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Off-Season Run-Down I - The Bottom Five [1/2]


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S66-67 Off-Season Run-Down I - The Bottom Five

 

Compared to Season 66, this off-season has been a whirlwind – just about on schedule, with an expectation for Season 67 proper to start on either Sunday or Monday. After a dominant regular season, the Helsinki Titans and their two skater stars in Julian Borwinn @Jubo07 and S65-66 free agent signing Matt Thompson @Beketov easily cleaned up in the playoffs – and the awards, with nearly a dozen going their way. And that’s not even including their first- and second-team All-VHL selections.

 

In terms of the draft, Season 67’s class was incredibly deep – much like last season, and a very promising sign – which means some teams have been revamped a bit. And while some teams have traded away players, they were generally pretty even exchanges: New York started a fire sale for picks, and Toronto kept on doing its thing just trading away all of its draft picks. Otherwise, a couple of exchanges for picks to offload some salary didn’t seem to make much of a difference.

 

But here’s a hot take: even this season’s biggest free agent signing in Veran Dragomir doesn’t change my favorite for the S67 championship. Heck, it might not even put them in the top two. Read below and in this topic's companion article for  more opinions!

 

 

#10 – Seattle Bears

S3UYplM.png

GM // @Banackock

Stars // None

Risers // S67 LW Acyd Burn

S67 D Ambrose Stark

S67 D Boone Jenton

S67 LW Henrik Zoiderberg

S67 D Hulk Hogan

S67 C Scott Greene

S66 C Thomas Kennedy

S66 G Rayz Funk

 

Of all of the teams with a bright future, Seattle has the most potential. Like New York, they have a relatively younger ‘star’ player in center Joel Ylonen @Esso2264 (an S64 prospect) surrounded by players that would most likely qualify for limited second to third line minutes on other teams. But it’s worth noting – if it isn’t already obvious enough from their ‘Risers’ – that Seattle hit with deep S66 picks and have a tremendous number of 250+ TPE S67 selections.

 

The first season or two for the Bears has been and will be rough – there’s little way around that. With the retirement of Defenseman of the Year and assists leader Samuel Gate @street, there are few current redeeming qualities for the bears. But between rookie wingers @Acydburn and @HenrikZoiderberg, rookie center Scott Greene @DoktorFunk and sophomore Thomas Kennedy @Walter Fizz, three rookie defensemen in Hulk Hogan @HulkHogan, Ambrose Stark, and Boone Jenton @FakeJenton, and goalie Rayz Funk @Rayzor_7, the Bears have literally drafted an entire set of first liners for the future.

 

The question is, will they stick around after their rookie contracts? If 5 or more of the 6 re-sign, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with come S70, but hardly anything is ever so certain in the VHL.

 

High Points - First-line center Ylonen; ridiculously good S67 draft class. Hulk Hogan will be a first-line starter right away, and Seattle has possibly the best future defensive trio and goalie in the league.

Concerns - Everything from F1-F3 and D1-D2... for this season.

 

Projected Lines

F1 // Shane Mars – Joel Ylonen – Acyd Burn

F2 // Henrik Zoiderberg – Scott Greene – Thomas Kennedy

F3 // Valeri Morozov – (Thomas Kennedy?) – Edgar Tannahill

 

D1 // Lando Baxter – Dallas Jones/Hulk Hogan

D2 // Ambrose Stark – Boone Jenton

 

G // Rayz Funk

 

#9 – New York Americans

YkbcAci.png

GM // @Esso2264

Stars // RW Dan Wilinsky

Risers // S67 ACL TEAR

S66 RW Aleksander Rodriguez

S66 RW Nethila Dissanayake

S67 C Boris the Forest

 

The Americans squeaked into the last playoff spot in Season 66, and promptly started a fire sale in order to take on two excellent S67 prospects in winger ACL Tear @Quik and center Boris the Forest @chillzone. In the process, they rid themselves of first-liners Joel Ylonen, Joseph McWolf, and Leph Twinger and accumulated picks for S67/S68.

