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2013-2014 NAHL Preview/Predictions

Austin, Port Huron, Fairbanks, and Amarillo are the class of the league this year.

After taking in four days of hockey at the NAHL Showcase, and watching each team in the NAHL play, I thought I would take the opportunity to make my annual predictions on how each NAHL division will shake out. It is important to remember that these teams will change a lot between the Showcase and the actual season. As USHL teams make their final cuts, NAHL teams will add players, giving their roster a drastically different look. Still, here is how I see the league as of right now.

One thing that stood out to me this year was the level of parity in the league. It felt like a lot of games were going into overtime/shootouts, and lot of teams that looked great one day, would lose the next, and vice versa. There are a lot of quality hockey teams in this league, and the games are really entertaining.

Without further ado, my predictions:

Central Division

1. Austin Bruins

2. Bismarck Bobcats

3. Aberdeen Wings

4. Minot Minotauros

5. Brookings Blizzard

Austin was one of the showcase co-champions, along with Fairbanks, and look to be a cut above the rest of their division. They've got a nice mix of veteran junior players, and talented young players.  Bismarck has a couple really good veteran players back that should carry their team. Aberdeen and Minot were both very pesky teams that don't give up a lot defensively, which should make them tough to beat. I expected more out of Brookings heading into the season, but they really seemed to struggle at the Showcase.

Midwest Division

1. Fairbanks Ice Dogs

2. Wenatchee Wild

3. Minnesota Wilderness

4. Kenai River Brown Bears

5. Minnesota Magicians

6. Coulee Region Chill

This looks like one of the toughest divisions in the league, with every team coming out of the Showcase with a winning record. There appears to be a bit of a gap between the Ice Dogs and the rest of the division, but spots 2-6 should be very competitive in this league.

North Division

1. Port Huron Fighting Falcons

2. Johnstown Tomahawks

3. Michigan Warriors

4. Soo Eagles

5. Springfield Jr. Blues

6. Janesville Jets

This is the league's most physical division, with the some really blue collar, hard-working teams. Port Huron grinded out a lot of wins at the Showcase to give them an early lead. I think 1-3 in this division are pretty close, and 4-6 are pretty close.

South Division

1. Amarillo Bulls

2. Topeka Road Runners

3. Wichita Falls Wildcats

4. Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

5. Odessa Jackalopes

6. Corpus Christi Ice Rays

7. Lone Star Brahmas

Amarillo didn't have the best Showcase, but once again,should dominate once they get into divisional play. It's amazing the way the Bulls find a way to reload every year, despite not really having many players that go to big D-1 programs. Topeka looks pretty good, but a lot might depend on if they can keep draft eligible goalie Drew Vogler all year, rather than lose him to the USHL. The bottom half of this division is probably the weakest in the league.