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GustavMattias

Podrick Cast HoF Article

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Podrick Cast - Class of S69

 

Position: C

Birthplace: Berkshire, United Kingdom

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 186 lb.

Drafted: S61 3rd Overall, Riga Reign

Username: @Victor

 

 

Asking most VHL members about the best player of the S60s will very likely turn up the same answer, and it isn't Cast. The two-way play of Matt Thompson made him a perennial favorite in fantasy leagues, leaving the subject of this article, at times, "Cast" out of the limelight. It would be a stretch to say that, beyond fantasy love, Thompson was all that far ahead, though--Cast ranks above him on the all-time points list and ended up with a list of awards which would make most other players jealous. A pure scorer who only once broke 100 hits, his agent once said that he had no regrets in this regard, and justifiably so. Cast did what he did better than anyone else in the decade, and for that reason he was easily admitted to the Hall of Fame in his first season of eligibility, making him Victor's fifth player in a row to be inducted.

 

 

Career Awards

S61 - Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy (Top Rookie)

S62 - Mike Szatkowski Trophy (Most Points)

S62 - Kevin Brooks Trophy (Most Goals)

S62 - Scotty Campbell Trophy (Most Valuable Player)

S62 - Brett Slobodzian Trophy (Most Outstanding Player)

S63 - Continental Cup

S64 - Scotty Campbell Trophy (Most Valuable Player)

 

 

VHLM Career (S60)

72 GP | 38G - 38A - 76P | +14 | 12 HIT | 20 SB

Playoffs: 6 GP | 2G - 1A - 3P | +1 | 1 HIT | 2 SB

Though Cast's VHLM career wasn't exactly one for the ages, he was a valuable contributor for the then-Oslo Storm. His scoring balance showed a flash of what was to come--putting up just as many goals as assists, Cast was able to establish himself as the player to look for, the one to put the puck in the net and the one to make the plays that mattered. This statline, combined with his agent's reputation as a master builder and all-time great earner, was enough to propel him to third overall in S61, behind Thompson and Samuel Gate.

 

S61 (RIG)

72 GP | 49G - 48A - 97P | +14 | 88 HIT | 28 SB

Being on a non-playoff team, Cast was immediately thrust into a significant role, and he did not disappoint, fully living up to early-first-round expectations with 97 points. Once again showing his flair as a pure scorer, he put up more goals than assists and sat on top of the rookie pile with a point total impressive for a player at any stage of their career, playing far ahead of the 56-point Thompson and earning the Stolzschweiger to cap it all off.

 

S62 (RIG)

72 GP | 79G - 95A - 174P | +81 | 121 HIT | 46 SB

Playoffs: 3 GP | 2G - 3A - 5P | +4 | 5 HIT | 2 SB

...and then S62 happened. In a season that saw point inflation in general across the league, Cast rose to the top and managed to lead the league in points in his second season. By far his best, his point total in S62 was only ever beaten once by Scotty Campbell (who, mind you, played in an era of generally higher point totals), a figure which inspires awe for any member who knows their league history. Adding a +81 rating to his over-a-goal-per-game point total, Cast was an incredible force for the good of Riga whenever he stepped onto the ice, and to say that his four individual awards (Szatkowski, Brooks, Slobodzian, and Campbell) were all very well-earned would be an understatement

 

S63 (RIG)

72 GP | 50G - 56A - 106P | +53 | 79 HIT | 32 SB

Playoffs: 11 GP | 3G - 6A - 9P | -4 | 9 HIT | 2 SB

S63, widely considered the first strong first-gen class of the modern era, saw the league begin to fill up, and the point totals and widespread inflation of S62 was generally reigned in. With that fell Cast's numbers, but there's no way to logically claim that he didn't still play at a dominant level. Already sitting among the league's elite in his third season, Cast broke 100 points and hit 50 goals and became a major part of a Riga team which would go on to win that season's Continental Cup.

