Finnish SM Liiga - preview


NHL Road Fade Guru
HPK was crowned the champions for the first time ever this spring, when they defeated Assat, 3-1, in the Championship series. HPK knocked out the biggest club, Karpat, in their series and never looked back. For the 2006/2007, the favorites are yet again Karpat and I'll attempt to give you some analysis of the situation for them and the other teams in the league in this post.


They lost some strength in the net when they lost a very solid Nicklas Backstrom to the Minnesota Wild and they are trying to replace him with two AHL goalies. Andy Chido (currently injured) and Tuomas Tarkki is between the pipes and while both decent, they are not as good as Backstrom.

On defense they have lost Lasse Kukkonen, Mikko Lehtonen and Ari Vallin to the NHL and are replacing them with a good scoring defender in Juha-Pekka Laamanen and a Latvianan player, Atvars Tribuntsovs, that spend last season in the Swedish league. Combined with the loss in net I expect Karpat to be more vulnerable this season and let more goals past them, great for overs.

Petr Tenkrat that played well last year has left for Boston and replacing him is a hard shooting, dangerous Hannes Hyvonnen. Hyvönen, Viuhkola, Pyörälä are the stars

The team is definitely weaker this year, especially in goal and on defense, but the team still has a good base of quality players and will be in the race all year.


They won the title last year, but a repeat will be difficult as they lost solid players across the board. Jyrkhi Louhi, Jukka Voutilainen and Juha-Pekka Laamanen (Karpat) will be missed and the club hasn't been as active this off season as I would've liked to see.

Joonas Vihko (SaiPa) and Aki Uusikartano (Assat) is 2 decent players they have aquired, and to some extent that will help. The team has elected to bring in some Swedish players, Fredrik Svensson (Ambri) and fast Jonas Andersson (Ilves) and this can be a problem during games as Finnish fans don't take that too lightly.

In the pipes we find Miika Wiikman and he might be found in the NHL shortly. He is solid and will help them stay in games.


This is normally a successful club in Finland, but last season was horrible, ending in a 10th place finish. That's not impressing anyone and they have some big losses to make up for this season. 5 players have left for the Swedish league, Marcus Paulsson (Malmo), Jari Kauppila (HV71) and Antti Hulkkonen (Brynas) among others. They do get a BIG improvement both on the ice and for the fans as Aki-Petteri Berg is done in the NHL and are coing back to his roots.

They also bring home defender Teemu Kesa and goalie Jani Hurme from North America.

With the routine in the troop they will improve some this year, but I am not so sure they will make a big push. The finnish league is going to use the NHL rules this year, and most of these players are too old.
Look out for Makkonnen. He is an up and coming star and will play in the NHL.


Another team that hopes to compete. They have had HUGE offensive losses before the season, losing Steve Kariya, Joakim Eriksson and Jaakko Uhlback, and the replacements, while decent are not close to their caliber.
Newcomers: Kent Manderville, Ville Viitaluoma and Martin Kariya.
They are a longshot to make the quarter finals this year...


lost Timo Vertala and Pasi Puistola to Sweden and HV71, but they brought in Teemu Aalto from Timra and he is good for a couple of scores from his defensive position. He will help their PP unit too.

On defense they already have Tuukka Mantyla and the offense has Quinnn Hancock and Petri Kontiola. Kontiola will go the the NHL next year as he is a VERY good forward with an eye for the game. Stefan Ohman, defensive forward, will play his last season in Finland before turning home.

This is an intriguing team and I expect some noice from them.


REALLY Physical team, but the SM Liiga is switching to the NHL rules, so they will have to have a great PK to survive. The team ended up 2nd in the league last year and will still compete, but it will be hard to make up for the changes. They lost a star in Tony Salmelainen to the Blackhawks and also number 2 and 3 of their scorers to the NHL, Janne Hauhtonen and Arttu Luttinen. To replace them they bring in capable Steve Guolla, Rem Murray, Ilkka Pikkarainen, Kimmo Kuhta and Jan Hrdina.

More to come...
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lost their best young player, Perttu Lindgren, to the Dallas Stars. They do have a very good goaltender in Tuukka Rask. He is born 1987 and is THE key player for Finland in the coming Junior World Cup this winter. Keep an eye on this kid, he is VERY highly talked about. Maybe the next Miika Kiprusoff? Other noted players are Kristian Kudrocs, a HUGE defender, that played well for SaiPa last year but that I expect will struggle with the new rules. 42 year old Raimo Helminen can still play and will score some for the club, but more importantly set up scoring for their younger players. This could be one of the faster squads in the league.


ended up 13th last year and have 'turned over' their entire team. New players include Marko Korhonen (Brynas) that will improve their goaltending situation, Mikko Viitanan, Toni Dahlman (Jokerit) and Josef Straka. Tough team to assess to start the season. A lot depends on how well the team gels early.


