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Old 02-25-2018, 11:13 PM   #1
PFellah
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Seattle Stingers (Vegas, but not Vegas)

Basically, I like the idea of doing the expansion draft, but hockey in the desert just rubs me the wrong way. So I basically just started a Vegas expansion and then re-branded it as the Seattle Stingers. Having said that, I'm not going to bother un-doing the pre-existing deals (Subban, Engelland, Tuch, etc.)... too much work. We'll just start from that point and go forward from there.

I won't bore you with every single detail, but I'll give a high-level summary of the roster construction. There were a few iterations of playing around in Excel to get everything right -- salary, enough bodies at each position, coverage of all 30 teams, etc. -- before I finally did the draft.

The first pass was pulling together a core of "guys I really wanted" (Strome, Rust, Grabner leap out as fetish items) and "fairly easy choices where there was pretty clearly a best player" which got me to about 18 or 20 guys. From there, I had three tough-ish calls based on salary cap, four or five teams where nothing really appealed to me, and a couple true cases of indecision.

The tough calls were on offense, where it was a question of a first-line talent or a much cheaper player; specifically:
  • Florida: Jon Marchessault or Reilly Smith. Smith has a higher ceiling, but at 6M would be the most expensive guy on the roster. (Also worth noting March is only cheap this year -- next year he's up at $5M.
  • Nashville: James Neal or Colton Sissons. (Or, as a compromise choice, go with Craig Smith who is about a million cheaper than Neal but also not as good.)
  • St. Louis: David Perron or someone young... Magnus Paajarvi, maybe? On one hand, I'm lukewarm on Perron because I'm a Pens fan and he was pretty meh when we had him; on the other hand, $3.75M isn't bad for a player of his caliber.

With Florida I went Marchessault because he wasn't that steep a drop-off and he can play any forward spot. For the other two, I decided to start with the expensive guy, and see where that left me. Also, ties go to the ex-Penguins.

Once those three slots were decided, I filled out the rest of the roster, which left me a little bit under the cap, but above my owner's budget, so I decided to go back and tweak a little. Specifically I swapped out Sami Vatanen (he's hurt anyway) for the much cheaper Josh Manson and Zack Bogosian became William Carrier. Those two moves (moving out $10.5M for something like $1.5M saved me almost $9M and got me back on budget.

The only mild annoyance was that the structure of the draft forced me to take a few defensemen (Markov, Koekkoek) I was on the bubble to get through the mandatory defense picks early in the draft, but whatever.

The finished product looked a little something like this...

Last edited by PFellah; 02-26-2018 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 02-26-2018, 02:00 PM   #2
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Old 02-26-2018, 08:57 PM   #3
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Training Camp - 2017

Let's start by taking a quick look at the roster and seeing where we are at the start of pre-season.

GOALIES

The goaltending situation is probably the most straightforward part of the roster. Petr Mrazek will be the starter, with Michael Neuvirth backing him up. Louis Domingue is the definition of a warm body as a 3rd goalie. Malcolm Subban will probably start the year in the minors so he can play regularly -- but if this season goes into the tank quickly, I might look at shipping out one of the other guys and giving him a shot against NHL competition.

As a dark horse, there's Oscar Dansk, minding the net for the Chicago Wolves; he's one of two or three players who's not terrible.

DEFENSEMEN

At the top of the roster, there's three young core guys I pretty much want in the lineup every day -- Matt Dumba, Brayden McNabb, and Colin Miller. At the bottom there's at least three who weren't really in the plans for this year -- Slater Koekkoek and Ville Pokka were always projects for next year, and at 5'9", Brad Hunt doesn't seem like an every-day kind of guy.

It's the middle six that are the issue. Basically, we've got Engelland, Manson, Markov, Sbisa, Schmidt, and Theodore to cram into 3 spots. Theodore is young; he can probably start the year in the minors. Manson was a cost savings over Sami Vatanen, so I don't mind shipping him out. That gets it down to 4 guys, and we can probably just rotate scratches and keep everyone busy.

I have a half-formed idea that Markov is the sort of guy I might flip for a draft pick or a younger body later in the year, but for now, I'll put him in a defense pair with one of the kids (probably Dumba) and let things ride.

FORWARDS

Decision Point #1 -- we're pretty weak down the middle. Karlsson is a decent #1 guy, but it gets mediocre after that. I have some depth at LW, so I can convert Marchessault to #2 center and Cody Eakin gets line 3. Line 4 is either Grigorenko or Haula -- Haula is a better overall player but a) Grigorenko has a more offensive feel and b) Haula feels like a better fit as a utility forward who can plug in when needed. So we'll start the year with Grig on line #4 but switch to Haula if that line struggles.

