Jump to content

Claimed:Memoirs of a General Manager, Part 4


Recommended Posts

  • Admin

Memoirs of a General Manager


It's been a while but I am back with the final instalment of a four-part recap of my almost five-season tenure as GM of the HC Davos Dynamo. You may find the first three parts at the bottom of this Media Spots page and they document, respectively, the initial S34 firesale, the decision to build a core without the draft in S35, and the final touches prior to winning the Continental Cup in S36.

S37-S38: Staying Afloat

The Skinny

The plight of a VHL General Manager is no easy one. During the playoffs, even when things are looking good (which still takes a lot of nerves and tinkering more often than not), behind the scenes negotiations are often going at a furious pace as eliminated teams look to improve in the off-season and contenders assess their options. Having triumphed in our first truly competitive season, a rebuild for the Dynamo was not an option, but all signs pointed to a busy off-season simply to defend the newly-won crown in a nerve-racking seven-game series against Toronto.

Big decisions were on the horizon largely because of the impending departure of Odin Tordahl, who, while being a free agent signing the previous off-season, was still an extremely valuable asset to lose. Fortunately, Tordahl was accommodating and allowed himself to be traded after the finals rather than hitting free agency again but he seemed set on New York as his favoured destination, causing some potential suitors to shy away from a worthwhile offer and other good deals fall through.

The Trades

To Yp5RCrq.png
(S33) RW - Odin Tordahl

To FrRpAcc.png
S38 NYA 1st (D Don Draper)

Negotiations were tense despite all my willingness to send Tordahl to his favoured destination given his great help in Season 36. Odin was a free asset and a luxury for Davos but that didn't mean I was prepared to give him up for cheap. In the end, the deal wasn't one you'd expect for a player of Tordahl's calibre under normal circumstances but it was a fair swap all things considered. Of course, being a contender, I hoped to acquire some players ready to step in straight away but a draft pick expected to be a lottery selection (in the end New York almost surprised many and just missed out on the playoffs) was still a good deal. Plus, I intended to trade it for a player I wanted for a long time straight away.

To FrRpAcc.png
(S35) C - Naomi Young

To qLXReQs.png
S38 NYA 1st (D Don Draper)
S39 DAV 1st (LW Andrew Erikson)
S38 DAV 2nd (D Ryan Barrett)

By the time the off-season rolled around and I knew the preferences of Tordahl and New York as well as the impending firesale in Helsinki, Naomi Young was the top candidate to replace Tordahl. It was a player I wanted as part of a S35 trio featured Lennox Moher in goal and Matt Bentley on the blue line and most importantly, a top center, of which I always wanted two. Of course, a 'swap' of a winger for a center is a curious one but in this case there was another reason: I knew of Sergey Brovalenko's intention to retire after Season 37. As such I decided it was worthwhile to go a season with three centers since another opportunity to acquire a young center so suitable for the Dynamo was extremely unlikely.

The price was hefty, however. In raw terms it was Tordahl and two more picks for Young, which on paper doesn't look too good. The reality was significantly different and it was the only way to acquire Young (in addition, Tordahl didn't go to an immediate rival for the cup). In the current market this is a normal price to pay for a top player and any rebuilding team wants to get a deal similar to the one the Titans got, though the picks don't always pan out. They have for Helsinki however, and for that reason, as well as their other selling trades by departing GM Mitch Higgins, the Titans are now the new promising team on the block, again. From a buying GM's perspective, there's always the underlying hope that the picks you deal don't work out and make the trade look better on your end, but it's a risky business. Where there was luck in this facet in my trades for Thomas Landry and Davey Jones for instance, it really was only fair that it evened out here. Three strong seasons from Young with at least on cup have also more than made up for the loss of such great but ultimately, from a contender's perspective, expendable picks.

