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Liiga Odds

Liiga

Who wins Liiga 2017/2018?

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Playing in the top league in Finland means consistency. While Tappara has won the league championship the last two seasons, the chances of a three-peat are slim to none. There hasn’t been a three-peat champion since 2001 (TPS), so don’t expect to see that happen in the 2017-2018 season.

JYP might have the best shot at taking down Tappara next season. While none of their players topped 50 points, JYP scores by committee. 6 of their players put up 30+ points last season, including Mikko Kalteva. The 32 year-old defenceman had a career year, followed closely by Sami Niku who had 27 points as a defenceman. Without any tangible superstars, JYP might look weak, but they have a strong all around team. They used 4 goalies last season, all of whom posted decent numbers, with two of those goalies looking stellar.

  •  Pekka Tuokkola: 32 GP, 1.92 GAA, .921 SV%
  •  Jussi Olkinuora: 26 GP, 2.16 GAA, .922 SV%
  •  Veini Vehviläinen: 9 GP, 2.29 GAA, .912 SV%
  •  Markus Ruusu: 7 GP, 1.67 GAA, .938 SV%

If a team can manage to shut down 1 of JYP’s lines, the others will score. If one of JYP’s goalies go cold, they’ve got plenty to continue stopping pucks.

A team that has a chance at improving on this year’s standings is KalPa. They lost in the finals to Tappara, so they can go deep. They’re also the second youngest team in the league, with an average age of 24.2, meaning nearly all their players are going to take a step forward next year. Leading the way for KalPa is Jaakko Rissanen, the 27 year-old centre who is in his prime, having just set a new career high in the Finish Liga with 43 points. That mark isn’t anything phenomenal, but with the rumours that Rissanen is being courted by the KHL, clearly he has a chance to perform very well next season, should he stick with KalPa.

Don’t expect much from SaiPa this season, though. They’re the youngest team in the league, which can sometimes be a good thing, but this team is clearly too young. SaiPa had the worst goal differential last season, sitting at -65, which is 24 goals against worst than the next lowest team. SaiPa’s lone bright spot, didn’t even shine that bright. Their leading scorer Tero Koskiranta, only had 30 points on the season, good for 46th in the league.