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Before, I made a post about my Islanders team. Surprisingly, I haven't played with these guys much; while doing things for the review, I started a franchise with the Canucks, and did a fantasy draft. However, I stumbled upon a good team; not quite as *sexy* as the Islanders, but very, very good, with Evgeni Malkin leading a team that featured Niklas Lidstrom on defence, and some strong depth, with surprising performances from Alex Tanguay, Joffrey Lupul, Trevor Daley, and some good youth. I decided to take this franchise with me into the Stanley Cup playoffs for testing purposes, simulating through the season... and won the fucking thing. I stuck with that franchise, lost in the second season to the Kings, and won the third season with what I thought was my strongest team. I'd love to have that team back intact, but alas, the salary cap is a bitch to teams that rely on younger players; those young players get older, they want bigger contracts, and I had to make choices because I couldn't afford everyone. That, and the big contracts I did have to sign my better players to - four of my players going into the the '12-'13 season - meant that I was coming into the new season with a roster that was statistically better than my '12 roster, but not one I was wholly comfortable with. I had made a great trade for Zach Parise, which was great on paper, but caused problems: my top left wing at the time was Alex Tanguay, and his whole job in life was setting up Malkin for goals. Parise's more of a sniper; he's great at shooting the puck, but not as good of a passer as Tanguay. Furthermore, that bumped all of my other left wings down a line, meaning that I had two kids - Nikita Filatov and Mason Raymond - that I desperately needed to get playing time so I could talk them into resigning, as they all had one year left on their contracts. I had to get rid of Tanguay fast, and basically dumped him for $.60 on the dollar, for a kid named Vladimir Sobotka and 4th round pick. I also officially had a conundrum on the wings; I had a LOT of left wings, and too many who could play, but I also had a few right wings that were good, but not great, but all my kids were coming up for renewal. I had to let Mason Raymond go, but resigned Filatov and Blake Comeau, the latter because I'd have been EXCEPTIONALLY thin at right wing otherwise. To top it off, Parise had a six year deal at the time I picked him up for $6.25m; that's a lot of money in the salary cap era.

I went into my season rated high, and won my first few games. However, I can't say it was effortless; I didn't have the chemistry on my top line that I did before, and scored as much with my second unit as my first. Furthermore, Parise's ratings actually dropped a bit from his previous season; I don't like it when 27 year old wings get worse, especially with five years left on massive contracts. I started randomly perusing the trade rumours area, and got a golden one:

"I've confirmed that the Rangers are trading a star wing, and I've finally got a name: it's Jarome Iginla."

!!!!!!!!

Let's just say I made not one, but two trades that I think have addressed my needs (picking up Iginla created a logjam at RW, which I fixed by dealing Blake Comeau - a wing I didn't really want - and a 2nd for a top prospect that's on my third line). Who cares if I just picked up a 35 year old wing in the last year of his contract who's potential is listed as "C-"? I think I finally have the perfect franchise team (ratings after name):

FIRST LINE
LW - Nikita Filatov, 85 (Columbus prospect, playing in the AHL but goes back and forth)
C - Evgeni Malkin, 95 *C* (second best player in the NHL next to Crosby, and scored 50 in 46 in '12. He can do everything)
RW - Jarome Iginla, 92 *A* (I am such an Iginla fan that I went against one of my own rules: the "No retired number" rule. Whenever someone would get a number that Vancouver has retired - 12 or 16 - I reassigned it. Let's just say that I feel Jarome Iginla takes precedent over Stan Smyl. XD)

SECOND LINE
LW - Steve Bernier, 84 (Playing out of position on the left wing, but I like his heavy righty shot from the left side. One timers, away!)
C - Steven Stamkos, 91 *A* (Having Stamkos on my second line isn't fair. He developed amazingly, and is going to get better)
RW - Blake Wheeler, 85 (I love Wheeler, but the Iginla trade was the best thing that happened to him. He's too slow for line 1, which is where he was before)

THIRD LINE
LW - Viacheslav Zubov, 82 (Game-generated. This was who I got for Blake Comeau. Terrible defensively, but he can pass through a Cheerio)
C - Vladimir Sobotka, 80 (This was the centre I got for Tanguay. He's been a revelation; he jumped three rating points, and was fourth on my team in scoring - 1G, 6A - before I picked up Iginla)
RW - Christopher Wilson, 81 (Game-generated. Playing out of position, but I prefered him out of position to him on the second line with Bernier on the third)

