Dynasty Hockey League

DSN’s The Round Table Ep. 1

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Dynasty Sports Network’s Round Table, a weekly foray into the current events happening in the Dynasty Hockey League.  Round Table will release new content every Thursday evening and will be comprise of the most interesting topics from the previous seven days. The content will be fresh and uncensored, however, respectful and objective analysis will be the goal. The show will be moderated by me, Winston Stacey and feature a panel of current and former DHL personalities and general managers. No topic will be out of bounds and no GM will be refused to make an appearance. If you want to be a part of the show feel free to PM me. If you have a specific topic you wish to have us cover you can also send that information to my inbox.

Now onto the show.

In the world of hockey skill is one of the main pillars of a long and prosperous career. But, what happens when high-end skill becomes less unique? Or dare I say normal? The fact is there hasn’t been a better time to watch professional hockey. The cap system is forcing teams to build from within which places emphasis on scouting and player development. In reality, we are seeing an abundance of skill on all four lines because more players are taking their development seriously. Do you think there were summer hockey camps in the Beliveau era, or even in the mid-to-late eighties? The truth is hockey has become something the average student of the game can excel at if they commit to training, coaching and improving on a daily basis. So, elite talent is becoming less common than in past, which is saying something. As a result, it now means that a player that exudes natural talent, athleticism, hockey IQ and work ethic are considered a “generational talent.” With that title comes a bevy of responsibilities, both by the player, and their prospective teams. Year 19 in the DHL is going to be an exciting one solely because of the draft and the generational talent therein.

Sometimes a generational talent can be the deciding factor in a team’s rebuild, or even survival in a dying market. In the DHL Connor McDavid is going to be a, and I hate to use the cliché, a shot in the arm for a very desperate team.

Today on Round Table we’re going to be giving our thumbs to Tampa’s surprising ascent to the top of the Eastern Conference, GM Alex Mathieu’s attempts at moving Bobrovsky, GM Saif’s circumvention of the rules, Ovechkin and Crosby, and the current trade market.

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GM Mears has always been a colorful figure in the DHL, sometimes to a fault. But, there’s no doubting that he can build a solid team when he turns on his Manager’s Cap. However, I don’t think any of us thought that we’d see the Lightning atop the Eastern Conference and tied for overall lead in the league. Can Tampa keep this up, is this a fluke, or is Mears a potential genius for his two year plan?

Stacey:  I give my thumbs up to Mears and the Lightning for going the opposite direction of many GM’s in the crazed race for McDavid. It seems to me that Mears has realized that the depth of the draft and the split draft system will work in his favor in season 21. So why not compete this year, gain revenue, and use the buyer’s trade market to his advantage while he doesn’t have his YR 20 first. He’s conceding McDavid, but who knows he may end up with Eichel.

Chris: Sure Mears might be a genius but that isn’t why his team is doing well. The wife beater in net is the reason his team is off to a hot start, that and he’s beaten some weak opponents. He’s among the top echelon of GM’s, anyone who has been in the sim game with him this long knows he’s better than most so while i think the Bolts will cool off as the season goes on, the team will be better in coming seasons. So yeah, i guess if we are giving out premature ejaculations, he’d be a candidate.

Nick: Thumbs up here for sure. I liked Mike’s strategy for this season. When he took over Tampa this off season, Mears was left with no Y20 1st, and a team that left a lot to be desired. There is no upside to losing if you don’t have a 1st round pick. So, Mears hit UFA hard and picked up some good talent. Over the opening few games those UFA pickups have really been paying off. Marleau, Alfredsson, and Zidlicky have all had excellent starts to the season. It is looking like Mike spent his cash wisely. That being said, I still think this team is playing over its head. Tampa Bay currently has a PDO of 1041. No team in the DHL has ever sustained a PDO that high for a full season. I see Tampa as more of a 6-8 seed in the East once Varlamov save percentage drops down to the .92-.93 level where we see most top goalies preform in the DHL.

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GM Mathieu has come back to the DHL in a bittersweet way. After winning the DHL cup with the Edmonton Oilers he returns with the powerhouse Maple Leafs. He’s admitted his vanity by trying to make the team his own creation, calling into question his skill and hockey management IQ as a result. San Jose’s GM John Lu is said to have called his management misguided and “lacking foresight” and the Ranger’s GM publically lambasted him on his Kyle Okposo trade as well. Now, the once rumours are confirmed that Mathieu is trying everything in his power to move out a stud franchise goaltender following a rough season solely to help his chances of tanking. Has Mathieu lost a step, or is moving Bobrovsky the right move?

