I'm still certain that prospects development is predetermined and it doesn't matter how and where you play them.
I'd be hesitant to talk in absolutes. While there's definitely guys that seemingly refuse to get better regardless of ice time (Teuvo Teravainen comes to mind), I've had guys go from completely stalling in their development to taking some serious leaps, typically around 23/24/25. It may just seem like every prospect has predetermined growth (particularly the 2013 draftees for some bizarre reason) because the "late bloomer" effect is harder to see.
I found something that might be a bug. I had my team setup as an offensive team so naturally majority of my team put up career numbers but i got swept in the playoffs. My players all for the most part grew. Next preseason i decide to play a defensive style so naturally my team scores less. Except because of this all my players scored a lot less than the season before. Result? My players dropped a ton and they all had a great season.
I still haven't found a single player that I can get a long term contract with for a low wage, that becomes really good.
I have had players demanding high salaries that had a mediocer development though.
Basically, I look at the players and see what they demand long term, and then decide whether I'll keep or trade them. Too bad you can't really change the development via playing someone a lot and on the first line, pp etc.
What is the highest rating you've had a regenerated player reach? Mine is 89, never anyone in the 90s..
A computer generated player? I have one who is a 88 currently in the 2021-22 season. 1st overall in 2017 (I got the pick from Florida over the summer for Michael Sauer and they finished with 48pts ). 6'7 251lb power forward. 4.5 green stars. Hoping he'll make it to 90. Well over a PPG mid-way through the year with Anton Zlobin and Bobby Ryan on his line.
Ryan McDonagh was the only other guy who came close to 90 who didn't start there in the first place, but he topped out at a 88 for me.
It depends on how your lines are made up. If you have a lot of big forwards, "Crash the net" is optimal. Guys with high shooting attributes prefer overload. I haven't really found an optimal set up for behind the net strategy though. Probably because I only have one real "offensive" d-man on my roster.
Thought what I had to be a solid team to start the year, but mid-way through I was 12-20-6 or something and nobody on my team was putting up more than half a PPG. So I decided something had to be wrong and started tweaking the strategy settings. Team only lost a total of 8 games the rest of the year and had 2 guys put up 70+ points.