 

For now, that leaves them with several promising young prospects and superstar winger Dan Wilinsky @oilmandan, the lone skater above 500 TPA for the Americans. Thankfully he’s still mid-career, having entered via the S63 draft, and that gives him another couple of seasons to see the New York roster grow. For now, he’ll likely line up with center Carles Puigdemont and fellow winger Kisshan Shan, particularly as the team waits for one of wingers Aleksander Rodriguez @Jtv123, Nethila Dissanayake @nethi99, or TEAR to pass one of the two. Until then, this leaves New York’s first two forward lines as a bit underwhelming, and their D1 line woefully so. In fact, it’s unclear as to who, exactly, New York can even play at D2. Piotr Jerwa and Bald Guy will likely man the first line, while Mountain Thunderfist and maybe a call-up or position swapped forward will have to man the second spot in the second defensive line.

 

New York also has one of the larger rosters in the league, sitting on 15 skaters and 3 goalies. While the aging Tristan Iseult isn’t a bad backup for perennial starter Ismond Kingfisher, their dearth in starting-quality skaters forces the Americans down to ninth.

 

High Points – Good, young prospects (S65+) complemented by a single superstar in Wilinsky. Rodriguez, TEAR, Forest, and Dissanayake should be steady earners.

Concerns – No other skaters above 500 TPE. Depth is questionable beyond second forward line and a singular defender (Jerwa). Expect the S68 NYA first pick to be either 1 or 2OA.

 

Projected Lines

F1 // Kisshan Shan – Carles Puigdemont – Dan Wilinsky

F2 // ACL TEAR – Boris the Forest – Nethila Dissanayake

F3 // Aleksander Rodriguez – Maximilian Kirbsson – Blake Laughton

 

D1 // Piotr Jerwa – Bald Guy

D2 // Mountain Thunderfist – ???

 

G // Ismond Kingfisher

 

#8 – Malmö Nighthawks

MAL.png

GM // @Advantage

Stars // None (RW Matthew Materazo future)

Risers // S66 D Jerry Garcia, S67 RW Lucas Nygren, S66 D Rusty Shackleford, S67 C Trevor Van Lagen

 

As the new kid on the block, Malmö really has their work cut out for them. After a hot start to last season, they were eliminated from the playoffs with around 10 games left, and part of it had to do with their selected expansion core. The Nighthawks chose high TPE players, many of which unfortunately ended up going inactive.

 

GM Chris Miller did an excellent job drafting generally high-quality players in Season 66. D Jerry Garcia @GustavMattias in particular has shot up the rankings since being revealed as a possible sleeper in the draft and taking on a VHLM GM position. In a similar vein, defenseman Rusty Shackleford @K1NG LINUS was drafted slightly lower but continues to earn TPE like a madman. When it comes to offense, Malmö’s team is predictably young but promising; Materazo has his work cut out for him, as he’ll most likely be working with veteran Mikka Pajari (492 TPE) and RW Jack Lynch (425) against other first lines. Garcia and one of Shackleford/Basaraba Moose will man the first defensive line, but they’ll likely struggle against league-average lines with 250-300 more TPE than either of them.

 

Ultimately, from the top-down, Malmo needs time to develop its prospects. With a handful of pretty reliable users occupying their roster, they’ll need to figure out a way to retain all of their actives come S68 and S69.

 

High Points – Excellent young defenders, reliable earners after F1. Jerry Garcia and Rusty Shackleford have shown promising consistency in point earning from S66’s draft class. S67 prospects will get starting time sooner rather than later.

Concerns – Stated above. Malmö’s not going to win playoff games any time soon, if I had my guess.

 

Projected Lines

F1 // Jack Lynch – Mikka Pajari – Matthew Materazo

F2 // Blake Gaudette – Teagan Glover – Lucas Nygren

F3 // Trevor Van Lagen – Phil Marleau – Brian Strong

 

D1 // Jerry Garcia – Rusty Shackleford

D2 // Basaraba Moose – MORPHEUS DESTRUCTIOUS

 

G // Michael Johnson

 

 

#7 – Moscow Menace

MOS.png

GM // @Victor

Stars // LW Randoms, C Podrick Cast

Risers // S66 C Jet Jaguar, S66 G Owen May

 

As one of the two most recent expansion teams, this is about where I’d expect to find Moscow. There are some starter-quality players on the team that can join Randoms and Podrick Cast, namely C Mark Gebauer, RW Jorgon Weyed, and LW Dan Baillie, but none of the Moscow lines blow other teams’ lines out of the water. That’s not to say the Menace’s offseason was uneventful – they offloaded picks to Riga and Vancouver to acquire three best players in Cast, Randoms, and goalie Roger Sterling – but they certainly mortgaged some of their future in the progress.

