2024 Salary Cap: $67.7M

A Blueprint to Rebuild - Ten Tips for Success

While this article is admittedly written from the safe perch atop the Western Conference who hasn’t had to rebuild since I built my team, I also think my team’s success gives me the platform to offer recommendations to the various franchises going through a rebuild of their own.

Presuming I am taking over a franchise with minimal picks and cash, here are the assets and steps I would take:

1. Insure your own failures. Not ensure, but insure. Keep your own picks and try tonreacquire your picks. Give yourself control over your success or failure. If you don’t have your picks, then you should be comfortable with accidental success, if you do have your picks: tanking is the goal and hold onto your picks with a vice grip.

2. If you don’t have your 1st round picks (most bad teams don’t), identify the worst contract on your team. What is the least moveable contract you own? Who makes the most as it relates to their value? Assuming most bad teams have a bad 3 year deal, that’s the marker. Don’t accept a contract back beyond those years. Aim to have a clear book by the time that deal expires. Then leverage your greatest asset: cap space. Look team by team for the worst contracts and see about absorbing them on the cheap - try to gain an asset for the cost of your time. IE take a bad deal and a future 1st for the sake of clearing another teams space. If you don’t have your picks, then win a few games and collect assets along the way, until your cliff year when you have total free agency control.

If you do have your picks, build the goal should be the 74-75 players. You can tank, save your cap space and get a couple breaks - the Oscar Moller. Anyone who will be a RFA when their contract expires should be on the farm. You should be last in pros and first in farm.

3. Only add cash. No unsafe endorsements. Don’t have a big cap number to finish last. Do everything possible to gain cash. Trade any non-prospect for cash, accept cash to take on bad contracts. The biggest losers in the league are the upside down endorsements.

4. Don’t draft goalies. Goalies are the most inconsistent asset and no one knows how farm goalies work. Forwards are the safest and then dmen, with support and kept on the farm.

5. When you have a kid ready to roll, don’t send him up alone. A forward can get to 76 or so on the farm, so don’t rush it. But if they’re at 76, then find two veterans who they can share a line with. Playing kids with kids is like a copy of a copy, it will come out worse.

6. Seek to be the third wheel. Strong teams have little cap space. You have few assets. Reach out to the major players about being the dump of bad deals to facilitate their hockey trades, and get an asset with it. This is a hugely underutilized approach.

7. UFA with intention. So many bad teams pay so much money for veterans who don’t fit the plan. Get a player if you’re trying to win, otherwise don’t give up the cap space.

8. Ask. Me, Graham, Aaron, Wes, Pete and others have been at this a long time. Take the temperature of trades. We will help. We all want to beat you, but it’s better for us for teams not to fall into the oblivion of permanent mediocrity- trust us, it’s those guys who leave.

9. Make decisions about attributes. I will not take on guys with a low DI. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything but bottom 5 PIMs. Others priories speed or strength. Graham was big on SK for a while. Find the core that you care about and go get those guys.

10. Watch ticket prices. This is not static. Some guys sell out and make more cash per game. Others have high prices, don’t sell out ever and make more cash. Test it. Don’t leave cash on the table for the ego of a full stadium.

BONUS: The Simulator doesn’t give a shit who your favorite team is, stop trading for players because of who they play for in the NHL.

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

By: Adam Harris

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 Adam Harris


 Sacramento, CA

 United States

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