11. Skellefteå AIK
Two wins in the whole month of December and 11th in the table - that is, not in the playoffs - for the team that has been in seven of the last eight finals. They are 13 points from the top position and only nine from the relegation scrap. It just doesn't seem believable, is this the end of the dominance of the greatest club of the SHL era?
The thing is they are still a great goal scoring team. Bud Holloway (above), who played his only NHL game for the Montreal Canadiens in 2015, is on track for his best season since re-joining the Swedish club three years ago. He led the team with seven points (1G+6A) in December. Meanwhile, 21 year old Swede, Andreas Wingerli, is having his best ever points scoring season and was the league's highest scorer in the month with six goals. And 36 year old Joakim Lindström is still in fifth place on the league's Total Points, just two behind the leader.
So if there is any weakness with the club is is perhaps at the back. But both netminders, Mantas Armalis and Gustaf Lindvall, are not playing badly - if you look at their career as a whole. But the SHL is a tough place to be a keeper. Since the start of the SHL in 2013/4 all winners of the Top Keeper's Award have over 92% SVS. With save percentages below that this season, Armalis and Lindvall are currently ranked at 9th and 12th respectively in a league.
But all this has not added up to winning games.
Skellefteå AIK have a track record of coming good in the playoffs and even with the current dip in form it would take a brave man to bet against them improving and being up in the mix in April.