 

Ultimately, Moscow is still a very young team, and with rising stars like C Jet Jaguar @gorlab and “goalie of the future” Owen May @FacebookFighter, we can likely say that the Russians have some good days ahead. They may want to move some of their veteran players out for some active rookie and sophomore players or some high draft picks, as I don’t see the Menace going terribly far in the playoffs if they make it. Offensively, they’re capable of keeping up; their first line is perhaps only marginally worse than Riga’s, while their F2 is a fair bit better than the league average (but possibly worse than Vancouver’s).

 

Defensively, we have a different story: Moscow’s best defender is 468 TPE Paolo Nano - good for most teams’ second line, but certainly not their first.

 

High Points – Young, developable team with a pair of veteran mentors. Will have good transition from Sterling to May in goal. Very deep at forward, with Pavlov moving up to F3 shortly.

Concerns – Defense currently doesn’t measure up to other mid-table teams. First line offense doesn’t have a clear-cut star.

 

Projected Lines

F1 // Randoms – Podrick Cast – Jorgon Weyed

F2 // Dan Baillie – Mark Gebauer – Jet Jaguar

F3 // Dimitri Volosenkov – Connor McDavid/Vladimir Pavlov – Mat Tocco

 

D1 // Paolo Nano – Evgeni Komarov

D2 // Mitch Matthews – Edward Vigneault

 

G // Roger Sterling

 

#6 – Vancouver Wolves

kbDfIPB.png

GM // @Beaviss

Stars // C Beau Louth, C Rauno Palo, D Shawn Glade

Risers // S66 LW Julius Freeman, S67 G Greg Eagles, S66 C Hans Gruber, S67 C Micheal Gary Scott

 

The Wolves made it to the finals last year – so why are they sixth, and third overall in the North American Conference? They re-signed Gritty @Positivefan036 and Denver Wolfe @InstantRockstar, who will both be important depth pieces, but don’t have any first line quality players beyond the above listed three stars. S66 draftees LW Julius Freeman @rjfryman and RW Shawnomir Jagr @TheLastOlympian07 are pivotal in forming the second lines, and both are likely to break the 600 TPE mark this season.

 

One point of difficulty comes with Vancouver’s depth at one position – center. Both of their stars are there, and many of their depth pieces (e.g. Hans Gruber, Micheal Gary Scott) have lower effective TPA because of points lost to faceoff skills. And unless they plan on putting Louth and Palo on the same line, Vancouver’s stuck with 400-550 TPE players occupying the remainder of their top two forward line spots. This bodes well for their F2 – which would be the best by about 100 TPE per player if Rauno Palo were put there – but the star split makes for a F1 line that pales in comparison to Helsinki’s, Riga’s, Davos’s, Toronto’s, and Calgary’s. Their first defensive pair (Shawn Glade and Jagger @Philliefan) is similar in quality to Calgary’s, putting them at about fourth in the league, while their D2 sits moderately above the league average. However, Vancouver can easily fight fatigue, as they’re likely to have 8+ forwards above 400 TPE this season.

 

The factor that pushes them furthest down the rankings, however, is their goalie. Even if Greg Eagles and Clayton Park are incredibly active this season, they’ll both hit 450 TPE at best – which puts them possibly above Seattle in North America and tied-ish with Malmo in Europe. That’s not a great look for a team that wants to contend.

 

High Points – Excellent Center and overall offensive depth. Good defensive depth.

Concerns – Very star-reliant (i.e. Louth and Palo) forward lines. Their goalies are also very raw prospects and may have a tough time because of average defensive depth.

