1. Fort Wayne: Komets have best coaching, defense and leaders. Can they survive injuries again?
2. Muskegon: Lumberjacks celebrate 50th with league's top forward line. Is the defense better?
3. Port Huron: IceHawks have experience and got better on defense. It's up to Larry Sterling.
4. Flint: Generals have a few stars, and Muzzatti will keep building lineup. Need defensive help.
5. Bloomington: Besides Booras and Jas, PrairieThunder need two more scorers to make playoffs.
6. Dayton: Good defense and Mior is solid, but who is going to score for the Gems? Help wanted.
7. Quad City: Anazalone may be adding to his roster throughout the first half. Good luck, Seabass.
I know a lot of fans think the IHL is going to be better, and it could be, but I still don't see it yet. I don't think the league has replaced the skill level of the players it has lost. Yes, it has added toughness, but there are no new major scorers that I'm dying to see play, other than Rheaume with Flint. A lot of teams have filled in with role players from the SPHL and CHL who are hoping to move up. Not one team has better offensive depth than it had at the end of last season. That could change over the next month as new players sign because there are a lot of good players still looking for work.
I'm sure I'll be accused of being a homer for picking Fort Wayne, but the Komets have the biggest and most-experienced defensive unit in the league and you know what they say about defense. Having a proven player like Vince Tarantino ready to step in on the blue line in two months could be critical. So could adding Turner Cup MVP David Hukalo to the lineup in a month and a half. No other team has near that kind of depth. Add up last season's goals, and the Komets start out ahead