 

S64 (RIG)

72 GP | 48G - 54A - 102P | +38 | 68 HIT | 16 SB

Playoffs: 7 GP | 1G - 8A - 9P | -1 | 5 HIT | 4 SB

Once again breaking 100 points, Cast's S64 season was brilliant. Though not leading the league in goals, assists, or points, or winning any other awards, he was awarded the Scotty Campbell Trophy at the end of the season for his second MVP win. Still putting up goal numbers just short of his assists, Cast was still the man to look for when Riga wanted the puck in the back of the net. Though Cast's streak of 100-point seasons would come to an end in S65, his strong play would, obviously, continue.

 

S65 (RIG)

72 GP | 41G - 54A - 95P | +34 | 21 HIT | 23 SB

Playoffs: 5 GP | 0G - 4A - 4P | -1 | 2 HIT | 2 SB

The S63 class rising to prominence, the league continuing to fill up in S64--whatever you want to call it, Cast's continued slight decline in production could be readily explained away. Who cares? He continued to play at an elite level. The fact that, in his fifth season, 95 points represented a career low should be a testament to his great success. With a career low in goals, too, and a more typical goals-assists split, S65 was the first season where Cast may not have appeared as a freak of nature, a sentiment punctuated by a lack of individual hardware. There is still no denying that his play was stellar, and in an ever-lower-scoring era, lowering point totals left him not the slightest bit out of the league's elite.

 

S66 (RIG)

72 GP | 33G - 47A - 80P | +39 | 65 HIT | 22 SB

Playoffs: 4 GP | 2G - 1A - 3A | -1 | 1 HIT | 4 SB

...and then S66 happened! Quite the opposite of S62, S66 was a season that flipped the league on its head. With a stellar draft class that had active players selected through and even after the fifth round, recruitment was popping, and even with the addition of Malmo, rosters were relatively full and points became more spread-out. This was, unsurprisingly, Cast's career-low season, in which he put up a career-low (career-low!) 80 points, over a point per game. His +/- rating of +39 was the greatest indicator of Cast's true value to his team, on par with his earlier seasons and showing the statheads that even among a somewhat off season, he was up there with the best.

 

S67 (MOS)

72 GP | 46G - 58A - 104P | +19 | 19 HIT | 16 SB

Playoffs: 5 GP | 0G - 2A - 2P | -1 | 2 HIT | 3 SB

S67 saw yet another expansion, with two teams being added in Prague and DC. It also saw Cast being traded to his agent's team, Cast breaking 100 points for the fourth and last time in his career, and Cast leading Moscow, a team in its third season of existence, to the playoffs. Though one might argue that a move to a new environment, combined with rosters opening up somewhat with an expansion, might have been responsible for Cast's rebound here, breaking 100 points was, by this time, a significant achievement for any player anywhere, and there's no doubt that a reasonable amount of success on Moscow's end was largely due to his presence.

 

S68 (MOS)

72 GP | 33G - 55A - 88P | +11 | 26 HIT | 39 SB

S68 was Cast's farewell tour, anchoring a Moscow team which didn't make the playoffs but was very much a sign of things to come--lesser-known elite Randoms, who would go on to play a major part in the team's historic S70 run and cup win, was spending his second season as Cast's teammate, while franchise goaltender Raymond Bernard had just been selected at the end of the first round. With more S66-like numbers, Cast still managed to put up an elite point total, managing to retire after three seasons of depreciation with over 1100 TPA and a career for the ages.

 

Career Totals

576 GP | 379G - 467A - 846P | +289 | 487 HIT | 222 SB

Playoffs: 35 GP | 8G - 24A - 32P | -4 | 24 HIT | 17 SB

 

 

Podrick Cast ended his career at 15th on the all-time points list, with a point total not exceeded since Franchise Cornerstone's retirement eight seasons earlier. The casual, late-S60s-first-gen-wave member never quite knew Cast as dominant as he was early on in the decade, but those who do remember can still look back on his quick rise to the top and best-player-in-the-league domination during that time and shake their heads in amazement. Cast likely lost out to Thompson in terms of being the most recognizable name of the decade, but the fact that both of those players are worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence--and in the same induction--is a testament to the domination of both. Cast was built purely to score, and score he absolutely did, en route to a career among the greatest of all time.

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