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Season 79 Off-Season Trade Reviews

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While the VHL Entry Draft generally garners the biggest headlines and stories over the off-season, oftentimes teams make the transition to contending or rebuilding through trades during the off-season. While draft picks provide the excitement of a promising future, both for the team and the player, trades can do the same thing, and sometimes it's the beginning of a run to the Continental Cup. With Season 79 now in full swing, let's take a look back at some of the biggest trades that teams made during the past off-season, along with the ramifications each had for this season and beyond. 


But if you haven't done so, check out these fantastic articles from @Alex_J32 previewing the VHLM season! There are a ton of quality prospects in the M this season, which promises a season of excitement and potential!


Under 250: S79 VHLM Season Preview | Under 250: The Resurgence of the Mississauga Hounds


:hel: Helsinki Titans receive: :hel:


S79 LDN 2nd (28th overall, Dekster Jankowski)

S79 HSK 2nd (24th overall, Matty Live)

S80 HSK 3rd

S80 RIG 3rd

S81 TOR 1st


:tor: Toronto Legion receive: :tor:


Aurelien Moreau

Vick Fairchild


With Frank Funk @Rayzor_7 now at the helm in Helsinki, it's not much of a surprise to see the Titans entering a rebuild. They've been contenders for much of the 70's, but the timing is right for Funk to start building the next generation of hockey in Helsinki. It's tough to send out a promising, up-and-coming defenseman in Aurelien Moreau @Frank, but the Titans received an absolute treasure trove of picks that Funk can use to build up the pipeline over the next three drafts, or as bargaining chips for future trades. With his two second round picks acquired for the Season 79 VHL Entry Draft, the Titans selected defenseman Matty Live @Mattylive3k and forward Dekster Jankowski @xsjack, both playing in the VHLM this season. Live's development appears to have stalled, but Jankowski is showing the potential to reach the VHLE for it's inaugural season, and could prove to have a future in Helsinki. The trade also gave Helsinki two thirds next season, and Toronto's first round pick in Season 81, unquestionably the crown jewel for Funk with this swap. 


The 70's have been rough to Rylan Peace @Peace and the Toronto Legion, but they're looking to close this decade with a bang by acquiring some veteran talent to compete now. It cost a ton of draft capital, but acquiring a defenseman like Aurelien Moreau that is just entering his prime and already shaping into one of the game's top young blueliners is big for this team's future. Vick Fairchild @GreenGato is a veteran in the prime of his career, already preparing for the dreaded regression. He fits well with the current direction of this Toronto club, perfectly suited for the top six minutes he's getting. The Legion are off to a quality start this season, and the boost that Moreau and Fairchild have provided are a big reason for that. 


It's difficult to outright declare a winner of a trade when picks are still on the table for two more seasons, but both teams clearly got what they needed here. The picks Toronto got wouldn't have helped their current contention, while the two veterans moved by Helsinki are ultimately more valuable as trade pieces with the direction of the team. Nicely done by both teams in my opinion. 


:sea: Seattle Bears receive: :sea:


S79 PRG 1st (13th overall, Orion D H Chester IX)

S81 PRG 1st


:prg: Prague Phantoms receive: :prg:


Venus Thightrap

S79 CGY 2nd (27th overall, Ben Aky)


With the retirement of Prague Phantoms lifer Thomas Landry II @Doomsday after Season 78, Jason Glasser @diamond_ace had a major hole to fill at center. Robert Bouchard @Gaikoku-hito has developed into a tremendous player for Prague, but the roster desperately needed another center. To solve that little problem, Glasser decided to bring in a familiar face: @BladeMaiden, a fixture of the Prague Phamily, and whose current player, Venus Thightrap, just happens to be a center. It's a match made in heaven, but the results haven't been there on the ice just yet. Thightrap is playing well, but Prague is struggling to maintain playoff positioning thus far. Missing the playoffs after giving up two first round picks could be a difficult pill to swallow, but fortunately for the Phantoms, it's still early in the season, and they have plenty of time to turn things around. However, the second round selection they acquired in the past draft did result in Ben Aky @benaky, a friend of Prague forward Nicholas Mariani @Mistxh J, joining the team, much to the delight of both of them. Aky is definitely worth keeping an eye on.


The Seattle Bears always seem to find a way to be relevant, and it's Blake Campbell's @Banackock ability to bring in first round picks year after year that keep the Bears in a seemingly permanent state of competition. Even after trading away a quality player in Venus Thightrap, Seattle is still making life difficult for their North American Conference rivals, and could sneak into the playoffs yet again this season. Campbell took advantage of the Season 79 Prague first round pick to use it as part of another trade to move up and land Sigard Petrenko @SlapshotDragon, who surely will factor in tremendously with Campbell's future plans. 


It's hard to fault Prague for having to really up the ante to land a player like Venus Thightrap to remain in the window of contention, but if it doesn't materialize for the Phantoms on the ice, this is easily a move that could be looked upon as a major setback. Seattle, however, is churning along, business as usual, and seems to have the core of their next run coming together nicely. When will the VHL learn?


