Welcome to the NHL offseason. While free agency will continue throughout the Summer and other moves will be made, we're entering the long part where not a whole lot happens. July 1, or Free Agency Frenzy, has come and gone. Most of the action has already taken place. To that end, there's a lot of time to spend. A lot of time to reflect on the season that was and speculate on what could happen next. What if we could re-do last season, knowing what we know now?
Well, we can. Sort of. Not in real life. In a hockey simulator. Specifically, Eastside Hockey Manager. There, we can pretend to be Ray Shero and re-do the 2015-16 New Jersey Devils season to our liking. After all, as fans, it's common to question what a general manager does and doesn't do and offer unsolicited suggestions on what they should have done instead. So let's try it ourselves and see where it goes. It may not count, but it's a nice diversion all the same.
To that end, I made the following video introducing my idea, the game itself, and a simulated 2015-16 season where I had nothing to do with anything in the NHL. Consider it a baseline for what we're about to do - as well as a possible result of a season where Cory Schneider is not available for most of it. I'm a complete amateur to the recent version of Eastside Hockey Manager and making videos of video games, but we don't learn either without trying. Besides, most sports simulation games aren't as fun if you can totally exploit the artificial intelligence from the get-go.
Note: The following is best viewed in Full Screen Mode and in HD. And when I said 2014-15 in the video, I meant the 2015-16 season. How I mixed that up when the game has the date on every single screen, I don't know. My apologies. As for the speaking itself, well, if you've heard me on Talking Red, then you know what to expect.
As stated in the video, in order to pretend to be Ray Shero, I will need your help now and throughout a simulated season. There is a poll for you to make the biggest decision made for this series. There are really only two options since the Devils in real life just fell to where they finished last season without being too awful. It'll be open until July 4 at roughly 3 PM.
I'll try to have a video after the game's preseason up by next weekend, with a new video summarizing each month of action and what happened with your transaction suggestions. I'm not going to make any trades or signings until preseason is concluded. However, you can suggest what I should attempt to do in the comments. Again, as stated in the video, give me a brief reason why I should attempt a deal. Don't just say "Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall!," but say "Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall! Because..." Chances are, the AI is smarter than Peter Chiarelli. And based on what happened in the simulated season in this video, it truly may be.
Let me know what you think in the comments as I attempt something new for this offseason. And let me know what you want me to do as Pretend Ray Shero (or whatever name you want me to pick) as we'll re-do the 2015-16 Devils season in Eastside Hockey Manager. If you want to play along or do it yourself, then get the latest player database from EHM The Blueline (I also misspoke in the video in calling them Inside the Blueline) and download the player and logo packs from the Steam Workshop. Thank you for watching and thank you for reading.