 

Projected Lines

F1 // Julius Freeman – Beau Louth – Gritty

F2 // Hans Gruber – Rauno Palo – Shawnomir Jagr

F3 // [F1 extra minutes] – Micheal Gary Scott – Ben Hafkey

 

D1 // Shawn Glade – Jagger Philliefan

D2 // Denver Wolfe – Codrick Past

 

G // Clayton Park (early) / Greg Eagles (mid-late)

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Review: Just joined the league a week ago, so still wrapping my head around the VHLM, let alone the VHL. These posts are awesome. Really helpful in getting me a little more familiar with the league and how much things change year to year. Already rooting for Seattle and Moscow. Thanks for your writeup!

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17 minutes ago, studentized said:

Just joined the league a week ago, so still wrapping my head around the VHLM, let alone the VHL. These posts are awesome. Really helpful in getting me a little more familiar with the league and how much things change year to year. Already rooting for Seattle and Moscow. Thanks for your writeup!

 

It gets more familiar over time, just stay active in the community and you'll pick it up quik :)

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18 minutes ago, studentized said:

Just joined the league a week ago, so still wrapping my head around the VHLM, let alone the VHL. These posts are awesome. Really helpful in getting me a little more familiar with the league and how much things change year to year. Already rooting for Seattle and Moscow. Thanks for your writeup!

Welcome to the league! We're happy to have ya :cheers:

 

The league's going through a huge growth period so I don't blame you for not being familiar with everything. Like @HenrikZoiderberg says it's something that comes with time. Good luck in the VHLM!

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6 minutes ago, Jtv123 said:

The projected lines were horrible projection for NY and it didn't even mention Blake once, who came off an amazing VHLM season last year, but beside that the rest is true??

Take another look! I put Blake in at RW on F3.

 

New York's lines are pretty hard to predict because after Wilinsky, Jerwa, and Puigdemont, there's no one above 400 TPE. My assumption is Esso will assign lines based on level of activity after those 3.

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@Renomitsu About my expansion selected core and selecting high TPE players...there seems to be little consideration to else was available in those cases and I mostly just flat out disagree.

 

In the case of Toronto...Carison was selected over literally no one and he retired and wasnt inactive.

 

In the case of Seattle...it was Kovalev or Thunderfist who was actually inactive.  Kovalev technically is still around too.

 

Kai was actually the low TPE pick cause it was him or older regressing guys who are more inactive.

 

Helsinki didnt even offer an active.

 

Glover, Materazo, Strong, Lynch are all still active and big parts of the team.

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2 hours ago, Advantage said:

@Renomitsu About my expansion selected core and selecting high TPE players...there seems to be little consideration to else was available in those cases and I mostly just flat out disagree.

 

In the case of Toronto...Carison was selected over literally no one and he retired and wasnt inactive.

 

In the case of Seattle...it was Kovalev or Thunderfist who was actually inactive.  Kovalev technically is still around too.

 

Kai was actually the low TPE pick cause it was him or older regressing guys who are more inactive.

 

Helsinki didnt even offer an active.

 

Glover, Materazo, Strong, Lynch are all still active and big parts of the team.

Right! This isn't an expansion draft evaluation, it's a 'what TPE lines and active players are currently available to put on lines relative to other teams, and where will they likely finish this season?'

 

It's meant to evaluate and rank how well each team will likely do this season, more like power rankings. It's not a GM judgment, and you know I'd never willingly insult you.

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7 minutes ago, Renomitsu said:

Right! This isn't an expansion draft evaluation, it's a 'what TPE lines and active players are currently available to put on lines relative to other teams, and where will they likely finish this season?'

 

It's meant to evaluate and rank how well each team will likely do this season, more like power rankings. It's not a GM judgment, and you know I'd never willingly insult you.

It also makes literally no sense that you have people like Eagles as risers and not Johnson.  It all just seems very arbitrary (same with Materazo getting mentions but not someone with 100 tpe more from same draft).  Same with Van Lagen over 3rd overall Marleau.  Just seems weird to me.

