Now That The NHL's Back...

posted on 2005-07-14 at 22:31:03 by Joel Ross

It's been a long time since I posted about anything other than technology, and that's probably because of the NHL lockout - no hockey and I'm not a huge NBA fan, so what else is there to comment on? Baseball is slow and boring until the playoffs and football is still a month or so away. Although the Pistons run in the playoffs was exciting, I just haven't found much to post about related to sports.

Until recently. The prospect of a signed CBA combined with a recent article by Terry Frei on about a potential way to get things kicked off once the NHL comes back - a complete re-draft! Start out the NHL's reappearance fantasy style!

Now, let me first state that I know this isn't going to happen. But it's fun to speculate, isn't it? So from here on out, the rest of this is pure fantasy based on a new NHL where all players go back into the draft.

First, how do you decide who gets first pick? I guess the current weighting they are going to do now would work. You give some advantage to the teams that have finished near the bottom, but not a huge advantage. You'd need a snake draft (draft first in the first round, and you draft last in the second round). With this type of draft, there's always a debate - which is the best position? First in the first round? You get the best player in the game (theoretically), but you don't get another pick until the end of the second round - where you'll still get a good player, but you won't have as good of a one-two punch as other teams. OK. What about drafting last? You won't get the best - you'll get the 30th best player, but you'll also get the 31st best player. You get two solid players, but maybe not a superstar that you'd hope to get.

That leaves drafting in the middle. You'll get a great player in the first round, and a pretty good player in the second round. You also don't go very long between picks - remember, the team drafting first or last goes about 60 picks between each set of picks. You can't follow trends very well from those positions. From the middle, you can watch other team's trends and react accordingly.

Of course, this doesn't take into account trades. Trades will shake up how teams strategize.

Heh. This applies to fantasy football drafting too.

Now, how would the draft affect salaries? At first glance, it would seem that salaries would be pretty easy to figure out - your salary is determined by your draft slot. Seems logical right? I thought so too, but you have to think about how GMs will strategize. If you're a GM, and you have 12 million left in cap space (yes, there will be a cap when the NHL returns), and you need four more players, are you going to draft a great center at 7 million a year, or a slight downgraded center for 2 million? So, you won't necessarily draft players in the order you expect to pay them.

So you get a draft, and each NHL team is ready to go. Players sign contracts, and the season is underway. How do you measure your team's draft success? Does winning the Stanley Cup in the first year reflect draft success? Making the playoffs?

This applies for the new NHL without a redraft too, by the way. Even without redrafting, everything has changed. Anyway, back to fantasy land.

I'm not sure you can measure success in the first year. Why? Well, if you draft a great team that wins the Cup in the first year, and then half your team retires, is that successful? Or, if you drafted a team that didn't make the playoffs the first year, but you've started the dynasty process - where you'll be competitive in three years, and win the Cup regularly in five or six, was your draft a failure? I can't say it will be.

Back to reality. If you spend this year working through the new financial model, and miss the playoffs, but set yourself up to be competitive, will anyone fault you in the long run. I doubt it. But, in this day and age, everyone wants results now.

Of course, the Wings are going to be in trouble. They have almost $39 million in signed contracts right now. The rumors are that the high end of the cap will be $39 million. And that's only 14 players for the Wings. Ouch.

But at least we get hockey back!

Categories: Hockey