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Behind the mind: Saskatoon's S69 Dispersal Draft [2/2]


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So I actually begun taking notes far before the draft, thinking I could write a huge article about my thought process before, during and after the draft had taken place. I figured 'Hey, this'll be a large article, might be sufficient enough to carry Peace to retirement.' since I was already thinking about retirement as early as the playoffs last season. Obviously - recently - I have announced that my player will retire at the deadline. With any luck I can stretch this across 2, 000 words to claim for the next month, and accommodate it with some store purchased to maximize the amount of TPE I can get from it. 


Let's start off just before the draft. 

It's October 28th and the annual 'who the fuck will be here for the draft' page goes up in the nether regions where us groggy and disgusting VHLM GMs slide away too so we can call each other names and make fun of one another's teams in moderate peace. Well this is a good place to start, and at first the conversation was kinda nice - but the dates being supplied weren't really in my favor, as I was mostly unavailable during the times everyone wanted to do the draft. There's more deets, but it's private, bruh.

I still wasn't entirely available - but I made it happen... mostly. 

Anyway, fast forward a few days and the lottery happens. Saskatoon's organic pick won, which means the Wild secured picks one and two. I knew from then on that I had to get pick number three in order to draft the trio of players I wanted, and I knew eventually I'd have to start negotiations in order to collect that pick. I had another problem that took priority though, I had four first round picks with a now roughly established date and time for the draft. The VHLM rules dictate that you can only begin a draft with three first and three second round picks as a maximum, so I had to move one of the picks before the draft started. 

November 3rd comes around and Houston and I strike a deal. Minnesota's first round pick, a second rounder a few seasons removed, and a third rounder next season for Jesse Nyman ( @Jesse Nyman ) and Dagmar Havlova ( @diamond_ace ). Havlova at the time was at I believe 96 TPE, but now she's at 171 and has instantly become Saskatoon's first line center. I felt successful with this trade, honestly, as it solves a huge issue I had - I absolutely needed to get rid of a first round pick and introduced some strong assets into the roster for a deep playoff push I am confident will happen. 

So around this time I'm also checking my list, sending messages out, and asking players I'm interested in if they'd like to either play for Saskatoon or return to Saskatoon. We had just completed the deal when my initial 'Hey... wanna come back?' message goes out over the Discord we use for Wild players. I mean if you really pay attention to my drafting history, I've always favored the returning player, as I'd like to believe I'm capable of creating a bond with people. Most of the time they say 'Yeah!' and I draft them. The list goes on, I barely draft from another VHLM team in the dispersal - maybe that'll be an article for another time. 

As those messages are floating around as an unread mentions on Discord, I also pull the trigger with another team. Remember when I said I knew I needed to get the third round pick? Well, after trading up from the fifth overall pick to Philadelphia's third overall pick I had accomplished my goals. I now owned all three picks I really wanted, and would be selecting three times in a row for the first time in a long time in VHLM history. I'll be honest, I only looked a few seasons before getting bored, so I don't have a stat there. I felt the price was right, and while we gave up a what would have been a valuable third round pick, we have to remember that the SBA drama resulted in a lot of players in the dispersal draft retiring. I'm certain it had a similar effect for the VHL entry draft as well. 

Feeling accomplished and ready to go, with the first three picks already practically set, I knew the direction my team would be taking was positive. I was going to select RJ Jubis first, OQuinn second and Encarnacion third. Obviously I knew at the time that I'd need a goaltender, but on November 3rd I wasn't thinking about filling that hole, as I was hoping to trade for a goalie during the draft. You know - a team drafts the goalie and I trade for them shortly after the trade was complete. You see this occasionally. 

In fact... Mexico picked an active goalie to supplement an already active goalie during the draft. I predicted this was going to happen, because an active goaltender was in hot demand and actually makes the difference. An asset is valuable to a team, even if they're drafted just for trading. Now obviously I can't say that's what Mexico is doing, but that's what I anticipated them doing before they even made the pick. 


Down the road a little bit I start receiving emails from projected first round players in the VHLM draft, and when I say projected, I mean guaranteed after the large group of SBA guys retired and returned to their forum. While I would have loved to add some of these guys, I already knew who I was picking - and I stuck to my guns in the draft, even though the players who I ended up picking changed between November 3rd and the 10th. Now let me go into something else... 

The whole reason I traded for third overall... was to ensure I had the players I wanted. 

Originally I had first overall, second overall and fifth overall

I was going to draft Jubis, OQuinn and Lafontaine at #1, #2 and #5 originally. 

Then it changed. 

Then it changed again. 

And again. 

Then I traded for 3rd overall so - as I've said - I could draft Jubis, OQuinn and Encarnacion. 

By now the draft is set, the date is closing in and it's been publicly announced. 

Then a trade happens. Mississauga moves up to fifth overall at roughly the same time (or maybe a few days early, actually) RJ Jubis begins to toy with the idea of playing in the VHL depending on who drafts him. He revealed that Bushito had some serious interest, and was one of the few GMs to actually contact him, and Jubis ended up going fifth overall in the first round of the entry draft. I've said it many times, but congrats Jubis, the hard work you've put into maximizing your player's TPE earning lately paid off. 

That changed the whole dynamic of the draft. 