Code:
XXXX - Karlsson - XXXXX
XXXX - Marchessault - XXXXX
XXXX - Eakin - XXXXX
XXXX - Grigorenko - XXXXX

Decision Point #2 -- split up Neal and Perron, or make one really strong line and patchwork the rest? At least to start the year, I think I'm going to split them up on even strength and put them together on the power play.

Code:
XXXXX - Karlsson - Neal
Perron - Marchessault - XXXXX
XXXXX - Eakin - XXXXX
XXXXX - Grigorenko - XXXXX
Decision Point #3 -- I kind of want Grabner and Rust on a speed line, though actually that argues for Haula as center, since he's fast enough (17) to keep up with them. We'll try it with Grigo and see how it goes.

Code:
XXXXX - Karlsson - Neal
Perron - Marchessault - XXXXX
XXXXX - Eakin - XXXXX
Grabner - Grigorenko - Rust
Decision Point #4 -- Slotting the guys that are left. At LW, Boedker and Dano, at RW, Strome and Tuch. Probably don't want the two kids (Dano and Tuch) playing on the same line because then it would clearly be the weakest and I'd have to shave its minutes down. I think I want Strome working with good talent, so that puts him on line 2. To avoid putting the kids together, that puts Dano on line #1, leaving Boedker and Tuch with Eakin.

Code:
Dano - Karlsson - Neal
Perron - Marchessault - Strome
Boedker - Eakin - Tuch
Grabner - Grigorenko - Rust
LEAGUE NOTE - TRADE

Since he was not selected in the expansion draft, and they were subsequently unable to get Marc-Andre Fleury to waive his no-trade clause, the Penguins eased their goaltending logjam by trading Matt Murray to the Arizona Coyotes for a 2nd round draft pick.

Ed: Totally unrealistic -- the Pens wouldn't trade Murray (I suspect they'd release Fleury or take pennies on the dollar for him first), and if they did, they'd hold out for more than a 2nd-rounder -- but whatever....

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Old 02-27-2018, 12:26 AM   #4
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PRE-SEASON RESULTS (home team in all-caps)

9/20 - Capitals 3, STINGERS 1
Painful first game for the Stingers as Washington outshot the Stingers 45-12 and Mrazek got chased by goals on 3 of the Caps' first shots. On the bright side, Michael Neuvirth stood on his head with 41 saves in relief, and Jon Marchessault got a late goal to make it look more interesting than it was.

9/21 - RED WINGS 3, Stingers 2 (shoot-out)
Better. The Stingers fall into an early hole, but come back with two goals late to force overtime.Unfortunately, Detroit wins the shootout in the 5th round as Evgeny Scechnikov buried his shot while Ryan Strome missed.

9/23 - Bruins 2, STINGERS 0
The game starts off as a repeat of the Washington debacle -- Brad Marchand scores on the first shot of the game 15 seconds in, and Boston puts 8 shots up before Seattle puts on on net. However, Mrazek recovers and the game stabilizes into a back-and-forth affair. Unfortunately, Seattle never gets the equalizer and Danton Heinen adds an insurance goal with about 30 seconds left.

9/24 - JETS 4, Stingers 2
Despite giving up 48 shots, the Stingers were able to hang in there until the middle of the third period, but Blake Wheeler tallied the go-ahead goal with 9:35 left and Mark Scheifele added an insurance goal in the closing seconds.

9/26 - Stingers 3, RANGERS 2
Finally! James Neal scores the first and last Seattle goals, with a Marchessault tally sandwiched in between. Seattle almost hands the game back by giving up a penalty with about 2:30 to go, but they kill it off to hold on for the win.

9/28 - Stingers 4, OILERS 1
The good news: not just a win, but a game where we were in control the whole way. (So that's what that feels like!) The bad news: Edmonton was without their best player, as Connor McDavid was day-to-day. Still, a win's a win. Karlsson with the first goal, two by Marchessault, and the final tally of the day from defenseman Brayden McNabb.

9/29 - Sharks 2, STINGERS 1
This was a winnable game -- we outshot the Sharks 31-17, and .
had three different power plays in the 3rd period, including about a minute of 5-on-3. Just couldn't find the net enough.

So, the Stingers wrap up a 2-5 pre-season. The good news: the defense played pretty well at times, and a couple of those games could've gone the other way. The bad news: the offense was lethargic a lot of the time -- it just doesn't feel like we have the firepower to be competitive.

Next up: the regular season begins.

Last edited by PFellah; 02-27-2018 at 12:27 AM.
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