Stacey: I give my thumbs down to Alex Mathieu. He’s already moved the entire core group of the leafs over one calendar year. One can say the Leafs can actually hold true to their moniker the Make Me Laughs. I understand why he thinks he needs to move Bobrovsky out, the goalie is good enough to steal games, in fact, he could steal enough games to truly hurt his chances at McDavid. But if the market is going to yield a less than appropriate return you need to hold onto the asset until the market strengthens. The truth is he won’t get proper return right now. If he moves him, there’s no way it’s for the best interest of the club.

Chris: He gutted the team but when looking back at the history of the Leafs, what exactly has he torn down? The team had lots of regular season success but beyond that has as many cups as Ben’s mother, none. Truth is Alex and the DHL is better off when he is engaged in the league and whatever your opinion on his scorched earth, he’ll be able to bring them back to contention so i wouldn’t worry about the Leafs. The lotto is too volatile to try and manipulate, I’ve been doing it long enough to know that finishing last is in no way a guarantee of anything but heartache. As for Bobo, the goalie market is officially dead so he should keep him.

Nick:  Alex gets a thumbs down from me as well. As a GM that just dragged his team out of a rebuild I can’t understand why Alex was in such a panic to tear down this team. Somewhere out there Sergio is crying a bit. What is the opposite of a Trademasta? I didn’t like the return that came back for players like Simmonds, Wisniewski, and Okposo. This off season was a buyer’s market. It just wasn’t a good time to sell off all your useful assets. Now after saying that, we have seen Alex do this before and come back a champion. That excellent Oilers team that won the cup was rebuilt into a win machine by Alex not that long ago. Maybe we will see it again in Toronto.

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It’s been said that everyone cheats, not everyone gets caught. This week, Saif got caught cheating. The DHL implicitly demands that all teams put their best possible roster on the ice to attempt to win. However, as previously mentioned generational talents cause people to do less than proper things. Saif was caught hiding his best offensive players in the minors and demoting a top pairing defensemen in the minutes basement of the depth chart. Was Saif’s actions immoral, or was he just unlucky enough to get caught?

Stacey: I give my thumbs up to Saif. While cheating is always something that has a negative impact on the league, I think Saif’s accolades as a GM in the DHL have been somewhat lacking. Seems like New Jersey is in a perennial rebuild and needs something special to get them out of the deep hold that he’s dug for his team. For that reason, Saif tried to do everything possible to lose games and land a better percentage for McDavid. He even tried to play dumb when he was caught. If anything, it seems Saif has at least come to his senses and knows he should get himself out of this cyclical rebuild.

Chris:  I don’t think everyone cheats, nor should they. I think saif is learning what passes the smell test in this league. I don’t think anyone could deny the Devils were garbage when he took them over and having some lean years was justified. But when he made blatant trades to increase the suckiness of his team, then people called him out. I don’t fault that either, just know that you need to show a little more tact, which is the only thing i’d call him out for. So thumbs up for being bad saif, just stop bragging about it.

Nick: Two thumbs way down on this. I don’t fault Saif for tanking. Sometimes you get dealt a crap hand, and New Jersey is the 7-2 off suit of sim hockey. When Saif took over The Devils there was really only one choice and that is what he went with. Tanking is a necessary evil and can be a legit strategy, but having garbage players playing in your top 6 while legit DHL scorers like Pirri and Tartar get stuck in the minors? That is bordering on a Joke and Saif should have known better.

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Speaking of generational talents, what has happened to Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby? Two of the last true elite talents are nowhere to be seen this season. Why are two of the best hockey players to every play the game non-existent? Is it misuse, or mismanagement?

