Today’s fan is enamored by the thoughts of playing general manager/owner. From computer what-if simulations to hockey games played on your PC or Mac that allow you to act like Garth Snow, Jack Capuano, Charles Wang or a combination of all three, it has also taken itself into the world of video games as EA Sports has proven.With the depth and pure cavernous options available in the latest installments of Madden football and the upcoming titles NHL14 and NBA14, we can dream that dream and run a professional franchise as we see fit, offering those ridiculous trade proposals I see scattered on social media and hoping the computer AI bites like no general manager would in their right mind.
As we approach the opening of training camps in the National Hockey League, that is the topic of our Wednesday poll discussion. An NHL fantasy draft.
If you had to start a franchise today, its first season being 2013-14, and every current member of the active NHLPA available to draft, who would be your number one choice? It might not be as easy a decision as you think. Let’s take a look at the five candidates I have chosen and we will offer an ‘other’ option in the poll question itself. For the purposes of preventing massive complaining and bickering before this article even gets 30 minutes of air time, I used 30 years of age as a cut-off, thus eliminating such great players as Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Sedin.
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, Age 26
Career Statistics : 470 games, 238-427-665
Arguably the best player in the entire world, the 26 year old from Halifax, Nova Scotia is a dangling wizard who sometimes looks as if he controls the puck at will. I am sure most hockey fans who do not live in Pittsburgh or its surrounding suburbs would like to see him stay upright a little more but there is absolutely no denying the talent.
2. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks, Age 25
Career Statistics : 408 games, 167-205-372
The 6’2 captain of the Stanley Cup champions is not really about flashy offensive numbers that jump out like some others. When on the ice, he is not going to be featured often in a top play or highlight reel of spectacular quality. What he will give you is 150% night in and night out plus the added experience of winning two championships by the young age of 25. Those qualities are sometimes worth much more than offensive numbers.
3. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Age 23
Career Statistics : 373 games, 208-178-386
Stamkos, unlike our second choice on the list, will dazzle you with pure speed. What he is able to do with the puck at tremendous speed is surely a delight to partake in and there is no question that 208 goals in only 373 NHL career games to date keeps fans packing the St.Pete Times Forum each and every night to see this superstar in action. The bet here is he would pack your arena and bring in a solid, consistent cash flow for your arena as well.
4. John Tavares, New York Islanders, Age 22
Career Statistics : 291 games, 112-137-249
Tavares leads a young Islanders resurgence by example, plain and simple. Some can see him being a quiet leader such as Toews with the professional manner in which he handles……well, everything. On the ice, he is just now being rewarded for sticking with a rebuilding organization. The way Tavares goes about his off-season has nothing to do with rest and relaxation; only getting better. That is the type of player I want leading my squad out of the tunnel each and every night.
5. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins, Age 27
Career Statistics : 458 games, 217-343-560
Malkin seems to be one of those players who’s unique and tremendous talent sometimes leaves you asking the question ‘Is there more here?’. Somewhat of a critique over recent years when talking about stars that hail from Russia, I am not going to exactly go to that length but if Evgeni was to ever find true consistency in his game the results would be out of this world eye-popping. On here for his pure skill set and size combination and rounds out the other competitors nicely.
Now it’s your turn…..by voting in our poll below, let your voice be heard. This is not to debate who is on this list and who isn’t. There were tons of great players I could have chosen so don’t take it personally. Just use our comment section to tell us who your ‘other’ player would be that you would draft. As always, thanks for reading us here at Eyes On Isles.