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My First Season as a GM


thadthrasher
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Season Overview:

The first season of my GM-ing career has come to a completion. At the time of me writing this sentence I have been the General Manager of San Diego for 45 days, or 3,857,904 seconds. When @InstantRockstar stepped down after 10 seasons as the GM I never really expected to be hired. At that point I was really focused on making Thadius Sales a better goalie and I was just looking forward to his rookie season in the VHL (which didn't bode that well). However, I went out on a limb and applied and was surprised to be messaged by DA and Acyd regarding the job. I was pumped and ready to go, but I also knew I'd have to earn my pay.

 

When I gained ownership of San Diego I was a bit surprised at the condition that it was in. I took over only a few days before the draft and I had done 0 scouting. Luckily for me I only had 1 pick...in the 7th round. It was pretty rough watching my fellow GMs pick great players right before my eyes, knowing that I had no chance to really get them. I think watching the draft was the moment I realized just how rough the road ahead was going to be. It was understandable though. When @InstantRockstar decided that S75 was going to be his last he went "all-in" for a chance at the cup, which I think almost every other GM would have done as well. What this meant was that SDM's draft picks were depleted and the team was stacked with players who were going to graduate to the VHL at the end of the season. In a way, it was like IR left me a blank slate to play with (slightly), which ended up helping me grow.

 

At the completion of the draft I was left with a partial locker room, but one that had a really good core of players that I knew I would lost at the end of the season. I began going through almost every non-drafted and Free Agent player I could, reaching out to see if anyone had interest. I was able to secure some really solid players off of those requests, even getting a few players to be active again after leaving for some time. I began reaching out to friends and even family members, hoping to have a few that would be interested in this league. My goal at the time wasn't dominance, but to show that we could do it, that we could win. I was able to fill our roster up pretty well, but pretty much all season it was a struggle to keep people active. It seemed like everyone had personal things going on, work related issues, and a few members were even moving during the season. Life wasn't stopping for the players of San Diego.

 

Not very long into the season we were looking like a fairly solid team. We were tied for points with quite a few teams, and it was looking like as the season would go along we would have a chance at potentially clinching a playoff spot. It even caught the eye of @fromtheinside who placed us at #8 in his first power ranking for S76, which had us ahead of Miami, Mississauga, Saskatoon, and Ottawa. Seeing this was pretty heartwarming, and it made our locker room feel good. We came in as the underdogs, and people were noticing that we were putting in the work. However, the end of FTI's summary of SDM proved to be true, "The Marlins may opt to sell their big guns at the trade deadline." At the time of his writing I didn't know what I was going to do, but it quickly became a reality.

 

Riding the high of FTI's Power Ranking post, we were all looking forward to more wins, but we were struggling. It was early in the season, but I had this gut feeling that I needed to do something. Either trade future picks for current players and have a SLIM CHANCE at a playoff run, or do exactly what FTI said. I thought about it for days and days as I continued to reach out to waiver players and new creates. The idea was in my head as I tried to keep players motivated, reaching out to inactive players daily and trying to keep them going. It came to the point where something big needed to happen. I made the decision, I was going to set up San Diego for future success. At this point the cascade of trades began. Overall, here is what SDM gained and also traded away.
 

Gained:
S77 MIA 3rd
S77 MIA 6th
S78 MIA 2nd
Aldwin Craig @Eldredman
S77 MEX 5th
S77 HFX 4th
S77 HFX 2nd
S78 MIN 4th
S77 YUK 2nd
S77 MIN 1st
Steve Inactivo @Retuperkele
Nathan Askarov @NathanM2983
Tim Johnson @djpeterson

 

Gave:

S76 YUK 2nd
S76 SDM 3rd
Jon Strider @Strider
Kaladin Kvothe @DangerGolding
Yuuto Kira Cloudera @kentakira

Nikolas DAndrea @Nikdandrea34
Vincent Correll @correllvincent
Theodore James St Louis @Nick Kirkpatrick

 

As these trades began to happen, and picked up in momentum and impact, players on our team who were sticking around noticed. They understood what the rest of the season was going to look like, and FTI picked up on that in his second power ranking for the season. In his article, FTI said, "Thad did the smart thing and beat everyone to the market and sold his high valued assets for future draft picks. This season will be a wash, and although it won't be a bright spot on his career resume, going forward this season could be looked at as a noble and necessary sacrifice." Those players who remained stayed consistent in their earning, and they even seemed to understand what needed to happen. To my surprise, even as we were holding strong at the bottom of the conference and the league overall, players still wanted to come to SDM. We never stopped trying to recruit new players and help them along, making sure they understood where we were at. What this meant was that the end of the season would look a bit bizarre. Now, as the top teams continue to compete for the cup, SDM has only 1 remaining player on the roster who was not a waiver player, Aldwin Craig @Eldredman

 

Some Final Thoughts:

When the post-season wraps up and we move into the draft we will be able to gain a solid core of players to build off of for hopefully a few seasons. While this season was sacrificial, tough, and at times morally depleting, the future looks bright for SDM. It's hard not to envy GMs who take control of a team that is set up for success, but I feel as though this season really gave me a good handle at seeing the future of a team while also keeping in mind the present. I feel better equipped for future success. This season will certainly be a sting for the seasons to come, but my hope is to be able to use this season as a jumping point. When a future team comes along and lifts the cup I want to look back at this season and say "the pain we felt then is exactly why we can lift the cup today."

 

Ultimately though, lifting the cup isn't my biggest goal. My hope as a GM from the beginning to now is that I can help new players learn about our league and fall in love with it as I have. I want to watch players start their career in SDM and excel rapidly and find success for their player. I want players to come through SDM and want to stick around after moving on. I want players to know that I am there for them, and that they can come to me for anything. That's my goal as a GM. If doing that means never winning a cup, so be it. The mark of my success down the road won't be how many cups I've had, how many HoF players got their start in SDM, but how many players came in under my tenure, stuck around, and added to this great community making it grow in size and impact. Would it be amazing to win cups, absolutely! But, I will never put a cup before my players, for they are the reason I wanted to be a GM, not a cup.

 

I've learned already how important this role really is. I've learned how time consuming it can be if you are active and trying to be a present GM. I've learned that open communication with players is important, and that everyone on your team is of value even if they don't see it.

 

So, here's to my first season as a GM! I look forward to many more seasons, and I wish the best of luck to my fellow GMs and the players of the VHLM and the VHL!

 

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1511 words, claiming for weeks ending Feb 28, March 7, March 14

 

 

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