It is rare that you see a team as talented as last year's Lakers squad and they fully deserved to win the league and knockout section of the SHL, and really should also have taken home the Champions Hockey League Trophy too.
But the nature of the sport in Sweden is that probably the best team in Europe means that will not be as strong this year. Of the nine players leaving the club, seven were key in last year's victories. The quality shows through in that three will go to the NHL and four to the KHL. So, imports Andy Miele and Andrew Calof are going to Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod and super forward, Elias Pettersson is going to Vancouver Canucks, whilst defenseman Eric Martinsson is due to start at Minnesota Wild. Noah Welch's tough tackling days are over as he retires at 35 years old after 298 games in the SHL with 521 Penalty Minutes served.
But that still leaves Daniel Rahimi and Brendan Shinnimin (in photo) to dish out the big hits and none less than Joel Persson, Linus Fröberg, Janne Pesonen, Tuomas Kiiskinen and Liam Reddox left to find the net. Perhaps surprisingly, Shinnimin is not just an agitator but actually the highest scoring player from last year who remains at the club.
As regards new imports, a name you should be hearing a lot of is Czech Olympian Roman Horak. The 27 year old was drafted in 2009 and played a full season with Calgary Flames in 2011/2. Then after two seasons in the AHL he moved to the KHL where he gained a 0.51 PPG after four years play.
A more intriguing signing is the 24 year old American, Austin Ortega. The North America dislike of shorter players, means he is seeking a new career in Europe despite 21 points in 35 games with the San Diego Gulls (AHL). The 173 cm tall player will be hoping to follow Ryan Lasch and Broc Little to the top of the scorer table regardless of height disadvantage.