FOURTH LINE
LW - Vyacheslav Malakhov, 77 (Game-generated. I forget how I got him, but he's got a decent bit of potential as a grinder)
C - Adrian McGillis, 79 (Game-generated. My first round pick (30) from '10, he's going to develop OK, but DAMN is he slow)
RW - Alexander Steen, 78 (He has almost no upside. I bounce this position back and forth between Steen and Derek Boogaard, depending on what I need at a given time)

FIRST DEFENCE
LD - Brent Seabrook, 86 (Amazing defensive defenceman; won the Norris in '12. Basically Dion Phaneuf without puck skills)
RD - Alex Pietrangelo, 87 (High-level Blues prospect. Had to resign him for $5.2m, but worth every penny as he'll get better. Basically a modern-day Brian Leetch.

SECOND DEFENCE
LD - Trevor Daley, 83 (I overpaid to keep him because he didn't like his minutes, and don't regret it. He won the Norris - shockingly - in '11)
RD - Kevin Cumiskey, 84 (I forget the trade that brought him in, but it was one-sided in my favour. IRL, he's an Avalanche prospect that came out of nowhere - 222nd in 2005 Draft - and is doing well on the big club. In game, he's also a very good OFD)

THIRD PAIRING
LD - Shane O'Brien, 81 (I wish I could read old transactions from past seasons; he was the final piece at the deadline in '12. Excellent for a 3rd pairing defenceman, he can defend and fight. He's too expensive to keep next year - $1.4m - but I'll take him while I can. I was in such bad shape Cap-wise that I had to keep him on my AHL roster for awhile)
RD - Chris Butler, 81 (IRL, young Sabres prospect who's actually doing a hell of a job. He's not got much ceiling in this game, but he's a good 6th defenceman for now and might move up next year when we lose O'Brien. I also should mention my first round pick from '12 is a kid named Karel Jagr who has a checking rating of 97 already, and a potential of B+. I'll just let him ferment in the AHL for awhile)

GOALIES
1G - Leland Irving, 86 (Outstanding Flames prospect; if I were them, I'd bring him up, give him a shot, and "accidentally" give Curtis McElheney plane tickets to Newfoundland. I actually signed him mid-season last year as a FA - somehow, he was available - which made Josh Harding expendable. Good thing I did; he's already got a ring in my game, and is only getting better. He's a stud)
2G - Curtis Sanford, 77 (I love Sanford so much as a backup, I signed him to a 3 year deal for $825K. That said, if he has to step in as my starter for any extended period of time, I might as well shoot myself; after him, it's nothing but low-ceiling prospects with prohibitive contracts)

In short, this is an amazing team. I love any team that has Iginla on it, and having him wing for Malkin should be magical since a lot of my offence is generated from speed, and Malkin can just set him and Filatov up for passes all day.

EDIT: First game so far: two shots, two goals.

The Iginla Era has begun. <3

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kyuusei
Oct. 24th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
..Iginla Era. <3

I wish my team were more flexible in the 'backup goalie' era. I know Irving's development stalled for a bit there and we gave Keetley a shot and he was great but not ready - but does that HAVE to mean we need to stick with McElhinney? :( Can't remember if we tried Irving this year or not. The fans don't like Curtis and the team doesn't trust him. /tangent

Oh um, yes. Great team. XDD
burning_phoneix
Oct. 24th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
You hate the salary cap? >:(

A certain Florentino Pérez wants to suck your balls. >:|


35 years old? Is that like in football where players retire in the early to mid 30s?
kyuusei
Oct. 24th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
Hockey players usually retire closer to 40 unless they suck/injury etc. 35 is more often than not past a hockey player's prime, & after that it iypically means they're more likely a 'veteran presence in the locker room' and less likely to be on the top (scoring) line.
superbus
Oct. 24th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
Hockey players age slower than footballers. 28-32 is considered prime for a hockey player. Around 35, they're starting to slope downward. Some can play into their 40s. One (Gordie Howe) played top level hockey until he was 52.

EDIT: To put that in perspective, I had Nik Lidstrom for two seasons, when he was 38 and 39. He was still a 92 rated defenceman, and only in his last season - the one I let him go in - did he drop down to 88, before retiring.

Edited at 2009-10-24 11:56 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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