The Evolution of Our Teams
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02-01-2011, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
I'm not a very creative GM. All of my teams are quite formulaic. My vision has remained essentially unchanged for my last five drafts; it was essentially a matter of picking the right type of player to "fill in the blanks". I'm not sure if this is a good or bad quality.
My overriding principle as a GM is to minimize my team's weaknesses, rather than to maximize their strengths.
ATD #3 - SASKATOON BLUES (15 teams)
Coach: Lester Patrick
Valery Kharlamov - Marcel Dionne - Gordie Howe
Cy Denneny - Frank Boucher - Babe Dye
Doug Bentley - Joe Primeau - Charlie Simmer
Craig Ramsay - Bob Pulford - Steve Thomas
Paul Coffey - Bill Gadsby
King Clancy - Ken Reardon
Jim Thomson - Gus Mortson
I took over this team from another GM after the fourth or fifth round. Howe, Dionne, Coffey, Hawerchuk and possibly Belfour had already been selected.
I traded Hawerchuk and pick 213 to another team for Kharlamov and pick 221 - that would be vetoed instantly these days!
The Blues boast some serious offensive firepower. Seven of my top nine forwards either won, or were at least reasonable contenders for, the Art Ross trophy (and Kharlamov surely would have been had he played in the NHL). However, the forwards were fairly poor group defensively, due to being terribly slow (Dye, Denneny, Simmer) or simply not caring about defense (Kharlamov, Dionne, Drillon). When you consider that the team has two of the great rushing defensemen ever (Coffey, Clancy), this is a very high-risk, high-reward team.
If I re-did this roster today, Belfour would be my starting goalie. If Esposito was better during the regular season, it was by a small margin, and I'd definitely prefer The Eagle in the playoffs.
According to the HOH Top 100 players list (the original, completed edition) this team features 9 of the top hundred players of all-time. Then again, in a 15-team draft, you'd expect an average team to have 7 of the top hundred players.
This was an old-time team; only three players (Coffey, Belfour, Thomas) played as recently as 1990! Back in the day you could build a good team simply by loading up on pre-WWII players that nobody had heard of.
ATD #5 - MONTREAL CANADIENS (17 teams)
Coach: Al Arbour
Clark Gillies - Newsy Lalonde - Maurice Richard
Sweeney Schriner - Nels Stewart - Mark Recchi
Woody Dumart - Ted Kennedy - Steve Thomas
Vincent Damphousse - Mike Peca - Claude Lemieux
Pierre Pilote - Bill Quackenbush
Scott Stevens - Stefan Persson
Zdeno Chara - Ken Daneyko
This is the first team that I had complete control over and it featured the "Hockey Outsider formula": a consensus top seven goalie, three elite defensemen with a big drop-off to the others, two talented scoring lines (cheating a bit by miscasting one (sometimes two) forwards), two gritty, defensive-minded but low-scoring forward lines, and a very good (usually top five) coach.
This is the toughest, meanest squad I've assembled. It's not the best, but it's probably the team I'd be least willing to play against.
I love the deep and balanced defense corps. Granted, this was a 17-team draft.
I'm not sure if there's enough puck to go around on my top line. Richard and Lalonde were both notoriously shoot-first players; Gillies was great at winning pucks along the board, but I wouldn't describe him as a particularly skilled playmaker. Same problem on the second line - Stewart was a shoot-first centre, though having Recchi on the wing mitigates this a bit.
ATD #6 - MONTREAL CANADIENS (20 teams)
Coach: Tommy Ivan
Paul Kariya - Adam Oates - Gordie Howe
Johnny Bucyk - Doug Gilmour - Peter Bondra
Dean Prentice - Hooley Smith - Bobby Rousseau
Ryan Smyth - Doug Risebrough - Stan Smyl
Sprague Cleghorn - Brad Park
Chris Chelios - Jim Schoenfeld
Stefan Persson - Charlie Huddy
This is my favourite team. On paper, the roster didn't have better players than any of the other teams. However, the ATD 6 Canadiens epitomized my philosophy of having no weaknesses. The team didn't have overwhelming strength in any area, but they had no obvious flaws.
