get his team back for another deep playoff run and maybe a chance for a direct promotion.
After a disappointing playoff campaign, Cowabunga got swept by Pata Hellalla in round 1, Cowabunga will try to repeat a nearly perfect regular season (finished 1st in Group 1) and guess who's back? Their former ECL 6 top scorer @Fin_torspo90! Will he be the final piece in the puzzle for success? They surely have a lot of fresh faces in their line-up, can @Tinkesakara get his team together for another exciting season?
Born With It
After struggling at the beginning of ECL 7, Born With It showed their talent at the end of the season were they had an incredible playoff push. Most of their starters stayed together and they added with @FIN_Potilas to bring some leadership to the squad! They will be in the mix for the Pro title for sure. Born With it have learned from their mistakes of last season and come back stronger than ever motivated as can be.
The Next Gen
The runner-up of ECL 7 Lite is ready for another great season and taking the next step. The key factors of their success are still there and they added some Elite/Pro experienced players on their way to avoid hanging around the relegation talk, instead they will aim for a high seed and a deep playoff run. These young guns know what's have to be done to be successful.
Players to watch - group 1:
Forward - Gotham Knights - @selänne8 (BiggestEight)
In a struggling Falun last season in Elite, the big(gest) 8 still managed to put up some points and help his team in the way he does best, score and assist. With another type of opposition in games that can be more open, he will surely get back on his typical ECL Pro form, where in, earlier years, he has put up almost 250 points in 101 games.
Defender - Gotham Knights - @eyebiz
Yet another player from Gotham is joining our players to watch list, but for good reason. The defender has played 4 seasons in Elite, including a final in ECL 6 with Northern Ascendancy, talk about experience! He will bring that solidness to Gothams defense and can help them on their way back to Elite.
Goaltender - Nordic Stars - @Tomsuu (a_pantera)
There were a few candidates for this spot, as there are some great goaltenders in group 1! With that being said, a_pantera can be that game changer Nordic Stars need. He joins after a solid season in Checkmate, 84 SV% and 1.75 GAA in 16 games shows what he's capable of.
Players to watch - group 2:
Forward - Speedy Bros Hockey - @Tzon93
His stats speak for themselves. In ECL 7 he was the top scorer, counting both regular season playoff scoring. He reached the 100 point mark and scored goals from seemingly everywhere on the ice. I'd be shocked if Tzon wouldn't make our "Top 6 of the season" after this season as well as leading his team to a long playoff run.
Defender - The Next Gen - @oGBioLan
Former Elite winner and Pro silver medalist joins the newcomer and will provide that stability at the back end that every new team would love to have. oG has the ability of a top defenseman in NHL 19 and if he sees more icetime than last season, only 6 games with FILADELPHIA, I would already predict a ECL 8 Pro "Norris" season from him.
Goaltender - Born With It - @Masapunda (octobussy)
The guy with the great PSN had an incredible season in ECL 7, over 85 in SV%, a GAA of 1.80 and 7 shutouts during the regular season. If it wasn't for the toughest of competition he would've made the top 3 goaltenders list. Maybe he could snag that award this season? Wouldn't surprise me.
For your reference, here are again the Groups of the ECL 8 Pro division:
The Black Jacks
Silver Sword Griffins
Clowns On Ice
The Next Gen
Speedy Bros Hockey
Reality Check HC
Freddie Mercury Institute
Born With It
Virtual Horizons eSports
That's all for now NHLGamers, be sure to follow our teams during their streams on Twitch and hopefully this season will turn even better as season 7!
Signing off for now,