I starting thinking to myself 'Oh damn, I didn't need to trade for third after all." but in reality it was also a blessing in disguise. I understood that drafting RJ Jubis would mean Saskatoon gets a top notch player for the season, but I also knew that drafting Jubis ran a year of his career clock and it's been baked into me as a GM of the VHLM since S63 to encourage and support growth and promotion. I was happy when he said he wanted to play in the VHL opposed to the VHLM after Calgary drafted him. I hope he does good, and I hope he wins the top rookie award. 

But when RJ Jubis announced that he was heading to the VHL after Calgary drafted him - I knew who my players were. 

No seconds thoughts. 

No second opinions. 

Both myself and my AGM were foaming at the mouth for this opportunity. 

We were drafting the guys I wanted originally, just at different spots... and minus Jubis, of course. 

OQuinn went first overall with our... first overall pick; Encarnacion followed shortly after; and finally Lafontaine behind him. 

Now I'll be honest, I tossed and turned for days about who to select. OQuinn or Encarnacion, and it was a mental battle that I dedicated (probably) way to much time into figuring out. I know OQuinn will be stellar, but at the time his build was arguably weaker as a defender. Meanwhile... well it's Tagger. You know he'll be a staple for any team, and I wanted to bring them all back. Well above I said it was a blessing in disguise, and it truly was. With Jubis playing in the VHL this season, I was able to get the guys I wanted. 

There's a debate to be had. If I had stayed at 5th, would I have landed Lafontaine there? Could I have traded down from 5 to a lesser pick and still land Lafontaine? 

I honestly don't know, and it was safer to just take him at three than attempting to trade down from three to four or even reversing the trade between SSK and PHI. I knew Matt (Ace's GM) would probably take a forward, but I knew Mississauga needed a goaltender if they were going to compete this season as well. There is nothing - absolutely nothing - against Spyro, if Lafontaine had been selected, he's who I would have picked in replacement. However... it's SlapshotDragon. The guy literally has the Wild logo as his profile picture, and has had it since Crimson played for the Wild in S61. 

Lafontaine had to come back to Saskatoon.

I'm sorry, Lathinen, but you weren't a viable pick for Saskatoon. We have Havlova on the roster, and we had strong positional needs. Obviously we went with two great defenders and a good goalie, but in my eyes the silver platter was presented so finely we had to pass up on you. Drafting those three players at the positions we drafted them secured Saskatoon's back end for the upcoming season. Now I know I can't play OQuinn or Encarnacion 60 minutes a night.... but god damn it, they'll play thirty and like it. 

Into the second round I knew who I wanted. Laflamme. 

I even traded up to ensure I could get him in the second round somewhere. Yep, that's right, I traded with Philadelphia again to move up from 16th overall to 14th overall. 

I ended up taking who I wanted at 13th: Damien Wolfe ( @Laflamme  ). 

I sent a message to Laflamme earlier in the morning on draft day and was super excited I got a response from him probably an hour or so later, although it was probably sooner but that's when I read it anyway. When he fell to me at 13th I grabbed him in a heart beat, and because I had moved up to 14th as well, I was also able to get the second player I wanted - Gary Tarantino ( @Garrett ). I never wound up sending a message to Garret, and while I felt bad, I was still super happy to get both players I wanted in the second round

Now Josh was doing portal things during the draft at a family event, I can respect that, because I was also at a family event but prioritized this draft over the celebration I was at. Not the greatest thing to do, but it was kinda relaxed anyway, and I absolutely understand the portal is far more difficult and time consuming - so I just wanted to express my thanks more officially for his dedication to the VHLM during the draft. He had warned us he wouldn't be around, but came through like a champ when we needed him the most. If it weren't for Josh correcting the middle rounds error, I'm not sure the draft would have finished when it did. May have been a few more hours as D_A figured out a way to do it. 

Anyway, that's about it.  

Now I want to dedicate this part of my post to @Elmebeck

You are stellar, man, absolutely stellar. 

I know for the majority of draft prep, scouting, trade talks and stuff like that were you mostly unavailable due to what sounds like a pretty big move. I respect that, and I hope I gave you enough time to wind down during your move - but I gotta say, throughout the season you've been an absolute beast. Although you didn't play much into the draft day preparations, you came up big when deciding our draft strategy. I value your input, and your opinion, and it constantly changed who our targeted players were. 

You'll be taking over for Saskatoon as an interim when I leave, so know that I will fully support your immediate move up to GM of Saskatoon when I leave. You deserve your own team, you've grown a lot, and lines no longer confuse you so much. You're ready. 

You'll do good things in Saskatoon. 

Better than me I'd reckon. 

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Review: Great article! This provided a lot of insight on how the league's GM's do their thing, and that's something that was fun to read for me. I like how it wasn't just on draft day, it was your thought process from since October 28th. No denying Saskatoon will be great this year, good luck to you guys!

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  • DollarAndADream changed the title to Behind the mind: Saskatoon's S69 Dispersal Draft [1/2]

Review: love the in-depth the insight into your thought process as a GM. the struggle you faced is expected as your decisions would have deep effects on your team for seasons to come. def can relate as a GM in another league. i def appreciate your honesty re: player evaluation - that openness is rare at least publicly with GMs. only minor note would be adding some graphics as it could have spiced up the media spot and drawn the reader in more. looking forward to your next piece!

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  • DollarAndADream changed the title to Behind the mind: Saskatoon's S69 Dispersal Draft [2/2]

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