The timing couldn’t be better with the world opening up for the Flyers to have won their first cup! What has GM Jamie Hoover been doing to celebrate? Having friends over to have some fun! The last year and a half have been a major downer. I am good with change and going with the flow, I really did strongly dislike not seeing people or doing things. It’s really great to be able to see people’s faces again and have connections.
Anyhow, winning the best fantasy league of any kind, which was built and maintained primarily by one man, for the sake of providing the GMs some true meaningful connection in their lives, is a true honour. I mean, we’ve bought chairs for his kitchen or something, I don’t recall the full story, it was controversial I know, but otherwise busts his ass to make this league awesome. Thanks to his efforts, we have a pretty awesome community within the NEFHL, where we have love for each other, no matter our differences or how obnoxious some might be :D
I wasn’t here yet for the dispersal draft, someone grabbed bunch of boring picks, such as taking Turco as the team’s first round dispersal pick. It doesn’t get less inspiring than that. There were lots of veterans on the roster, and as they didn’t focus on youth at all, they had a decent team of boring vets. I took that team and put together a contender, trying to come out swinging, adding some stars to the roster. One of the best lineups ever I think. 2nd round knock-out. 2nd year with still superstar club and even less luck. I’ve taken a bit of a swing approach – go for it for couple years when have good ELCs – then rebuild to acquire assets and then go for another swing.
Obviously this is the first swing to fully connect. And to be honest, after thinking had contender last season, adding Toews for a package that included my 1st rounder, that I thought to be in the 20-30 range, something just didn’t click, the team got off to the worst start in franchise history. I tried lineup changes, minor trades, benching/demoting players, giving opportunities, staying the same for several games – no strategy did anything. We just lost lost lost. Eventually we decided to change the core of the franchise. Aho was moved in a bigger deal to bring in Dougie Hamilton.
Dougie did turn things around, first gradually, then quite suddenly. In the end, we just missed the playoffs, almost clawing our way back into things. Probably the best team in the final 3rd of the season.
Despite that, the pick ended up winning the lotto and was 1st overall. Toews ends up taking the year off, and we miss the playoffs. Not our finest showing. We did see the difference Dougie brought though, so hard salary cuts were made to make sure we built around our defense, such as moving Rantanen for a cheaper replacement and a young dman that we liked in Fox. Couple other assets to hope and hit on future ELCs or 2nd deals with.
When we saw the opportunity to add Burns we knew we couldn’t pass it up. He was the piece that we needed. We were keeping some bonus cap space to build on through the season, and with him remaining unsigned knew his demands were coming down and got lucky and landed him on a reasonable contract. As we pre-planned how to make the cap work, we quickly traded one dman, waived another, and brought in a cheaper option from the farm. All of a sudden we have two of the best dmen in the league.
Split them up and Flyers consistently won, despite having likely the worst goalie duo of any playoff team. We’ve seen 80+ goalies completely fail us in past seasons and didn’t want to make our goalie the player we rely on. Even the best goalie can go cold. Put a great team in front of them and they’ll make whoever is stopping the puck look good.
The playoffs were a rollercoaster ride, being up 3-1 and then winning it in 7 against the Rangers. Then being down 3-1 to the Canadiens, to make few line changes and steal the series. Shutdown the defending champs and ran into the finals with a 95CD starter against the fastest and most balanced offense they’d seen so far. Dubnyk was given the reigns and took the series. Brent Burns and Dougie Hamilton being two of the most instrumental players throughout the playoffs.
Honour to win the NEFHL cup, great to do it against JD, and cheers to every GM in the league for making it so meaningful!