 

It's well written otherwise obviously..I just question the evaluation and you made it sound like Malmo is in their place due to poor expansion selections.  Specifically this quote: "After a hot start to last season, they were eliminated from the playoffs with around 10 games left, and part of it had to do with their selected expansion core. The Nighthawks chose high TPE players, many of which unfortunately ended up going inactive"

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33 minutes ago, Renomitsu said:

Right! This isn't an expansion draft evaluation, it's a 'what TPE lines and active players are currently available to put on lines relative to other teams, and where will they likely finish this season?'

 

It's meant to evaluate and rank how well each team will likely do this season, more like power rankings. It's not a GM judgment, and you know I'd never willingly insult you.

speak for yourself. @Advantage you and Malmo suck

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1 hour ago, Advantage said:

It also makes literally no sense that you have people like Eagles as risers and not Johnson.  It all just seems very arbitrary (same with Materazo getting mentions but not someone with 100 tpe more from same draft).  Same with Van Lagen over 3rd overall Marleau.  Just seems weird to me.

 

It's well written otherwise obviously..I just question the evaluation and you made it sound like Malmo is in their place due to poor expansion selections.  Specifically this quote: "After a hot start to last season, they were eliminated from the playoffs with around 10 games left, and part of it had to do with their selected expansion core. The Nighthawks chose high TPE players, many of which unfortunately ended up going inactive"

 

With regard to the expansion selection bit, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. The way I've written it is objectively true, and I did not make a judgmental statement on your decision-making method. Were I to suggest that was the case, I'd probably have appended "...when other, more promising options were available." Nobody in this league would argue that the selection pools are favorable for expansion GMs, and I've even written a 2,500+ word article to that point (albeit for the VHLM). To be clear, I am on your side in this. Players go inactive. I've gotten flak from a LOT of people for saying Seattle's S66 draft grade wasn't great because Mars went inactive, regardless of whether it was actually true or not (it was).

 

Did I, at any point, even suggest Bana was a bad GM for making a selection on a home-run, no-brainer, long-time active pick that unfortunately went inactive? No. Like this current article, I took currently-available data and analyzed it without regard to membership. Mars went inactive, and so the pick wasn't ideal. This is the same case. Players go inactive, and it's impossible to predict who will.  You work off of the best logical explanation for your picks, and that's obvious from the transaction rationales you post; I really appreciate your perspective on them and will continue to read your media spots on those topics because they're compelling. I have said as much for some of your other transaction/draft articles.

 

As an aside, even if I were to believe the expansion draft line to be a slight against your management abilities, I'd assume the much larger portion of Malmo's entry is a better-represented example of your acumen.

 

As far as the 'risers' section, that is a mistake with my process and I'm sorry if it had a negative impact on your team. I did the Risers selections early on July 4th and unsafely + unwisely assumed that players would apply their TPE because it'd been a handful of days since they were moved up to the majors (I think they were moved up a few days before the draft). I only looked at player pages for the last entry and recorded the date; I instead prioritizing TPA from the team page for quik data entry (and easier interpretation of regression). That's why Marleau wasn't listed as a riser (had 200 TPA when I did my rating, but much better TPE), and while I am not certain, I would assume that was also the case for Johnson vs. Eagles.

 

Can we blame this on biased, opinionated writing? On working too many hours a week? On trying to fit too much into (technically two) articles? Possibly, maybe, and yes. This isn't my cleanest work, as you've clearly pointed out and I have now given an explanation for.

 

But I want to be clear that my intention was not malicious, and I apologize again if this caused a stir in your team.

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2 minutes ago, Renomitsu said:

 

With regard to the expansion selection bit, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. The way I've written it is objectively true, and I did not make a judgmental statement on your decision-making method. Were I to suggest that was the case, I'd probably have appended "...when other, more promising options were available." Nobody in this league would argue that the selection pools are favorable for expansion GMs, and I've even written a 2,500+ word article to that point (albeit for the VHLM). To be clear, I am on your side in this. Players go inactive. I've gotten flak from a LOT of people for saying Seattle's S66 draft grade wasn't great because Mars went inactive, regardless of whether it was actually true or not (it was).

