After missing the playoffs for the second straight year i came to a realization. Take nothing for granted. I really did cherish every part of this season. From game one to hoisting the cup we only made four consequential trades (anyone who knows me would never believe it).
While we only had a few holes to fill, the result of not making trades was beneficial in a couple ways. One, i knew my team inside out, i tested out line chemistry and dman combos, tweaking the PP and PK. Two, i like my team. It took awhile but top to bottom, there really wasn't any player i didn't like, either in real life or in sim land. Both those factors brought success.
The trades worked well too, first minor deal was Dustin Penner for Matthew Lombardi and $2,000,000. At the time it was questionable, Penner wasn't coming off a great season and his SP was below average. I felt that adding a big body (99 ST) into my top six would help. The East had some pretty big teams (Buffalo, Philly among others) so I knew any size additions would help. The next minor deal was adding Kostka for a 5th. I liked his ratings but even more than that was his ability to go up and down to the farm, a luxury in this league. Knowing injuries and depth are so important to a playoff run, having Kosta as a usable 7th dman turned out to be very important after Carlson got injured in the second game of the finals. My third deal brought in Brenden Morrow, his IT/SP/ST was all 70's+ and his 60+ offensive ratings didn't hurt either, especially when lined up with Jeff Carter. Finally adding Ryder at the deadline gave me some extra SC. While Ryder spent most of his time on the 3rd line, he did contribute and wasn't too expensive, even as a rental.
In the end we finally did it, after many seasons of sim hockey I join the short list of General Managers who have cup on the resume, something I will always cherish!