SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN -- The Saskatoon Wild made a fairly huge transaction just a few days ago, sending nearly a full set of picks (A first, third and fourth round pick in S67 and a second in S66) for Brian Strong, Cody Parkey, DWin Championship and Hans Gruber. The Saskatoon Wild started the season as one of the top teams, but reality hit hard as the WIld fell from third to last place in a week of hockey. Some would argue that the Wild's position in the standings was more realistic, but GM Peace disagreed and eventually pulled the trigger on a trade that saw him sacrifice the entirety of his S67 draft stock.
"I have more faith in my club than the perceived bottom feeders people think of us," Peace admitted. "If it weren't for our lines being geared towards a more defensive effort, I believe we would have kept pace with at least Ottawa."
It appears as though the Saskatoon GM is now aware of the realities around his clubs defensive ability, and the fact is was generally regarded as an 'in lieu of' topic, since the Saskatoon Wild didn't have any defense to begin with... really. As the club attempted an entirely offensive strategy, which only lasted a few games before Peace decided to make the trade, the Saskatoon Wild weren't any more competitive than before the lineup changes. Although Shackleford and Amberback performed admirably, it simply wasn't enough for Saskatoon to climb out of the gutters.
Queue the trade.
Saskatoon sent their first, third and fourth round draft picks in the season sixty-seven VHLM entry draft, on top of Halifax's second round draft pick in season sixty-six (which they had the rights to) in exchange for the players they received. We'll let the GM break down the trade player by player, and pick by pick. Brain Strong - RW - 131 TPE Packaged with SSK S67 1st and SSK S67 3rd round picks
Brain Strong is a reliable offensive forward with the 'recommended' 70 TPA in most of the core stats, and now that he's at that level I would strongly recommend getting defense up to 70 as well. In terms of value, since he'll be returning for another season, I was okay giving up a first round pick for Strong without sacrificing any of my draft stock in the upcoming VHLM entry draft, where I hold three first round picks and two second round picks. I know Wheaties will be a steady TPE earner with welfare, practice and press conference TPE every week. He should be at (or close) to 200 next season when he'll lead Saskatoon on another playoff run. Hans Gruber Packaged with SSK S67 1st and SSK S67 3rd round picks
Organizationally we desperately needed a second line center, but at the same time we didn't truly need it for just positional sake. I added Gruber to the trade before I even considered his position simply because he was over one hundred TPA, which meant our top two lines were extremely competitive and it bolstered our offensive depth even further. I knew by adding both Gruber and Strong they'd fit onto our second line nicely, but that meant I'd have to shuffle some players around to make it work. Value wise, Gruber and Strong both shared a first round pick, but I added an additional third to tip the pot to land both players. Cody Parkey Packaged with HFX S66 2nd and SSK S67 4th round picks
Defense was one of our most critical needs, and I believe I addressed this well with our trade with Philadelphia. Parkey and Champ were a package deal, there was no getting one without the other, so I made it work for my club without giving away too many assets for sub-100 TPA defenders. I rarely deal for the 'future' value of a player unless they're already drafted, like Strong, and earning TPE at a pace where they'll be in the VHLM for a season or two still... but I did a little for these two. Parkey and Champ - at the cost of Halifax's second round pick and Saskatoon's fourth round pick next season - was a comfortable price to pay for two defenders who will be above 100 by the time playoffs begin. Parkey is nearly at 100, but since he was a package deal with Champ, I've already decided not to split them up on the pairing either. DWin Championship
Packaged with HFX S66 2nd and SSK S67 4th round picks
The difference between Parkey and Champ is slight, but from a sim perspective noticeable enough to keep them together rather than splitting them up. Champ is the 'offensive defensemen' to Parkey's 'defensive defensemen', they're like two peas in a pod. Parkey is the defensive workhorse of the pairing, cleaning up the defensive zone and laying down the hits while Champ is the man relied on to make breakout passes, transition smoother through all zones on the ice and produce points from the blue-line. Both of them are invaluable to Saskatoon's effort to climb back into a playoff position. BONUS Apollo Hackett
On top of the trades to acquire more offensive and defensive depth, we also signed Apollo Hackett to a contract mid way through the season. Hackett so far has developed into a reliable hard skating, defensive oriented defender who will match up soon with Shackleford now that I've decided Champ and Parkey won't be split up on the second pairing. I'm extremely happy Hackett is with us, and the rapid development is impressive. Top line spot is being earned, something I love to see!