 

Did I, at any point, even suggest Bana was a bad GM for making a selection on a home-run, no-brainer, long-time active pick that unfortunately went inactive? No. Like this current article, I took currently-available data and analyzed it without regard to membership. Mars went inactive, and so the pick wasn't ideal. This is the same case. Players go inactive, and it's impossible to predict who will.  You work off of the best logical explanation for your picks, and that's obvious from the transaction rationales you post; I really appreciate your perspective on them and will continue to read your media spots on those topics because they're compelling. I have said as much for some of your other transaction/draft articles.

 

As an aside, even if I were to believe the expansion draft line to be a slight against your management abilities, I'd assume the much larger portion of Malmo's entry is a better-represented example of your acumen.

 

As far as the 'risers' section, that is a mistake with my process and I'm sorry if it had a negative impact on your team. I did the Risers selections early on July 4th and unsafely + unwisely assumed that players would apply their TPE because it'd been a handful of days since they were moved up to the majors (I think they were moved up a few days before the draft). I only looked at player pages for the last entry and recorded the date; I instead prioritizing TPA from the team page for quik data entry (and easier interpretation of regression). That's why Marleau wasn't listed as a riser (had 200 TPA when I did my rating, but much better TPE), and while I am not certain, I would assume that was also the case for Johnson vs. Eagles.

 

Can we blame this on biased, opinionated writing? On working too many hours a week? On trying to fit too much into (technically two) articles? Possibly, maybe, and yes. This isn't my cleanest work, as you've clearly pointed out and I have now given an explanation for.

 

But I want to be clear that my intention was not malicious, and I apologize again if this caused a stir in your team.

All good, I just felt like taking out my angst.

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2 hours ago, Renomitsu said:

 

With regard to the expansion selection bit, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. The way I've written it is objectively true, and I did not make a judgmental statement on your decision-making method. Were I to suggest that was the case, I'd probably have appended "...when other, more promising options were available." Nobody in this league would argue that the selection pools are favorable for expansion GMs, and I've even written a 2,500+ word article to that point (albeit for the VHLM). To be clear, I am on your side in this. Players go inactive. I've gotten flak from a LOT of people for saying Seattle's S66 draft grade wasn't great because Mars went inactive, regardless of whether it was actually true or not (it was).

 

Did I, at any point, even suggest Bana was a bad GM for making a selection on a home-run, no-brainer, long-time active pick that unfortunately went inactive? No. Like this current article, I took currently-available data and analyzed it without regard to membership. Mars went inactive, and so the pick wasn't ideal. This is the same case. Players go inactive, and it's impossible to predict who will.  You work off of the best logical explanation for your picks, and that's obvious from the transaction rationales you post; I really appreciate your perspective on them and will continue to read your media spots on those topics because they're compelling. I have said as much for some of your other transaction/draft articles.

 

As an aside, even if I were to believe the expansion draft line to be a slight against your management abilities, I'd assume the much larger portion of Malmo's entry is a better-represented example of your acumen.

 

As far as the 'risers' section, that is a mistake with my process and I'm sorry if it had a negative impact on your team. I did the Risers selections early on July 4th and unsafely + unwisely assumed that players would apply their TPE because it'd been a handful of days since they were moved up to the majors (I think they were moved up a few days before the draft). I only looked at player pages for the last entry and recorded the date; I instead prioritizing TPA from the team page for quik data entry (and easier interpretation of regression). That's why Marleau wasn't listed as a riser (had 200 TPA when I did my rating, but much better TPE), and while I am not certain, I would assume that was also the case for Johnson vs. Eagles.

 

Can we blame this on biased, opinionated writing? On working too many hours a week? On trying to fit too much into (technically two) articles? Possibly, maybe, and yes. This isn't my cleanest work, as you've clearly pointed out and I have now given an explanation for.

 

But I want to be clear that my intention was not malicious, and I apologize again if this caused a stir in your team.

@Devise he puts you to shame with his paragraphs

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Just now, Devise said:

 

I know, I'm retired gotta let the new blood do it.

 

I was disappointed a paragraph wasn't typed in response.

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  • DollarAndADream changed the title to Off-Season Run-Down I - The Bottom Five [1/2]
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