To FrRpAcc.png
(S31) D - Nikita Lebedev

To StPYNLI.png
(S30) D - Lars Lessio
S39 DAV 2nd (D Jordan Cousins)
S37 DAV 3rd (D Vasily Miroshnychenko)
S38 SEA 3rd (RW David Sharp)
S38 DAV 3rd (LW Rocky West)
S39 DAV 3rd (RW Matt Gilbert)

While the Tordahl and Young trades were well thought-out and drawn-out processes, with a significant amount of tension in the time where all I had was a, for a contender, unnecessary top S38 draft pick, this deal with Toronto was quick and easy. Two seasons prior to this, I had acquired a cap dump defenceman from the Legion in Mario Linguini and along with journeyman Lars Lessio he gave Davos the defensive depth to defeat Toronto in the S36 finals. If Linguini was a trade I pursued, I didn't expect to be offered Lebedev nor did I think I had the cap space for him. However, it happened and in an act which was maybe a subtle apology for defeating Toronto but mostly carelessness, I traded all the few draft picks I had left in the next three drafts. Fortunately for me, none of them have shown any promise since being drafted by the Legion.

As it happens, while a Davos with Linguini defeated a Toronto with Lebedev (obviously not the key components even in S36), the Dynamo featuring both former “Legionnaires” fell to Toronto in S37. Yet in S38, following Linguini's retirement, Lebedev finally won a Continental Cup for himself in his final season, against the Legion.

To FrRpAcc.png
S37 HSK 2nd (RW Azmet Ali)

To tSI9DqU.png
(S34) RW - Matteo Gallo

I thought I was done with the Lebedev trade but another surprise awaited in this busy off-season. Felix Zamora, a free agent I hoped to sign alongside Tordahl an off-season earlier, returned to test the waters following his stint in Quebec and now was set on signing with Davos. This required a cap dump and one of a good player who posted good totals in his time with the Dynamo, starting as the team's captain before wandering off into inactivity. Although Zamora was the reason for the trade and has performed well here and contributed as expected in the locker room, this has still been one of my personal favourites. It was a symbolic deal, trading my first pick as Davos GM (Gallo) for a pick which turned out to be my best steal (Ali). Season 39 was to be Azmet Ali's VHL debut after great development in the VHLM but for cap reasons he was traded for just a fourth-rounder to Quebec. As a result, this trade is not as important other than for the signing of Zamora but it were only horrible circumstances which meant Ali didn't contribute more to the Dynamo, as a depth forward or a trade piece.

In addition, this was to be my last trade and the signing of Zamora my last transaction. The following off-season the retirements of Brovalenko and Linguini gave us the necessary cap space and the core of the team went on to win a second Continental Cup in three seasons.


Five seasons, one last place following a firesale and three straight finals against Toronto which brought Davos a record eight Continental Cups in 28 seasons as the Dynamo (nine in 38 including the first decade as Amstel/Avangard). It's been a solid run and I feel that unlike my unfortunate stint in New York now over 20 seasons ago, this has been a job well done. I don't regret any trade I made and will argue that those I didn't win were a wash. I was lucky but did work hard to secure two free agent signings in Tordahl and Zamora and largely as a result of impatience rebuilt significantly faster than anyone, including myself, expected. Perhaps there was another season in me before passing on to Molholt to rebuild but circumstances caused an earlier stepdown and in fact a smoother transition. We will aim to make history in Davos with a third championship in four seasons but whatever happens in Season 39 it's been fantastic to write another chapter of the greatest VHL franchise with an excellent and active locker room. I now don't doubt I'll be back in the business sooner rather than later but wherever that is, it will be hard to top this run that I was lucky to be a part of.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Senior Admin

Whoever wound up with Graper lost that trade

And Riga was ooooooohhhhhhhh so fortunate to pick up your sick player? :)


Content: 3/3

Good read again. You really should have hung on to that S38 1st when you had it though! After reading the four editions of this, you seem to have a very unique GM'ing style/strategy. Luckily, it works very very well. Some of the moves you have made over those five season are things I never would have even dreamed of, but after reading your reasoning behind them and such they all make a lot of sense. I like it.


Grammar: 2/2

Nothing here.


Appearance: 1/1

Looks good.


Overall: 6/6

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...