Stacey: I give my thumbs down to both St.Louis and Boston. One has an incredible roster but has been lacking any type of consistency in their play. How do you have Ovi, JVR, Backstrom, St.Louis, Little Joe and have Ovi only scoring three goals and four assist for seven points ? You’d think that having a right winger with a paltry 36 passing ability wouldn’t be a good linemate with arguably the league’s best natural sniper.  Boston’s a whole other story, fresh off their first DHL cup win, the Bruins are in ninth place in a weak Eastern Conference and a shadow of their once powerful self. GM Mike has almost no future assets aside from two first rounders and Zykov. He’s hinted at moving Eberle or Crosby, either way something needs to be done. He’s got a roster that isn’t performing and no future assets to really add meaningful pieces. He’s going to have to make true hockey trades, or like many others, think about a rebuild.

Chris: Boston Mike gets a pass in my book, he won the cup, it cost him so he’ll have to replenish, Crosby will go a long way towards doing that. There is no doubt that it’s time for mike to move Crosby, his team needs depth and he would be able to begin that process by moving him before he gets his bell rung again. As for ovenchicken, i’m not the best authority on him, i had very little success with him on my roster, why not sure, but with the Blues, it takes awhile for john to figure out his lines but he’s proven every year that he knows how to make it work and will be winning it all soon enough. Id give em both big thumbs they know their shit and will be just fine.

Nick: My thumbs are up for Mike and John. You don’t win or lose a cup in the first nine games of the season. These are two veteran GMs that are proven winners. It may take some tinkering with line and roster combos ore even a trade or two, but I can’t see Ovi and Crosby both being outside the top 15 in scoring by the end of the season. I don’t think anyone in the west would be looking forward to a match-up with that St. Louis team.

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One of the best parts of hockey is the potential for trades. Who would have ever though Gretzky would leave Edmonton? However, something rare has happened in the DHL, the trade market has disappeared. When will it come back?

Stacey: I give my thumbs down to the market solely because it has made the league somewhat of a bore right now. How often to you see high end players like Eberle, Crosby, Bobrovsky, Quick or Howard, being almost shoved out the door for any return at all? It truly is a buyers’ market right now. If you’re a keen GM in this league you look at any of the non-playoff teams, especially the ones that are racing for McDavid and start picking the carcass clean. You could potential pick up a stud tender, or depth scoring for a price well below market value. Look at Minny and Washington. One buys Howard, a legitimate number one tender for two million, then he flips him to Minny for a profit. Minny still wins because there’s no way Howard’s value is that low. This is the time where the really good GM’s start to separate themselves from the pack.

Chris: It is different than seasons past. It’s as much about cap hits as it is about ratings and that’s newer. The cap situation has changed things, UFA is a good example of that, after the first few waves teams just stopped adding, those who had cash, had no cap room. Whether that is a good thing will be determined over the next few seasons. IMO i don’t like it, i enjoy a wide open landscape with teams adding as much talent as they can fit into a roster instead of double shifting and going with 300k scrubs on their 4th line. But i also understand that people like the challenge so have at it.

Nick: Thumbs up on this one for me. Nothing wrong with waiting to see where your team is at. This happens every season in the DHL. There is lots of off-season action, then for the first 20-25 games of the season there is a major drop in activity. I think it is each GM just seeing how their team preforms. Sitting back and looking for holes show in their roster as their teams gets put to the test. After 20-30 games are played, we will see some small moves start to happen. With teams so tight to the cap, it is hard to pull off major blockbusters in season, but we will see the tweaking kinda moves start to happen in another 2-3 weeks.

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I’ll end the show with a rant about tanking and the race for McDavid. Is there any sense in sacrificing your team for the chance at McDavid? I mean the draft lottery has a history of being a karmatic-bitch so why risk it? It’s obvious that a talent like him would cause GM’s to act somewhat differently but to see a team like Minnesota or Toronto rebuild and hope to land him is hard to swallow. I feel bad for Montreal, Nashville, Buffalo, and New Jersey. They have spent years tanking and not caring about being competitive what happens to them if they don’t win the lottery? Better yet, can you imagine if a team like Toronto wins it, or Minny, a team that holds 1/6th of the 1st rounders in the upcoming draft? Are we just going to see a one-and-done rebuild but those two, and more long boring years in the DHL for those every year tankers? Ultimately, we’ll have to wait seventy-two games, and weeks of playoffs before we get to see the results, but I have a feeling someone is going to be extremely upset come June.

That’s it for this week, tune in next Thursday evening for another edition of DSN’s Round Table with me, Winston Stacey.

 

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