:hel: Helsinki Titans receive: :hel:


S80 DCD 2nd


:rig: Riga Reign receive: :rig:


Zamboni Driver


After the spectacular fallout between Riga Reign netminder Calvin Harvey @Mrpenguin30 and the VHL following a fiery political discussion, the Reign were left holding the bag when Harvey abruptly retired. With goaltender suddenly a major hole following Season 78, Benjamin Zeptenbergs @hedgehog337 needed to act, and fast. With the Helsinki Titans entering a rebuild and their franchise netminder, Zamboni Driver @Tape-to-Tape entering his final season, the perfect situation for a trade existed, and Zeptenbergs sent the D.C. Dragons' Season 80 second round pick to Helsinki to acquire the veteran goaltender. While it stands to be a lower second round pick, it's a small price to pay if the absolutely remarkable play of Driver continues. He has saved .935% of the shots he has faced, and allows just over two goals a game. Needless to say, this has Riga in the running for the top spot in the European Conference, as the Reign are absolutely getting their money's worth with Zamboni Driver. 


For Frank Funk and the Helsinki Titans, it's hard to argue against the move. The Titans aren't competing this season, and this had to be the best offer they received. Even then, how much could you really expect to get for a goaltender entering their final season? Getting an extra pick to build with and giving your franchise netminder a real chance at winning a Cup before retirement is really all you can ask for. For what it's worth, Season 80's draft class is remarkably deep with goaltenders, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Helsinki come away from the draft with one of those top goalie prospects as well. No doubt both GMs were thrilled to get this deal done.


:dav: HC Davos Dynamo receive: :dav:


Patrik Laine

S80 HSK 4th

S81 HSK 4th

:hel: Helsinki Titans receive: :hel:


Declan Wolf

Griff Mackenzie

Raihan Heavems

S80 CGY 1st

S80 DAV 2nd

S80 DAV 4th

S81 DAV 2nd


To absolutely no one's surprise, we've got yet another entry on Frank Funk's Off-Season Pick Party. This time, it's Jerry Garcia @GustavMattias and the HC Davos Dynamo making the big buy, and it's a treasure trove of players and picks for Patrik Laine @Laine, giving Taro Tsujimoto another top talent to work with. The impact is undeniable, as Davos has clearly made the jump to a contender by inserting themselves into the race for the top seed in the European Conference. The real question for Garcia, however, is whether or not the massive price paid will result in ending Davos' long Continental Cup drought. Simply put, the price it took to acquire Laine will be a significant piece of Helsinki’s rebuild, and if Davos doesn’t get it done and end their drought with Laine, they’ll face a significant disadvantage when it comes time to rebuild again.


On the other hand, Helsinki’s risk is virtually non-existent. They’re not competing now, they won’t be by the time Laine retires in all likelihood, and the haul they received for him will certainly affect their chances in the future far more than their franchise stalwart would. They receive three players in Declan Wolf @MrShark, Griff Mackenzie @HoneyBadger25, and Raihan Heavems @RstortonYT that all made the leap up from the VHLM this season and are stating their cases to be a part of the Titans’ future plans. The real haul, however, is that group of draft picks, highlighted by Calgary’s first round pick in Season 80, one of three picks they acquired for next season’s draft. They also acquired Davos’ second and fourth round picks for Season 80, and another second round pick, also Davos’, in Season 81. Frankly, it’s been a terrific off-season for Frank Funk and the Helsinki Titans, as they shed players that wouldn’t fit into their future plans to make said future even brighter. It’s hard to imagine this off-season going any better for a first-year general manager, but Helsinki is off to an absolutely fantastic start with their new GM.


:sea: Seattle Bears receive: :sea:


Micah Adrienne

S80 SEA 1st


:ldn: London receives: :ldn:


Hex Rose

S79 MAL 3rd (42nd overall, Jacob Costello)

S79 NYA 3rd (39th overall, Emi Spector)


It turns out that no, in fact, the VHL still has not learned its lesson. Blake Campbell makes another move to acquire a first round pick, recovering his own first round pick from London for next season’s draft. It does cost him Hex Rose @Hex Universe, along with two third round picks in Season 79’s draft, but Seattle reacquiring their first rounder in a season in which they may not make the playoffs is tremendous. Season 80 is shaping up to have a very deep draft class, and with two first round picks, they’re in phenomenal shape to capitalize on it and get another Cup contender built for the new decade. Micah Adrienne @Poptart didn’t stick around very long, being flipped to Helsinki for a fourth round pick later on in a cap-clearing move.


Roger McWolf III @McWolf grabs a player in Hex Rose that has been a secondary player of sorts with Seattle, but has developed into a quality player that is leading the charge for London so far. Unfortunately, it hasn’t fully panned out yet for the United on the ice. They’re currently right on the bubble of making the playoffs, and while they wouldn’t be losing out on a lotto pick, they did lose out on perhaps having two of them. London is a team that really needs an infusion of young talent, and while they did gain a player in Rose who could prove to be a veteran leader, will it ultimately be worth it if Seattle misses the playoffs and picks up a lottery pick? It’s hard for me to say that Campbell and the Bears didn’t come out on top in this trade, even if Emiko Spector @Emi and Jacob Costello @stello2005 wind up making something of themselves for London in the future.


It certainly proved to be a busy off-season, especially for Frank Funk and the Helsinki Titans, who have engineered a very promising future for themselves with a wealth of draft picks. Blake Campbell and the Seattle Bears also managed to acquire more first rounders, and other teams, such as the Riga Reign, made necessary rentals to make a run at the Cup more feasible. It’s a long season, but already we’ve seen these trades make an impact on the current season, for better or for worse. But in order to truly judge the impact these trades made, we’ll have to give it a couple seasons and see just how each team fares as a result of these transactions. Best of luck to your teams this season!

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