9th last year. They are looking to reach the playoffs this year. They could, but they are considerably thinner this year. Antti Virtanen and Jesse Niinimaki has both left for Sweden and they were the best scorers on the club. Decent goalie Sinuhe Wallinheimo will have a tough season.


Made the finals last year after ending up 5th during the regular season. I think they'll be a lot worse and risk missing the playoffs this year after losing their VERY good keeper, Juuso Riksman, unless their young players step up considerably during the season. They have Tom Wandell (1987) that is listed by the Dallas Stars and he will be playing in the Junior WC too. Assat also retains scorers Marko Kivenmaki and Kristian Kuusela. If they are to have any success they have to get better play from their biggest prospect, Jesse Joensuu, who can be very special if he furthers his development.


they won't repeat their playoff appearance from last year. They haven't really replaced their losses from last season and Rob Zebb between the pipes will have to play really well to help the club out. Henrik Petre, Jens Borgenstrom and Emil Lundberg, scrubs from the Swedish league, are considered the best players to come in. They've had a decent preseason, but I expect them to struggle when the games mean something.


They haven't really lost anything and adds to the troop with Marko Jantunen, a good scorer. They still have Erik Kakki, Sami Helenius and the top scorer from last year Jesse Saarinen. Saarinen and Tuomas Santavuori will get drafted soon if they continue their solid play. I think this team will surprise some and play well throughout most of the year.


last place last year, but better this year. The team is still very thin and any injuries will be a disaster. They are young and fast on some positions, but unfortunately haven't got enough players to really compete. They do have Canadian Kyle Peto (fresh from college), Timo Koskela, Matt Davidson (from DEL) and Martin Sonnenberg from AHL.
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Location of the teams:

Finland SM Hockey - Thu 9/14

Thu 9/14 205 HIFK -0.5 +145 -115 OVER 5.5 -107
08:30 AM 206 Jokerit +0.5 -155 +105 UNDER 5.5 -103

Thu 9/14 207 Ilves -0.5 +130 -121 OVER 5.5 +103
08:30 AM 208 Tappara +0.5 -140 +111 UNDER 5.5 -113

Thu 9/14 209 JYP -1 -111 -285 OVER 5.5 +103
08:30 AM 210 KALPA +1 +101 +265 UNDER 5.5 -113

Thu 9/14 211 Kärpät -0.5 -126 -233 OVER 5.5 -117
08:30 AM 212 HPK +0.5 +116 +213 UNDER 5.5 +107

Thu 9/14 213 Lukko -1 -109 -243 OVER 5.5 -102
08:30 AM 214 Ässät +1 -101 +223 UNDER 5.5 -108

Thu 9/14 215 Pelicans -0.5 +138 -113 OVER 5.5 +100
08:30 AM 216 Blues +0.5 -148 +103 UNDER 5.5 -110

Thu 9/14 217 TPS -1 -126 -310 OVER 5.5 +100
08:30 AM 218 SaiPa +1 +116 +280 UNDER 5.5 -110
Great stuff Charvik... much appreciated details.

Couple im looking at right now on opening day are

HIFK / Jokerit over 5.5 <--- really like this one on 'paper'

Pelicans -0.5 +138

few otehr unders Im taking a look at

Thanks Charvik... great stuff:cheers:
Right now I am looking to play:

Ilves/Tappara UNDER 5.5 -113
Pelicans -0.5 +138
Karpat/HPK UNDER 5.5 +107

and I'll play HIFK/Jokerit OVER 5.5 -107 with you too.

Might have some more, but won't lock anything in until tomorrow morning as I don't think these lines will change a lot...

charvik said:
Right now I am looking to play:

Ilves/Tappara UNDER 5.5 -113
Pelicans -0.5 +138
Karpat/HPK UNDER 5.5 +107

and I'll play HIFK/Jokerit OVER 5.5 -107 with you too.

Might have some more, but won't lock anything in until tomorrow morning as I don't think these lines will change a lot...


11:30 EST game starts... the only season the lines really changed was the lockout year when its the only hockey we could get...

Santacapper said:
11:30 EST game starts... the only season the lines really changed was the lockout year when its the only hockey we could get...


Yeah, I remember that year *shudder*:spank: