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Shit, not even a click-bait title, I must be feeling generous this week!




First Overall – Toronto Legion


With Pete Stockton retiring this season, Season 53 draftee Roman Sokolov is currently the lone Toronto Legion player set to be over the 200 TPE mark meaning that this Legion team have more than enough holes to fill in this upcoming draft. However, some of these holes are more prominent than others and, luckily for Toronto, this draft has set up well for them as the top three players in this draft class are playing in a position where they currently have no-one of VHL talent. While the current value of goalies is fairly low due to the sheer number of young goalie prospects that already find themselves on a VHL team, I can still see this pick being a goalie just to ensure that they do not have to address this position at a later date. While Marcus King has the more impressive training ethic, it would be difficult for DollarAndaDream to turn down the option of selecting Torsten Ironside first overall, which would then allow him to create a second player that would immediately join Toronto under the GM rule.


Draft Fact: If Torsten Ironside is selected first overall, he would be the eleventh goalie to be selected first overall. Ironside’s selection would also be the second consecutive time a player created by DollarAndADream had been selected first overall by the Toronto Legion, the other player being Zach Parechkin in the Season 46 Draft



Second Overall – HC Davos Dynamo


While the Dynamo may be slightly rueing their luck that two of the top four earning players in this draft play at the one position that they do not need to address, the goalie spot that is currently occupied by their Season 53 first round selection Mist4ke, they can take consolation in the fact that there are more than enough talents in this draft that play in positions where they will have a positive impact on the team. Out of those players that don’t play at the goalie position, the one I see the Dynamo selecting is center Fook Yu. Selecting Tfong here, Smarch will be more than happy to reunite with his former teammate from the Continental Cup winning New York Americans of Seasons 39 and 41, both of whom had their players on that team enter the Hall of Fame.


Draft Fact: If Yu is selected by the Davos Dynamo, this will be the fourth instance of Tfong being selected by the franchise.  He had previously been drafted by the team in Seasons 5 (Terence Fong, team was called Avangard at the time), 18 (Daisuke Kanou) and 27 (Ying Qin).



Third Overall – Helsinki Titans


As the lone team in this draft who made the playoffs (and is in fact still in them at the time of this being written), the Titans are the only team in the draft lottery who were competing for the title in Season 53 and will have the same goals for Season 54. While this would not usually mean a whole lot in regards to which player the team will be targeting, there is a very unique case in this draft that can’t be ignored, and that unique case is defenseman Hudson Abbott. Right now, the Titans are in a position where they need players to be as good as possible as quick as possible in order to take full advantage of talents like Black Velvet and Theo Axelsson before they retire. The best complement to those players would be a player who can earn a lot of TPE very quickly while they are under the cheaper rookie contracts, a strategy that worked well for the Season 45 and 46 Helsinki Titans when they selected Phil Hamilton and Greg Clegane in the Season 45 Draft along with GM player Aleksi Koponen to complement veteran players like Thomas O’Malley and Christoph Klose. While Bushito has had problems maintaining activity over the full course of his recent player’s careers, his main strength is the rate at which he is capable of earning TPE. Bushito’s last player, Brady Stropko, ended his eight-season career with 657 TPE. That figure doesn’t sound that great on it’s on, but when you consider that he stopped earning TPE half-way through his third season, it’s actually an incredible tally. Abbott has shown signs of repeating this level of earning already having caught up to Aleksei Federov and Shawn Gretzky in TPE despite the fact that they created their players over a month earlier, and I think it’s that TPE earning potential that see Abbott go third overall.


Draft Fact: It has been eighteen seasons since a player made by Bushito has entered the draft, his last being Damon Tyrael who was selected in the Season 36 Draft. It also marks the first time he has entered the draft as a defenseman.



Fourth Overall – Riga Reign


The Riga Reign and Marcus King should have been a match made in heaven; after the Legion take Ironside, the Reign become the lone team without a VHL level goalie and not only would this pick give them that, but it would also give them the best TPE earning prospect in the draft at fourth overall, perhaps the best possible outcome they could have hoped for after losing out to Helsinki in the lottery draw. From King’s perspective, this would also be the only team with selections in the first round of the draft who could guarantee him 64 games in his rookie season (there’s one other team, but we’ll get to that later), and would also grant him the best opportunity to showcase his abilities as Riga would likely face a lot of shots in his first VHL season. However, due to Riga being one of King’s least favoured destinations (Kendrick has played on Riga more than any other franchise), there are some doubts about whether this is the right selection for the franchise. With Kendrick going on record saying he won’t rule out any team completely and would be committed to a team as long as they are committed to winning, we’ll have Riga take a punt on King with perhaps a trade down the line should things not go quite as planned.


Draft Fact: This would mark the second consecutive draft that a player made by Kendrick had been drafted at fourth overall, as Tyson Kohler was selected at the same draft position in Season 48. Interestingly enough, despite still being eligible for two more VHL seasons, Kohler has already earned more TPE than any other fourth overall selection, the previous highest earner being Tukka Reikkinen (980 TPE) from the Season 25 Draft.


The Wildcards



Cologne Express


Having traded their first to acquire the services of Jon Sleeman and Dmitri Dadonov back in Season 52, Cologne’s first pick in the draft is Calgary’s second round selection, however, it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see Cologne feature in the first round of this draft. With free agency desperately lacking in talent and Cologne currently looking weaker than when they started this season with Joel Jarvi’s retirement and AK47/Ilya Kopralkov’s inactivity/regression, as it stands the franchise is heading to the same awkward situation they were in this season of likely being too good to miss the playoffs but nowhere near good enough to win it. Being in this predicament may lead them to try and see if they can snag a lottery or mid-first talent in the first round of this draft, but really the barrier is what they can give up to get them, as their only assets of value right now are their S55 and S56 firsts, which promise to be high selections.


Draft Fact: While we have Ironside down to select his "second player" in this draft, if he does this he won't be the first GM to have done so. That honour goes to Greg Harbinson, when he selected Alexander Thrower ninth overall in the Season 52 Draft.



Seattle Bears


There have been mumblings on the forum that Seattle may consider rebuilding after these playoffs conclude.  With Zach Parechkin, Jeff Hamilton and Bogdan Podarok retiring along with Felipe Rodriguez entering his final season (facing a period of regression that looks to hit him very hard) and Grigory Kopralkov not being seen in over a month, the team is going to enter the off-season looking not nearly as strong as they have done the last two seasons. In addition, it may be difficult for them to pick up the players to complement Jakab Holik, Pietro Maximoff and Sven Wolf, as they’ll only have their Season 56 picks and their Season 55 third round selection to work with. At the same time though, with Calgary and Toronto still not looking likely to compete in Season 54, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to give up just yet. It will be interesting to see what path Seattle takes this off-season.


Draft Fact: With their last first round selection being in the Season 50 draft, the Seattle Bears have the longest active streak of draft without a first round selection.

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