In contrast to ATD 3, this team is surprisingly modern, particularly up front. Seven of my thirteen forwards were active in the 1990's. Five of my seven defensemen were active in the 1980's.
I essentially traded John Bucyk for Andy Bathgate (plus two minor changes in future draft picks). Bathgate is almost certainly the better player, but I knew that Bucyk gave my team some much needed scoring ability on the left wing. It's not about which players you draft; it's all about how they fit together as a team.
I traded Glenn Anderson and pick #243 for Sprague Cleghorn and pick #314. Would this traded have been vetoed today? (Probably). Would I have won the draft without this trade? (Probably not).
ATD #7 - MONTREAL CANADIENS (28 teams)
Coach: Jack Adams
Sid Smith - Stan Mikita - Ken Wharram
Gary Roberts - Sid Abel - Babe Dye
Tomas Holmstrom - Ken Mosdell - George Armstrong
Tony Leswick- Glen Skov - Ed Westfall
Brad Park - Pat Stapleton
Guy Lapointe - Keith Magnuson
Barry Beck - Barry Ashbee
The ATD7 Canadiens were clearly my weakest offensive team. Only six players on the roster managed to place in the top ten in scoring even once, and I'd consider two of them (Smith and Wharram) complimentary players, rather than catalysts. This is somewhat offset by the fact that my top three defensemen can all make significant contributions offensively.
My second and third lines were both quite slow.
I traded picks #5 and #108 for picks #22 and #35. I think fifth overall is the worst pick in the draft, because there's such a clear drop-off in talent from the Big Four, yet you have to wait almost as long to pick again.
Only three regulars (Roberts, Holmstrom, Beck) and my two extra skaters (Peplinski, McSorely) were active as late as 1990.
ATD #8 - MONTREAL CANADIENS (28 teams)
Coach: Al Arbour
Charlie Simmer - Newsy Lalonde - Yvan Cournoyer
Vic Hadfield - Jean Ratelle - Hooley Smith
Don Marcotte - Doug Jarvis - Pit Martin
Marcel Bonin - Troy Murray - Eddie Shack
Denis Potvin - Harry Howell
Marcel Pronovost - Rob Ramage
Bill Hajt - Bill Barilko
I was hesitant taking Potvin at #14, since Lidstrom, who I rank as a better defenseman, was available. I went with Potvin because he almost certainly had a higher peak, which is more important than consistency/longevity in the ATD. This draft was done in November and December 2007; if I had the same choice now (February 2011) I probably would have gone with Lidstrom. (I still think Potvin clearly had a higher peak, but Lidstrom has continued to add to his playoff resume post-Yzerman).
This team is seriously lacking in offensive depth on the bottom two lines. If I had to re-do the lineup, the third line would probably be Murray-Turgeon-Martin (solid playmaking ability, with the wings covering for Turgeon's inability to backcheck), and the fourth line would be Marcotte-Jarvis-Shack (tough with strong defensive abilities).
Only two regulars (Murray and Ramage) and two depth players (Melanson and Turgeon) were active as late as 1990.
ATD #10 - MONTREAL CANADIENS (28 teams)
Coach: Hap Day
Sid Smith - Bryan Trottier - Pavel Bure
Esa Tikkanen - Doug Gilmour - Bill Mosienko
George Hay - Dick Irvin, Sr. - B-A Gustafsson
Don Marcotte - Derek Sanderson - Ed Westfall
Don Lever - Tomas Sandstrom
Valeri Vasiliev - Vitali Davydov
Mark Howe - Zdeno Chara
Bill Hajt - Bobby Rowe
This was a good team, though I'm surprised it went as far as it did (losing in the Milt Dunnell Cup final). There simply wasn't enough offensive firepower.
I hoped to convince everybody that Irvin & Hay made a fairly high-scoring duo on my third line, but I don't think I persuaded many people.
Two of my top four defensemen played in the Soviet league; I don't think that anybody questioned Vasiliev's credentials as a #1 defenseman but Davydov came under a lot scrutiny. He's somewhere between Adam Foote and Ken Daneyko in an ATD context (I realize that's a big range).
I paid a premium to re-unit the checking line from Orr's Bruins - was it worth it? Any two of Marcotte, Sanderson and Westfall with a competent two-way forward (even Don Lever, my 13th forward) would have been a great defensive line anyway, and I could used the extra pick to get some much-needed scoring depth.
It only took me three drafts to figure out that a 3rd string goalie has minimal value. (Then again, not sure how much value Sandstrom has as a 14th forward).
Only three players peaked before WWII (Hay, Irvin, Rowe).
: Bill Gadsby at #123 was an absolute steal. His toughness and strong defensive play made him a good fit with Paul Coffey on the top pair. This shows how things have improved in the ATD - the days when Gadsby goes after Rob Blake, Doug Wilson and Al Iafrate (!) are long gone.
: Newsy Lalonde at #75 was an exceptional steal. It allowed me to pair Lalonde with Richard on a very tough, high-scoring first line. Much has changed - it's hard to believe that Lalonde was taken after Ron Francis, Brett Hull, and Gilbert Perreault.
: Hooley Smith at #384. Smith went around 250 spots later than he should have. Without this pick, I wouldn't have won the draft. Smith gave me exceptional depth up the middle, which allowed me to compete with teams with superior top-end forwards.
: Stan Mikita at #22. I'm struggling to find a steal in this draft. I went with Mikita, as he shouldn't be the 7th centre selected.
: Newsy Lalonde at #70. I hate to repeat myself, but Lalonde was criminally underrated once again. Lalonde is closer to Maurice Richard territory than to Henri Richard (where he was once again drafted).
: Bill Mosienko at #362. Although there was extensive debate about how impressive Mosienko's scoring exploits truly were, I'm confident saying that there weren't any comparable talents available so late in the draft.
: Charlie Simmer at #238. This is at least 100 spots too early. Did I really draft Simmer over Norm Ullman, Syd Howe, Jacques Lemaire and Hooley Smith?!
: Clark Gillies at #143. A few dozen spots too early. Gillies didn't bring any skills to the team that weren't already present. Patrik Elias, who would have provided some much-needed playmaking and defensive abilities to the top line, was taken immediately after I drafted this controversial Hall of Famer.
: Peter Bondra at #238. A few dozen spots too early; Bondra is quite one-dimensional and didn't really fit into my vision for my team. Frank Nighbor (!), Syd Howe and Roy Conacher were all available.
: Barry Beck at #284. This is at least 100 spots too early. Beck had all the tools to be a great defenseman, he just couldn't put it together consistently. He was mis-cast on my second defense pair; Lionel Hitchman and Vladimir Lutchenko were two of many superior defensemen still available.
: Rob Ramage at #294. I repeated the mistake I made in the previous draft. Desperate for a #4 defenseman, I took Ramage around 100 spots earlier than he should have been taken. Comparable defensemen were still around for many rounds after this.
: Esa Tikkanen at #194. Objectively this isn't a bad pick, but I eventually realized that my team would have trouble offensively when Tikkanen was my 4th forward.
During my six ATDs, I made 144 selections. In total, I selected 126 different players/coaches; eighteen players/coaches were selected in two drafts. I haven't picked anybody three (or more) times.
ALL-TIME HOCKEY OUTSIDER TEAM
Coach: Al Arbour
Sid Smith - Newsy Lalonde - Gordie Howe
Charlie Simmer - Doug Gilmour - Babe Dye
Don Marcotte - Hooley Smith - Ed Westfall
Brad Park - Zdeno Chara
Bill Hajt - Steffan Persson
Not a bad start to a club in a 28-team draft!
Last edited by Hockey Outsider: 02-02-2011 at
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