Damn. IFK just became a legit championship contender.
Late July might not be the best time to lose your coach but I'm pretty sure anyone can do better than Matikainen. Did they get a compensation for him too? Get rid of the terrible coach and get paid for it. Win-win situation for them.
They don't have nearly as good team on paper as they had last year, but with the amount of talent SM-liiga lost this off-season, they have a competitive team on their hands. Another top-6 center wouldn't hurt though.
At the moment I see Jokerit as the biggest favorite, with Kärpät, KalPa and HIFK rounding out the top 4. Tappara, Ässät and maybe Lukko have a good chance to take a straight playoff-spot. JYP and Pelicans are wildcards. Depending on what there's available for them in the market, I could see them challenging for a place in the top 6.
All that will change if the lock-out happens though.